Types of Aid

Federal Student Loans

IMPORTANT NEWS FOR STUDENTS WHO USE FEDERAL STAFFORD OR PLUS LOANS TO FINANCE THEIR EDUCATION

Wharton County Junior College is now processing loans through the Federal Direct Loan Program effective June 7, 2010.   This program will replace the Federal Stafford Student Loan and Parent PLUS loan programs. Participating in the Federal Direct Loan Program will provide our current and future students, as well as the College, with more assurance that funding will be available for federal educational loans and will ensure that WCJC students will receive competitive benefits.

Here are some of the benefits that WCJC students will receive from this change:

  • The Direct Loan Program is funded directly by the Federal Government, thereby eliminating some of the confusion by offering a single source and process for federal loans.

  • Direct Loans are not sold by the Federal Government; borrowers will know who holds their loans during repayment. In addition, prior borrowers can consolidate Federal Stafford Loans with their Direct Loans, enabling them to track their loans with one lender instead of multiple lenders.

  • Direct lending offers a Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and an income-based repayment option for students in certain public service professions or who have low incomes.

What does this mean for you? This means that your Federal Stafford and PLUS loan will come from a different source than in the past but the funding for it is assured. It also means that you and your parents (if the parent desires to borrow a PLUS loan) will need to complete a new Master Promissory Note (MPN).

When it is time to begin the process of applying for your loan, the WCJC Financial Aid Office will be available to assist you and to direct you to on-line information about the Direct Loan program. We will also be updating our web pages and distributing information to assist you with the transition to help you better understand the benefits of this conversion.

Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid , with interest. You cannot have these loans canceled because you didn’t get a job in your field of study or due to financial difficulty.  Loans are legal obligations, so before you take out a student loan, think about the amount you’ll have to repay over the years. Financial need is not a requirement to obtain certain student loans.  

However, if you demonstrate financial need and are eligible for a Subsidized Loan, the federal government (U.S. Department of Education) will pay the interest that accrues on this type of loan during certain periods of enrollment.

Federal Student Loan Eligibility Requirements

  1. Student must complete the FAFSA.  Apply at www.fafsa.gov        
  2. Student must meet satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Financial Aid Office.   If you are on financial aid suspension, you are not eligible for student loans.
  3. Be accepted for enrollment (if a new student) or, if currently enrolled, be in good standing.
  4. Student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours) each semester.
  5. Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  6. The student must not be in default on any federal loan or owe a refund back to any federal program.
  7. Not already exceed aggregate loan limits as established by the U.S. Department of Education

How much can I borrow?

Loan Limits for Federal Student Loans

CLASSIFICATIONS DEPENDENT STUDENTS: Additional unsubsidized loan amounts
FRESHMAN: 29 or less semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours $3,500 $2,000
SOPHOMORE: 30 or more semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours $4,500 $2,000
CLASSIFICATIONS INDEPENDENT STUDENTS: Additional unsubsidized loan amounts
FRESHMAN: 29 or less semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours $4,500 $5,000
SOPHOMORE: 30 or more semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours $4,500 $6,000

The actual loan amount you are awarded will depend on other financial aid you receive and the amount of your budget (cost of attendance) as set by WCJC Financial Aid Office.

How do I apply for a Federal Student Loan? 


Wharton County Junior College "packages" Federal Loans for all of our students who indicate on the FAFSA they are interested in being considered for a student loan. Once awarded a loan, you still must accept the loan either via paper award letter or on-line services.

Students who do not indicate on the FAFSA their desire to borrow a student loan but wish to do so may complete the Wharton County Junior College Loan request form.  This form is available at all campuses.

A student loan can be used only for educational costs such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies. You should borrow only what you need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 


What is a Master Promissory Note?

Do I have to complete the online process at https://studentloans.gov for my loan?

Yes-If you do not complete the online process as instructed your loan cannot continue to be processed by the Department of Education. You must complete Entrance Counseling electronically and sign the promissory note for the loan.  Federal regulations also require that all students who receive a Direct Loan (DL) must complete Exit Counseling at www.studentloans.gov prior to graduation or dropping below half-time attendance. You may not be able to get a copy of your college transcript until you have completed this important step.

How do I sign my promissory note?

You will need your PIN you used to electronically sign your FAFSA. If you do not remember your PIN you will need to retrieve it at www.pin.ed.gov .

How do I know if my loan funds have been received and deposited into my student account?

