State helping Texans get financial aid for college - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

State helping Texans get financial aid for college

By Anissa Centers - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - If you want a college education, but have thought financially it is out of reach, the State of Texas wants you to know it's not. Students and financial aid experts say that even though the economy is bad, you can find money for school.

Last year, college students in Texas racked up $5.8-billion in financial aid, money that is now invested for the future.

Alexis Williams has a very good reason for concentrating in her U.T. Tyler accounting class. 

"I live for my daughter," said Williams. "So, anything that I can do to better myself, I'm on it so I can be a better role model for my child. Being out here working on my own, I know how much it means to get an education and want to have more in life."

Williams is right that a college degree could greatly improve her financial future. A 2008 study sponsored by the College Board, which administers the SAT, found that college graduates earn, on average, $20,000 more a year than high school graduates. That extra money comes at a price though. The same researcher calculated that, over the last five years, the cost of college has gone up as much as 20%.

Williams says she could not afford college without her financial aid package. She is not alone.

"Yeah, I need financial aid," said Josiah Grindrod, a LeTourneau student. "I've got multiple loans, one scholarship and all that combined, it's the only way I can go here."

And, many people don't join Williams and Grindrod at college because they are intimidated by process and don't understand that financial aid is there for them to use.

"The good news is there's financial aid available," said A.W. 'Whit' Ritter, III, with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. "The challenge is making sure the parents and students are educated enough to navigate the system."

To make sure people who need help have a chance to get it, Tuesday, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation are sponsoring a telethon.

You will be able to talk with a financial aid expert who will guide you through the process of putting your hands on some of that money available for college costs - maybe free money.

How can I afford to pay for college? If you want the answer that question call this toll free number: 888-311-8881. One phone call could net you thousands of dollars. It could be the difference between your child earning a college degree or not.

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