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If you’re planning on attending a Texas college or university, then you might need financial aid, scholarships, or Texas student loans to pay for it.
The price of Texas schools varies depending on the type of school you attend. For example, an in-state resident attending Texas A&M (the largest public university in Texas) for the 2020-21 academic year can expect to pay $31,428 per semester.
Here are four ways to pay for school in Texas:
- Start with scholarships and grants for Texas students
- Apply for federal student loans
- Check out the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board offers
- Use private student loans to fill in the gaps
1. Start with scholarships and grants for Texas students
If you need to pay for school, college scholarships and grants are a good place to start, as they don’t need to be paid back. There is a wide range of organizations that offer scholarships and grants to Texas students — both national and local.
Here are several options to consider:
- Don’t Mess With Texas Scholarship: High school seniors who have led efforts to reduce litter in their communities are eligible for this scholarship of up to $5,000.
- George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Scholarship: High school seniors in the Houston area who plan to attend a four-year U.S. school could qualify for up to $20,000 (spread over four years) with this award.
- Texas Association of Developing Colleges Urban Scholarship: Students in the 41 largest Texas cities are eligible to apply for this scholarship, which provides between $700 and $2,000 per year depending on the type of school you attend.
- Texas Educational Opportunity Grant: Texas students at two-year institutions can apply for this need-based scholarship. Awards vary from $4,965 to $8,601 for full-time students, with smaller amounts available for part-time students.
- University of Texas at Austin Presidential Scholars and Texas Excellence: Full-time students of the University of Texas with outstanding academic credentials could qualify for up to $5,000 per year for four years in a row.
2. Apply for federal student loans
If you’ve pursued scholarships and grants but still need to borrow money to pay for school, federal student loans are generally a good place to start. Federal student loans come with built-in benefits and protections, including access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.
Here are the types of federal student loans you might be eligible for in Texas:
- Direct Subsidized Loans can be taken out by undergraduate students with financial need. Unlike other types of federal loans, the interest on subsidized loans is covered by the government while you’re in school.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need. Unlike subsidized loans, interest does continue to accrue on loans while you’re in school.
- Direct PLUS Loans come in two flavors: Grad PLUS Loans for graduate students and Parent PLUS Loans for parents paying for their child’s education. PLUS Loans generally come with higher interest rates than subsidized and unsubsidized loans. They also require a credit check.
|Loan type||Who qualifies?||Interest rates|
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergrad students with financial need||3.73%*||$3,500 to $5,500 per year|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergrad, graduate, and professional students||Undergrad: 3.73%*|
Graduate and professional: 5.28%*
|Dependent undergrad: $5,500 to $7,500 per year ($31,000 total limit)
Independent undergrad: $9,500 to $12,500 per school year ($57,500 total limit)
Graduate and professional: $20,500 per year
($138,500 total limit)
|Direct PLUS Loans||Parents, graduate students, and professional students||6.28%*||Cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received|
|*Federal student loan rates for the 2021-22 academic school year.|
Before taking out any student loans, it’s a good idea to estimate how much they’ll cost you over time. This way, you can be prepared for any future expense.
Find out how much you’ll owe over the life of your federal or private student loans using our student loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
With a $ loan, you will pay $ monthly and a total of $ in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of $ over the life of the loan, assuming you're making full payments while in school.
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Check Out: Average Cost of College in the U.S.
3. Check out the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board offers
There are also Texas-specific programs that could help you pay for school, such as those offered through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Established by the state legislature in 1965, this board provides two programs to assist with the cost of college:
College Access Loan Program
The College Access Loan (CAL) Program offers another type of student loan to Texas residents, which can cover up to your school’s cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. To qualify, you must:
- Be a Texas resident
- Be registered with the Selective Service (or exempt)
- Enroll at least half time at an approved Texas school
- Make satisfactory academic progress
- Have good credit (or have a creditworthy cosigner)
While this type of loan is technically a private student loan, it comes with more benefits than most private student loans — for example, income-sensitive and graduated repayment plans as well as repayment terms up to 20 years, depending on how much you borrow.
Learn More: Average Student Loan Interest Rates
Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program
Unlike other programs that you have to apply for, recipients of the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP) are nominated by the governor, lieutenant governor, state representatives, and state senators of Texas.
The TASSP is available for up to $10,000 for a maximum of six years, depending on the length of your degree program.
To qualify, you must be enrolled in the ROTC program at your high schools, demonstrate academic excellence, and agree to a four-year commitment with one of the following organizations:
- Texas Army National Guard
- Texas Air National Guard
- Texas State guard
- U.S. Coast Guard
- U.S. Merchant Marine
- Any U.S. military branch (if you’re a commissioned officer)
Check Out: Low-Interest Student Loans
4. Use private student loans to fill in the gaps
If you’ve exhausted your federal and state-based student loan options, as well as any scholarships and grants available to you, then private student loans could help fill any gaps left over.
While private student loans don’t have the protections of federal student loans, they do offer some benefits of their own, such as:
- You can apply for a loan at any time.
- You can often borrow up your school’s cost of attendance.
- You could potentially get a lower interest rate on a private student loan compared to a Direct PLUS Loan, depending on your credit.
If you decide to take out a private student loan, be sure to compare as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)||Loan terms (years)||Loan amounts|
|4.63%+||1.62%+||5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20|
(depending on loan type)
|$2,001 to $200,000|
|3.47%+1||N/A||5, 10, 15||$1,000 to $350,000
(depending on degree)
||1.19%+2,3||5, 8, 10, 15||$1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
|3.52%+7||3.06%+7||7, 10, 15||$1,000 to $200,000|
|3.75%+||N/A||10, 15||$1,500 or $2,000 up to school’s certified cost of attendance
(depending on school type and minus other aid received)
|3.75% - 12.85% APR9||1.87% - 11.97% APR9||10, 15||Up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
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Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures
Texas students have plenty of options to pay for college
If you’re attending school in Texas, there are several ways to approach paying for college. Remember to start with the type of financial aid you don’t have to pay back, such as scholarships and grants. After that, it’s usually a good idea to borrow federal student loans before considering private student loans.
If a private student loan seems right for you, be sure to compare as many lenders as you can to find a loan that fits your needs. This is easy with Credible — you can see your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.