College Financial Aid – Ways to Pay!

I.   Government Funded Grants & Loans:    You must complete the FAFSA form available beginning in January of your senior year, online at  (800-433-3243).  The Federal and State Government AND Colleges disburse available funds based on these results.  Delaying could mean less money available for YOU!

Texas State Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Federal & State Financial aid comes in several forms:

  • Federal Pell Grant & State Supplemental Grants; Federal Work-Study; Federal Perkins and Stafford Loans; Federal Plus Loans for Parents

Once your FAFSA is on file at your college financial aid office they will evaluate it

and notify you about programs for which you qualify.

Texas Valedictorian Scholarship

Amount may vary and can include up to tuition exemption from a Texas public college or university for the first two semesters of college immediately following graduation.

Valedictorian is determined as the highest ranking student of each class at the conclusion of the 8th semester and will receive a certificate of verification to present to their college or university of choice.  Private institutions may also offer and honor the valedictorian award. 

Texas Top 10% Scholarship (not currently funded)

$2,000 (renewable); Students must: be in the top 10% of their class (as of 7th semester); demonstrate financial need by completing their FAFSA by March 1 of their senior year; enroll in a Texas public college or university.  Award notification will come from the college to which you apply.

II.   College Specific Scholarships:    The majority of your scholarship money for college will come from the College you attend.  Colleges offer scholarship “packages” to students based on merit and/or need if you complete their scholarship application process and meet their “priority deadline”.  Most colleges require that you fill out the basic FASFA form in order to apply for any type scholarship regardless of whether or not you qualify for Federal Aid.

III.   Company Specific:  ASK your parents & grandparents employer!

IV.   Independent Scholarships: 

  • Collegeboard’s Scholarship Handbook, available in the TCS Library contains scholarships specific to groups relating to; ethnicity, interests, club/civic affiliation, career choice and much more.
  • Sign up with a scholarship search engine to access scholarships specific to your interests.  Such as,; &
  • Web resources:

V.   Local Independent Scholarships:   local community scholarship information is sent via email to seniors and listed on the TCS website in the spring  – check it regularly!

Scholarship Scams!

Beware of any scholarship search assistance that costs money and/or guarantee results.    Beware of! This is a site that will charge you to do what you can do for FREE at

For additional Scholarship Scam info go to:  The Federal Trade Commission


The Texas Legislature established the Texas Grant to make sure that well-prepared high school graduates with financial need could go to college.

Eligibility Requirements For an initial award:

  • Complete the Recommended or Distinguished HS Graduation Plan
  • Enroll in a non-profit public college or university in Texas within 16 months of graduation from a public or accredited private high school in Texas and
  • Are Texas residents & not been convicted of a felony or crime involving a controlled substance
  • Show financial need; Have an EFC less than or equal to $4000
  • Register for the Selective Service or are exempt from this requirement

Application Process:

You apply for the TEXAS Grant when you complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other application as required by your college's financial aid office. Funding is limited, so you need to submit your application as soon as possible after January 1 of your senior year. The financial aid office at each college and university will determine if TEXAS Grant is part of the aid package that is offered to you.

Additional Information:

Your eligibility for this program is determined by the financial aid office at your college. Contact your college financial aid office for additional information on eligibility or availability of funds.  To read more about this program check out:

Texas Education Code, §56.301 and Coordinating Board Rules, Chapter 22 L.  or

Scholarship TIPS

There are virtually millions of scholarship dollars out there, much of which goes unused.  This is due to the failure of students to take the time to search and apply.  Consider this; your time is money, the more time you take on this endeavor the more money you can potentially earn.  Utilize the scholarship search engines listed on pages 20 and 22 to make your search more efficient and get started early!  Do not wait until senior year, but if you do, it is not too late.  Below are some typical scholarship questions that you can prepare in advance to speed up the process.

Common Scholarship Application Questions

Describe in 200 words or less, how this scholarship will help you achieve your educational and occupational goals.

What is the most challenging obstacle you have faced and how did you overcome it?

Explain how specific community service activities you have been involved in have impacted your life.

What is unique about your financial need and how do you plan to contribute to your college expenses?

Helpful Financial Aid Websites

Federal Aid Application and Eligibility Information

Calculate your need – Estimated Family Contribution (EFC):

College Money & College Planning Info

Scholarships (Students fill out a questionnaire to customize their search)

Special Scholarship Constituency Sites


Budgeting & Saving

  •  This fast and easy calculator shows you how much money you must contribute each month to an interest bearing bank account or investment fund in order to reach your savings goal.                                     


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