Texas A&M University System launches new initiative to help students with college debt

Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 08:25:11-05

The Texas A&M University System has a new initiative that will soon affect students in Central Texas.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor, John Sharp recently announced the initiative and said it will help students facing hardships stay in school without racking up debt.

“We do not want our hard-working students to be forced to take out extra loans or lose valuable time toward their degree because of unanticipated issues with things like medical expenses, job loss, or natural disasters,” Sharp said. “One of the core functions of our universities is to get students to graduation with a degree that allows them to be highly productive members of society, and our new Regents’ Grant initiative will eliminate some of the pitfalls that have threatened the progress of too many of our bright students.”

 As a part of the initiative, $30 million will soon be divided among the 11 A&M University campuses.

"He decided he would like to put an initiative in place for all the A&M System schools that would provide some funding source to help students," A&M University-Central Texas President, Marc Nigliazzo said.

This initiative will help students like Julius Isaac III, who barely made it into his first year of college because of finances.

"When I got out of high school I didn't have any scholarships or grants available so, I was about $500 short for my tuition," Isaac said.

So, what happens when emergencies arise and finances are even tighter?

"A growing number of students whose education was interrupted," President Nigliazzo said.

Which is exactly what Chancellor Sharp started a new initiative to fix.

Chancellor Sharp proposed that $300 million be divided among the 11 A&M System Universities over the next ten years to help students that may have run into problems in their own lives finish their education.

"When we identify a student that meets the criteria that he is setting out, we can provide some funding for them that will not be a loan, but a grant of funds," President Nigliazzo said.

A grant of funds, also known as the Texas A&M System's New Regents' Grant, is a grant that students on the Texas A&M University-Central Texas Campus said will be well-received.

"This program is going to make a big change and a big difference for a lot of students here. It provides other options so that you don't just have to drop out of college," Sociology Major, Gary Ingram said.

To be eligible to receive the grant, students must meet certain criteria, including a student/family adjusted gross income between $60 and $100,000 per year.

While the initiative was inspired by those students affected by the hurricanes that hit in 2017, the goal is to help fill any financial gap no matter how small or big it may seem.

"When life happens to these students, we want them to be able to keep going and this is one way, one piece of help that we can provide for them," President Nigliazzo said.

The initiative will be funded with $3 million per year from the Available University Fund,  the funds will be allocated to universities based on size.

While the initiative is still waiting for approval from The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, President Nigliazzo said he imagines it'll be ready to go in the coming weeks.

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