Updating students on their loans and restricting grants.
That’s the plan state Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo wants to accomplish this Legislative Session.
Senator Seliger filed three new bills that would help improve financial aid availability in the Lone Star State.
But while it could allow more students access to aid it would also keep students from using the money for other school related expenses.
Every year the cost of higher education continues to rise, making loans and grants vital for the average student.
“It will affect us. We have students who receive state funding here in Amarillo College and what we do is we look at all of the eligible applicants. What we would ask them to do first and foremost is to complete the free application for federal student aid to see what federal funds they may be eligible to receive,” said Kelly Prater, Financial Aid Director-Amarillo College.
On Tuesday Senator Kel Seliger filed three bills addressing loans and Texas grants.
“Of course we already have Texas grant and that’s one of the proposals. But he has changed some of the requirements. Before it was basically they had to meet SAP and they had to have financial need and they pretty well have done away with everything but the financial need as far as renewal students,” said Marian Giesecke, Financial Aid Director-WTAMU.
If two of those bills pass, it would make sure grants are used only towards tuition, fees, and books.
“So as of today if a student is eligible for the federal funding and the state funding, they could potentially have an overage of financial aid that would help them cover some of those other school related expenses,” said Prater.
Prater says some of those expenses can be room and board, food, and transportation costs. If the bills pass, Prator says that’s where they would see the biggest impact.
Now when it comes to the bills regarding the grants, Senator Seliger says passing it would help reduce waste and allow a larger number of students the opportunity to access state grant aid.
Senator Seliger also says by allowing more students access to these grants, we as a state have a greater chance of reaching the goals of 60 by 30 Texas.
That plan is to make sure 60% of Texans, aged 25 to 34 have a certificate or degree by 2030.