Tarrant County College District Student Loans
With five campuses spread between Forth Worth, Arlington, and Hurst, Texas Tarrant County College District (TCC) has an open-door policy, affording opportunities for all potential students to attend. The average student age at TCC is 26, and students can pursue an associate’s degree as well as enroll in technical and continuing education programs. With different fields of study highlighted at each individual campus, campuses are unique, offering various student activities and organizations specific to their location and areas of interest.
An Affordable Option
When determining how to pay for college, you will need to take several factors into account for budgeting purposes. You should estimate costs for:
- Tuition and school fees
- Room and board
- Personal expenses
Tarrant County College District strives to be an affordable option for undergraduate, technical, and continuing education students alike. Residents of Tarrant County receive the lowest tuition with current undergraduate rates at $55 a credit. Texas residents living outside of Tarrant County will pay $86 a credit, while out-of-state and non-resident aliens will pay $205 per credit. Some courses may have additional fees added on as well.
Continuing education courses offer career and personal enrichment instead of credit and have a separate fee schedule that can be found in the TCC Continuing and Industry Education (CIE) current course catalog. Textbooks for your courses will vary depending on your chosen field of study and particular classes; however, you should estimate at least $1,500 a year for this expense. TCC offers the option to rent many of your textbooks for the duration of your class also, which can save you 50 percent on books. Additionally, if you buy your books, you can attempt to sell them back to the bookstore at the end of each semester for whatever value they assign.
TCC doesn’t offer on-campus housing, although some apartments near campus may give students discounted rates. Students who choose to live at home can save money on room and board as well as meal expenses. Rent may be less expensive outside of the city center and in neighborhoods to the southeast like Arlington and Hurst. Average rent prices for Forth Worth are $980 for a one-bedroom apartment, for example, while Hurst prices are closer to $595, and Arlington averages around $616 a month, according to Realtor.com. Obtaining a roommate can also help you lower your room and board costs.
Another budgeting factor to consider is that of transportation. The further away from your campus you live, the more you may pay to commute there. Parking on campus is free with a student parking pass, and students attending college in Tarrant County can ride The T public transportation for a reduced rate with a reduced fare photo identification card.
Paying for TCC
When you register for classes, your tuition becomes due. There are many ways to pay for tuition costs either online or in person, such as via credit card, cash, or check. For an additional $25 a semester fee, you can also enroll in the Automatic Payment (Installment) Plan, and depending on your enrollment date, you may be able to break payments up into as many as three payments with as little as 10 percent down.
Some organizations or employers offer to sponsor students and pay their education benefits as well. If you have a sponsor paying your tuition, this is considered third-party billing, and you are responsible for making the arrangements and ensuring that your bill is paid on time. Check with your human resources department to see if your employer participates in any tuition reimbursement or sponsorship programs. U.S. military veterans may also use veterans benefits to pay tuition costs. For information on how to use your military benefits, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has the most current details.
Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to have some or all of your tuition waived. For example, if you were the highest ranking high school graduate at your Texas high school, you may qualify to have your entire first year of public college courses waived. Similarly, some jobs allow waived tuition for employees seeking professional development, like firefighters taking fire science courses or public peace officers taking law enforcement or criminal justice courses. Students taking more than 15 credit hours at a time may qualify for reduced tuition, as may adopted students or those previously in foster care. For a full list of exemption programs open to Texas residents attending Tarrant County College District, College for All Texans is a great resource.
Applying for Financial Aid
In order to be considered eligible for federal, state, or institutional financial aid, you must complete the financial aid application process at TCC. The first step in this process is to create a FSA PIN that will allow you to electronically sign necessary documents and grant you access to your federal financial aid records. You will need your Social Security number, name, and date of birth to create your FSA ID. Once you have created it, you can fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens can complete the FAFSA, although Texas residents who do not qualify for federal aid may submit the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) to determine state aid eligibility.
Either a FAFSA or TASFA is required for receiving financial aid at TCC. The FAFSA/TASFA uses your financial and tax information to calculate your expected family contribution, or EFC. This value determines the amount and type of aid for which you will qualify.
