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Estimate Your Financial Aid Award

Step 1: Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Step 2: Determine Your Pell Eligibility

The FAFSA will provide you with an estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  This number is important when determining the types of aid you for which you are eligible.

Step 3: Determine Your Stafford Loan Eligibility

Federal Loan limits are established based on your dependency status and grade level.  Below is the Stafford Loan eligibility chart. For example, if you are a dependant Sophomore, you can expect $6,500 in Stafford loans (as long as it fits within your Cost of Attendance). 

  Dependent Undergraduate Student Independent Undergraduate Student Graduate and Professional Student
Freshman year
0-29 credit hrs
$5500 (maximum subsidized $3500) $9,500 – No more than $3500 may be in subsidized loans  
Sophomore year
30-59 credit hrs
$6500 (maximum subsidized $4500)  $10500 - No more than $4500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans $20,500 - No more than $8500 may be in subsidized loans and $12,000 unsubsidized
60-89 credit hrs

90+ credit hrs
(maximum subsidized $5500)
$12,500 - No more than $5500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans  
Maximum Total Debt From Stafford Loans When You Graduate $31,500
maximum subsidized $23,000)
$57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans $138,500 - No more than $65,500 may be in subsidized loans.
The graduate debt limit includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

Step 4: Add Pell, Loans, and Athletics Scholarship Amounts

Use the totals from steps 2 and 3 and add the amount of Athletic Scholarships you are planning on receiving.

Step 5: Review the UTSA Cost of Attendance

You will want to review the UTSA Cost of Attendance and compare your award totals from Steps 2 through 4.  Keep in mind that this Cost of Attendance is an estimate of what your actually expenses may be at UTSA.  Your tuition and fees will vary based on the number of hours that you are taking; your room and board will vary based on where you live, etc.  Here is an excerpt from the 08/09 Fall/Spring Cost of Attendance:

Full Time Fall/Spring Undergraduate Resident Student Living at Home w/Parents Living Off Campus Living On Campus
Tuition (based on 15 hours per term $5452.00 $5452.00 $5452.00
Fees (based on average for 15 hours per term) $2958.00 $2958.00 $2958.00
Books (based on 15 hours – 5 classes) $1000.00 $1000.00 $1000.00
Room (average) $1874.00 $5472.00 $5796.00
Board (average) $1499.00 $3010.00 $2900.00
Transportation (average) $1838.00 $2358.00 $880.00
Personal/Miscellaneous $1428.00 $1785.00 $1785.00
Total Estimated Cost of Attendance $16,049.00 $22,035.00 $20,771.00

Here is an example of how utilizing these steps can help you estimate your award and prepare a budget long before you ever receive an award letter:

Tom completed the FAFSA (Step 1) and determined that his Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was $423.  He reviewed the Pell chart (Step 2) and determined that he is eligible for $5,100 of the Pell Grant.  As a dependant Sophomore, Tom determined from the Stafford Loan Eligibility Chart (Step 3) that he was eligible for up to $6,500 in Stafford Loans.  He has been told that he will be receiving a $7,000 Athletics Scholarship at UTSA and added that to the Pell and Stafford Loan amounts that he estimated that he will be receiving (Step 4).  Tom is living on campus and determined from UTSA’s Cost of Attendance that his expenses will be $20,771 (Step 5):

   $20,771 Cost of Attendance
(-) $5,100 Pell estimate
(-) $6,500 Stafford Loan estimate
(-) $7,000 Athletic Scholarship estimate
$2,171 less than the Cost of Attendance

There are other types of aid that are available that Tom may be eligible for (honorary academic or research grants, scholarships without Athletics as a major eligibility criteria, Work Study, Alternative or Plus Loans), but this estimate will give him a better idea of what he can expect financially long before he ever receives an award letter. 

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