TAMUCC Announces More Financial Aid Opportunities

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi welcomed prospective students and their families to campus Saturday for Island Day. It was only on this island day that they were surprised by an announcement that could help them financially to complete their university studies.

President Dr. Kelly Miller announced that they will increase the threshold for the Islander Guarantee Program, from $60,000 to $125,000, to allow more students to become eligible.

The university estimates that this change will help an additional 500 students.

The Islander Guarantee program provides financial aid to students in Texas, who are eligible for the Pell Scholarship. Miller said students with household incomes of $125,000 or less will now be considered.

“Our goal for everyone here on this campus is to help our students succeed,” Miller said. “And we know the financial aspect is part of it. Either they have to work a lot and they’re not able to fully commit to everything on campus, or some students just can’t come.”

In addition to being a Texas native and eligible for the Pell Scholarship, students must also have a 2.5 GPA, submit a FAFSA, and complete 15 credit hours per semester. The program is for new students and the money can be applied to tuition and fees for eight consecutive semesters (fall and spring).

Elizabeth Rubio is already a student in the program and says she might not be in college without it.

“I thought maybe I should get a part-time job, maybe even a full-time job,” Rubio said. “And it was just very stressful trying to think about how I was going to balance work and studies. And I wouldn’t be able to do extracurricular activities, or a band, or anything like that.

Rubio said a weight was lifted from his shoulders with this.

“It was definitely a relief, academically,” she said. “It has definitely eased the loans I have to take out. So it’s definitely a relief and I have less stress during my studies.”

“What happens is that students then have the opportunity to be able to catch their breath and be able to say, ‘OK, I can use some of my other aid for my room and board and different things. “,” said Andy Benoit, vice president of enrollment management. “”I don’t have to worry about trying to get through tuition and fees. “”

Benoit said the increase was to fill a gap they had seen with some Pell grant recipients, but still needed help.

Miller hopes that as this program grows, it will change the mindset of families about college being a possibility.

“It especially helps first-generation students,” Miller said. “55% of our students are first generation. And so, we help change the family dynamic by allowing the first student to go to college, who then becomes a role model for all the rest of the family.”

Saturday’s Island Day was the biggest the university has had in 6 years, Benoit said.

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