Students demonstrating financial need may qualify for federal, state, or institutional grants or scholarships that are forms of gift money that does not have to be repaid. The federal government may grant eligible students up to $5,815 for the 2016-2017 academic year in Pell Grant funds. Actual award amounts are dependent on your enrollment status, cost of attendance, and whether or not you plan to stay in school for the entire school year.
TCC also participates in the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program as well. These funds are disbursed to the school as a set amount each year and distributed among students taking at least three credits and showing the most financial need. Award amounts range between $200 and $800 a semester, although they are on a first-come, first-served basis so you may not receive the full amount you are eligible for. Apply early to increase your potential award amount.
Texas residents may qualify for the Texas Tuition Rebate Program (TPEG), which offers eligible students taking credit courses up to $1,000, and continuing education students up to $300 per quarter, also on a first-come, first-served basis. The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) is for resident students taking at least six credit hours and may offer up to $2,700 a year for eligible students. TCC also provides supplemental grants that may cover full-time tuition and book expenses for students demonstrating financial need to early applicants as well.
Another option for free money come in the form of scholarships that are often merit-based. TCC participates in the following programs:
- Stars of Tomorrow: students graduating in the top half of their class and showing financial need may receive up to $4,000 for six semesters
- Top 10 Percent Scholarship: students graduating from a Texas high school in the top 10 percent of their class may receive up to $1,000 per year
- Texas-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Challenge Scholarship Program (T-STEM): STEM majors with qualifying GPAs may receive up to $2,500 a year
- Tarrant County College Book Scholarship: students taking at least nine hours, demonstrating financial need, and meeting GPA requirements may be awarded up to $400 a semester
- Mary I. Gourley Scholarship: students must have specific family obligations and prior academic criteria for this award; amounts may vary
- TCC Foundation Scholarships: foundation awards scholarships to students for various criteria and varying amounts
- TCC department scholarships: students in individual departments may qualify for departmental scholarships; amounts vary
- Outside scholarships: students may be eligible for funds from many outside sources; award amounts vary
Scholarships are not always need-based, and in fact, they are often merit-based or offered to minorities, women, or those pursuing high-need fields. Be sure to check with non-profit and private organizations directly to determine if you may qualify for additional free money options. Sometimes, your FAFSA or TASFA will indicate that you are eligible for the federal or state work-study program. This allows you to work, generally on campus, for around 12 hours a week at a minimum of $7.25 an hour in a community service job to earn money to pay for your tuition. You will have to apply for these positions and eligibility does not guarantee you employment.
Borrowing Money to Pay for School
Many students will need to borrow money in order to pay for school. TCC participates in the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, which is a federal student loan program. Federal student loans offer flexible repayment options and low and fixed interest rates. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender for these loans, and there are no additional applications to file after submitting your FAFSA. Your financial aid award letter will detail whether you qualify for a Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the amount you are eligible to borrow.
Undergraduate students demonstrating financial need may be eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans. Subsidized means that the federal government helps cover the interest payments. Students may qualify for up to $5,550 to $12,500 in subsidized and unsubsidized loans combined. The amount you can borrow is based on your year in school, dependent student status, and cost of attendance at TCC.
Receiving Financial Aid Funds
Once you qualify for financial aid, you will receive a notification with your award amount and type. You will then have to accept your award, provide any additional documentation and sign any required legal documents, including a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN enters you into a legal contract wherein you agree to repay your student loans, if you are borrowing money from the federal government, and details your responsibilities and rights as a borrower. Funds can then be disbursed to TCC to pay for your tuition and fees at least twice a year.
Tarrant County College District has a third party disburse financial aid funding refunds. After tuition and fees are paid directly to the school, any remaining funds will be disbursed to you your card. You have the option to receive your funds as a deposit into your Higher One or other personal checking account or by a check that will be mailed to you. These funds can then be used to pay for your books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and other educational-related expenses.