SFA students impacted by Texas college grant cuts

SFA Financial Aid Director, Michael O'Rear
SFA Financial Aid Director, Michael O'Rear

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - At the same time students are paying more for tuition, Texas is offering less help paying for college. For the first time since it's creation in 1999, the Texas Grant program is cutting back.

SFA financial aid director, Michael O'Rear, says all students will feel the pinch.

"I think the good news is, overall, we'll still have a lot of financial aid available," said O'Rear.

"They're going to have to find that extra money to cover their budget, their bill, or they'll have to take out more loans if they don't have money out of pocket," said financial aid specialist, Amy Cole.

Junior, Ranajee Thomas, relies on scholarships and loans to pay for his degree.

"It hurts, and I guess in the long run, you'll end up..I guess we'll end up paying for it eventually," said Thomas.

Students at SFA are expected to miss out on 70 thousand dollars. Thomas is trying to avoid deep debt to compensate for the cuts.

"Things happen, but of course, it's not something no one wants to do. No one wants to take out more loans than they originally had to, but I look at it as I do what I have to," said Thomas.

Leap grants, the "B-on-time" loan, and the nursing scholarship program will all disappear.

The widely utilized Pell Grant is safe for now.

"We anticipate that we will still have quite a bit of funding, although, you know, we are concerned anytime grant funds are cut or any funds are cut for that matter," said O'Rear.

With fewer options, applying for financial aid is expected to become much more competitive this fall.

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