18:55 PM

Financial Aid Awareness Month: Five reasons to visit UHCL's Financial Aid office

Written by: Cynthia Anaya

Wondering where to go for guidance to help get your college tuition costs and fees paid? February is Financial Aid Awareness Month—a great time for Hawks to learn more about the resources available in University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Student Financial Aid Office. They’ll help you apply for grants, scholarships and other types of financial aid,  as well as complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms you’ll need to begin the process.

Whether you’re a current or prospective student, here are five things you should know about the financial aid resources available at UH-Clear Lake:

  •  The First Step in Receiving Financial Aid Is to Ask

Some students don’t receive financial aid because they don’t ask about it. However, according to Cassandra Heslep, Associate Director for the Office of Student Financial Aid, “asking” is the most important thing  when it comes to paying for college.  “Students need to simply ask, ‘How can I pay for college?’” she said. “Often, students don’t know the questions to ask, or are afraid to ask. We are here to help."

  •   Completing the FAFSA Form Is Required to Receive Financial Aid

To qualify for any type of financial aid for college, you have to fill out the FAFA first. This application grants you access to various types of financial aid. You can complete the FAFSA online.

  • There Are No Income Limits on FAFSA

If you ever thought your parents or guardians make too much money for you to complete the FAFSA, you’re wrong.

“‘My parents make too much money for me to qualify’ and ‘I need to file my taxes before I can submit a FAFSA’” are two of the most common myths related to FAFSA,” Heslep said.

Eligibility for federal student aid depends on your college costs, not how much your parents or guardians make. Other eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, and being in an eligible degree or certificate program at UHCL. Learn more at the Federal Student Aid website.

  • There Are Several Types of Financial Aid Available

Grants and scholarships are the two “free money” financial aid options available for college students. You can access a list of available grants at UHCL by visiting the Grants webpage, the Education Abroad Scholarships and Grants webpage, and the Alumni Association Scholarships and Grants webpage.

Many grants and scholarships have requirements and limitations involved, so only a small percentage of students can benefit from these options. The good news is, there are other financial aid options available, including work-study programs and loans.

A work-study program is one that allows students to earn money for college expenses while gaining valuable work experience at the same time. Some of the most common college loans include the Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, and Consolidation Loan. Additional information can be found on the Work Study webpage and Student Loans webpage

  • You Don’t Have to Pay Back Grants or Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are basically financial gifts, so as long as all the requirements are met, they never have to be paid back. A loan, on the other hand, is a borrowed amount of money, so it does need to be paid back, usually with interest.

If you’d like to learn more about financial aid, visit the Student Financial Aid webpage, call the Student Financial Aid office at 281-283-2480, or email uhcl_fao@uhcl.edu. You can also stop by the office at the Student Services and Classroom Building, room  1.105.