You should check your student account using the Online Services feature on the WCJC website.  Information will not be released via telephone due to privacy laws. Loan funds will be deposited into your student account electronically.  Check your Disclosure Statement to determine when funds will be sent to the college.  The Business Office will deduct what you owe for tuition, fees and books and the balance will be mailed to you.  You are responsible for maintaining a current, valid address with the Registrar’s Office. 

What if I have other loans and don’t know who the lender is or how to contact them??

Call the Department of Education at 800-621-3115 OR

Log on to the National Student Loan Data Base: www.nslds.ed.gov (you will need your PIN)

What if I need to dispute the terms of a loan?

You should contact the lender and/or guarantor in writing.  If the issue remains unresolved you should contact the Office of the Ombudsman at http://ombudsman.ed.gov/ or1-877-557-2575.

REMEMBER , a student loan is a debt that must be repaid!!

IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT!

Refund Policy:  Federal regulations require return of funds for all students who receive Federal Title IV aid and subsequently withdraw during a payment period (i.e., a semester). The length of time during which a return of funds is calculated is up to sixty percent (60%) of the semester. Students not receiving federal funds are subject only to Wharton County Junior College’s refund policy.

The refund is applied to their financial-aid awards in the following order: 

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  2. Federal Stafford Student Loan
  3. Federal Plus Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
  6. Other state and local aid

Wharton County Junior College makes all refunds in compliance with current federal regulations.

  Loan Overview (Direct Loans) 

 

Grants

Federal Pell Grants (formerly Basic Grants), authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1972, provide assistance to needy undergraduate students. Unlike a loan, the Pell Grant does not have to be repaid.

The Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) program is intended for students of all levels of academic performance.  The primary criterion for student eligibility for SEOG is financial need by the student who, without the grant, would be unable to continue his or her education.

The TEXAS (Towards Excellence, Access, and Success) Grant program was established to provide need-based financial aid to Texas students who completed a college-preparatory curriculum in high school. To be eligible for this grant, students must be a Texas resident who graduated no earlier than the 1998-1999 school year from a public or accredited private high school and must enroll in college within 16 months after graduation from high school. In addition, students must show financial need with an EFC of $4000 or lower to be initially eligible to apply.

Students who continue in college and who meet program academic standards can receive awards for up to 150 semester credit hours, until they receive a bachelor’s degree, or for five years if enrolled in a 4-year degree plan or six years if enrolled in a 5-year degree plan, whichever comes first.

The academic requirements from continuing in the program are:

  • At the end of the first year, a student must be meeting the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements

  • At the end of the second year in the program or later years, all students must complete 75% or the hours attempted in the prior academic year, have an overall college grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and complete at least 24 semester credit hours per year

The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) was established to provide grant aid to financially needy students enrolled in Texas public two-year colleges. To be eligible for this grant the student must be a Texas resident that has financial need and is applying for his/her first award. The student's expected family contribution cannot be more than $2000. To be eligible for this grant the student cannot have been convicted of a felony and must be enrolled for at least half time. This grant is continuous for up to 75 semester hours, for four years, or until the student receives an associate's degree, whichever comes first.

The academic requirements for continuing in the program are: At the end of the first year, the student must meet the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. At the end of the second year, the student must complete at least 75 percent of the hours attempted in the prior academic year and have an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Additional information about the TEXAS grant and TEOG program award amounts and requirements may be found at www.collegeforalltexans.com.

What is a Pell Grant?

What is a FSEOG?

 

Tuition Rebates for Certain Undergraduate Students

For more information, please visit CollegeForTexans.com

A tuition rebate program was created by Senate Bill 1907, 75th  Texas Legislature, and is authorized by Section 54.0065 of the Texas Education Code.

The purpose of this program is to provide tuition rebates that will provide a financial incentive for students to prepare for university studies while completing their high school work, avail themselves of academic counseling, make early career decisions, and complete their baccalaureate studies with as few extraneous courses as possible. Minimizing the number of courses taken by students results in financial savings to students, parents, and the state.

To be eligible for rebates under this program, students must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. They must have enrolled for the first time in an institution of higher education in the fall 1997 semester or later;

  2. They must have received a baccalaureate degree from a Texas public university;

  3. They must have been a resident of Texas and entitled to pay resident tuition at all times while pursuing the degree; and

  4. They must have attempted no more than three hours in excess of the minimum number of semester credit hours required to complete the degree under the catalog under which they were graduated.

Student Employment

College Work Study Program (CWSP). Students who can demonstrate financial need may be provided with a job to help pay for college expenses under the federally supported College Work-Study Program. Part-time employment on campus includes such jobs as secretary/clerk, maintenance worker, library clerk, laboratory assistant, cafeteria worker, and bookstore clerk.

