For Immediate Release
DALLAS – Students who are considering whether to attend the Dallas County Community College District or an area four-year institution can stretch their Pell grants to cover more classes and books at DCCCD than those same funds can buy at the state's public universities. Additionally, students might want to know that community colleges like DCCCD offer smaller classes and open admission.
Recent announcements about free tuition for students whose families have an annual income of $25,000 or below will help encourage them to apply to those four-year schools. However, because universities assess a higher tuition rate than local community colleges, the Pell grants that come into play with “free tuition” will not go as far, usually leaving students paying the bill for books, supplies and related expenses.
“DCCCD's current tuition rate at $39 per semester credit hour means that students pay $468 for the traditional 12 semester credit hours. Students who qualify for Pell grants – regardless of which college or university they choose to attend – now receive a maximum of $4,050 annually, or $2,025 for the fall and spring semesters,” explained Rick Renshaw, DCCCD's district director of financial aid. “The cost of tuition for a DCCCD student with a family income of under $25,000 and who receives a Pell grant equals approximately 30 percent of that grant, on average, or 23 percent if they qualify for a full Pell grant. After they pay their tuition, those DCCCD students have an average of $600 to $900 that they can spend on books and supplies.”
Tuition rates at the University of Texas at Dallas and UT-Arlington are $3,350 and $3,200 per semester, respectively. Students who qualify for the “Tuition Promise” program receive up to $2,025 for the semester from their Pell grants, plus additional funds from Texas Public Education Grants or other aid that covers only tuition and fees; other costs – like books or transportation – are out-of-pocket expenses, or the money must come from student loans. Part-time students – who represent many members of the student body at community colleges – may not eligible for the new program at some institutions.
Currently, approximately 10 percent of the student body at DCCCD who applied for financial aid reported a family income of less than $25,000, which is the cap for the “Tuition Promise” programs. More than 80 percent of those students qualified for a full Pell grant of up to $2,025 per semester. The other 20 percent, on average, qualified to receive approximately $1,550 per semester in Pell grants. Those awards paid not only tuition but also provided from $600 to $900 to help students pay for books, supplies, gasoline and other expenses, Renshaw reiterated.
For details, call Renshaw at (214) 860-2710 or contact the financial aid office at any one of DCCCD's seven colleges – Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland – to request assistance applying for financial aid.
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