SFA Purple Promise offers college tuition to low income students

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Students whose annual family income is $25,000 or less and meet academic requirements could have free tuition at SFA for four years. It's a gift from SFA to encourage low income students to pursue higher education. "Just knowing that they will be able to have their tuition paid is good," said Mike O'Rear, SFA financial aide director. "For a full time student that's in excess of $6,000 at this point, so it's a good award."

There will be students whose family income is just over the $25,000 cap set for the new tuition grantee. Honey Jones, SFA sophomore, would have been one. She still praises the program for helping others with less than in herself. "I think it's a good idea. I mean, $25,000, that's not a lot, so to pay for them to go to school will be really nice," said Jones.

At most Texas universities tuition is just a third of the cost. Student still have books and living expenses. But there's help for that too. "Total financial aide that we have to disperse to students will go past $100-million this year," said O'Rear.

The decision to adopt SFA Purple Promise falls in line with a state wide initiative to send the message high school principals preach all the time.  "The message to our students is always, it does not matter what your family income is, opportunity for you to go to college is there," said Nathan Chaddick, Nacogdoches High School principal. "College is definitely there."

SFA Purple Promise begins in the fall. At least 150 students are expected to apply. Other universities in the East Texas region offering tuition guarantees included U-T Tyler and Sam Houston.