Application for financial aid should be filed through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by June 1 for the fall semester and by November 1 for the spring semester.

What is a Federal Work Study Job? 

 


Americans with Disabilities Act

Students with disabilities may be entitled to financial assistance from the Texas Commission for the Blind, Texas Commission for the Deaf, or the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. Other state and local resources may be available to qualified students. For more information contact the ADA coordinator for Wharton County Junior College at (979) 532-6384.

 

Peace Officer Exemption Program

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What statute authorizes this program?

Texas Education Code 54.208, as amended by House Bill 2347, passed in 2009, authorized the Peace Officer Exemption program.

When does this program begin?

The program begins with tuition and fees paid for fall 2011.

Who is eligible to for the Peace Officer tuition and laboratory fee exemption?

A person who:

Is employed as a Peace Officer by Texas or by a political subdivision of Texas; and

Enrolls as an undergraduate in an undergraduate program, including certificate, associate and baccalaureate degrees; and

Enrolls in a criminal justice or law enforcement-related degree program at the institution; and

Is making satisfactory academic progress toward the student's degree as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy; and

Applied for the exemption at least one week before the last date of the institution's regular registration period for the applicable semester or other term; and

Has not previously attempted 30 or more semester credit hours beyond the degree plan at any Texas public institution of higher education while classified as a resident student. (TEC Section 61.0595 (a)).

What is the definition of a Peace Officer? 

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 2.12 defines all 36 groups considered to be peace officers. Here is a link: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CR/htm/CR.2.htm#2.12

 

Must the Peace Officer be employed full-time?

No. Legislation only states that the person must be employed as a Peace Officer in Texas or by a political subdivision of Texas. It does not specify full-time employment; therefore, part-time employment is allowable.

 

Are volunteer Peace Officers included in the exemption?

No. Peace Officers must be employed by either Texas or a subdivision of Texas.

 

What courses are exempt from tuition and fees?

Only courses in law enforcement or criminal justice are covered by this exemption program. 

 

Are all fees exempted?

No. Only laboratory fees are included in this exemption.

 

If a certificate or degree program in law enforcement or criminal justice requires students to take other courses such as English, math, or government, will these courses be included in the exemption?

No. The exemption program only covers courses in law enforcement or criminal justice even if other courses are required for the degree or certification.

 

Are continuing education or extension courses covered?

Generally, no. Only courses that receive formula funding are covered. If the college receives formula funding for the continuing education or extension courses, then these would be covered.

 

Are distance education courses covered?

Yes. Since these courses receive formula funding and collect tuition and fees, they are subject to the tuition exemption.

 

Are students in graduate school eligible for this exemption program?

No. This exemption is only for those in law enforcement related or criminal justice undergraduate certificate or degree programs.

 

Is there list of law enforcement related or criminal justice certificate and degree programs?

Each institution of higher education submitted a list of the programs they offer which they identified as being law enforcement related or criminal justice certificate or degree programs. These are provided as a link on the Peace Officer Exemption information sheet under eligibility requirements: http://www.collegeforalltexans.com/apps/financialaid/tofa2.cfm?ID=589 . If your college offers a law enforcement related or criminal justice program and it is not on the list, please have the college contact us at grantinfo@thecb.state.tx.us.

 

Is there a list of eligible courses?

No. Each institution determines which courses in law enforcement and criminal justice qualify for this exemption.

 

Is there a deadline by which a student must request the tuition and fee exemption? 

The Peace Officer must apply for the exemption at least one week before the last day of the institution's regular registration period for that semester.

 

Is there are limit to the number of students receiving the tuition and fee exemption?

Yes. The institution may not provide exemptions through the Peace Officer exemption program to more than 20% of the maximum enrollment for that class. (TEC 54.208 (d)).

 

If a student exceeds the number of semester credit hours for his or her program of study by 30 or more hours, will this exemption cover the increased tuition that the institution charges? (TEC 61.059)

 No. A Peace Officer may not receive an exemption for any course if the student has reached the maximum number of hours allowed for formula funding (30 hours beyond the degree requirement).

 

Will the institution be reimbursed for the tuition and fees not collected? 

No. However, the legislation has included a clause addressing funding issues: TEC 54.208 (g) – “If the legislature does not specifically appropriate funds to an institution of higher education in an amount sufficient to pay the institution's costs in complying with this section for a semester, the governing board of the institution of higher education shall report to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee the cost to the institution of complying with this section for that semester.”

 

 

Last Updated