It’s financial aid season, which means that students, parents, and educators around the country have “paying for college” on their minds. FAFSA is a definite buzzword, but what about those students who aren’t eligible for federal financial aid?
Here’s a quick refresher on the TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) and how to help your eligible students qualify.
The TASFA is a great option for students who are Texas residents but who cannot apply for federal financial aid. In Texas, undocumented students can apply for state financial aid and qualify for in-state tuition by completing a TASFA. The TASFA is used to help determine a student's eligibility for state financial aid programs that are administered by Texas institutions of higher education.
Need a reminder about financial aid basics, including who is eligible for state aid? Check out Financial Aid Basics for Counselors: What You Need to Know About the FAFSA, TASFA and More. You can also download the State Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements one pager below:
We encourage students to download the TASFA, save it to their computer, and then fill it in to avoid losing information or having to restart, since the application is in PDF format. Students will still need to print their completed TASFA PDF, sign it, and mail it in.
Guiding students and their families through the completion of a TASFA may seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be! Starting with a clear understanding of each section of the application can be helpful. Here’s what to expect:
- Student Information: Students enter basic demographic information, select a housing preference, and answer a few additional questions.
- Student Dependency Status Determination: Students answer a series of questions to determine whether they are dependent or independent.
- Parent Information: Students enter basic demographic information, education level, and marital status for their parent or guardian, if applicable.
- Income Information: Students enter income, earnings, and assets information for themselves and their parent or guardian, if applicable.
- Household Information: Students list the name, age, relationship, and college attendance (if applicable) for every member of the household.
- Signature: The student and their parent or guardian (for dependent students) sign and certify the application.
Want to see a previous app in progress? Watch a video of a TASFA completion here.
Some important things to note:
- One application does not fit all; students need to mail a signed TASFA to the financial aid office of each institution on their college list. If a student makes copies of a completed TASFA, make the copies before signing the app.
- If a student's TASFA is reviewed and determined to be incomplete, the student aid award will be placed on hold until all documentation has been submitted.
- For male students, failure to either include proof of Selective Service registration or exemption with the TASFA or mail it in separately may result in the loss of eligibility for state financial aid.
- Funds are awarded according to availability and in the order that students complete and submit their applications; in order to get the best award package, students should complete the TASFA and submit all required documents by the priority deadline.
- A student's TASFA completion date is the day on which the last required document is turned into the financial aid office, not the day on which an application is initially submitted.
Now that you know all the ins and outs of the TASFA, you may be wondering how to keep track of all of your students as they move through the completion process. Check out these helpful tips on Best Practices for TASFA Tracking below:
For more in-depth information on how to help your students qualify for state financial aid with the TASFA, log into the Texas OnCourse Academy and look for the TASFA module. It’s the second module under Financial Aid Applications Process.