UTPB holding FAFSA nights

The events are held in room 2221 of the Mesa Building, 4901 E. University Blvd.

The last FASFA night will be June 29.

Filling out the form will become a graduation requirement next school year and it has to be filled out every year. UTPB Associate Director of Admissions Lorinda Tercero noted that a lot of money gets left on the table.

To fill out the FAFSA, those attending need to bring IRS tax return information from 2019 (a 1040), Social Security number(s), and if needed, green card information.

It’s recommended that everyone should fill out a FAFSA or TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) to see what funding they’re eligible for, the UTPB website said. The site adds that it everyone is encouraged to complete the application by June 30 to receive funding in time for the start of the fall semester.

“We’ve noticed that in the community here in Odessa and Midland, a lot of students don’t fill out the FAFSA. And we know that the high the high schools have had FASFA nights in the springtime … so we wanted to give those students more opportunities to get them filled out,” Tercero said.

When the forms don’t get filled out, billions of dollars goes unused nationwide. Tercero said UTPB awards $42 million a year in financial aid.

“… That’s a lot of money, and that’s including $10 million more in scholarships, so students need to fill out the FAFSA,” she said.

The form also helps determine if students qualify for Pell grants. If they don’t qualify for any Pell grant funds because their parent makes too much money, FAFSA can still give students a chance to qualify for other types of scholarships from UTPB and other colleges and universities.

“We wanted students to take advantage of that,” Tercero said.

The students don’t necessarily have to go to UTPB to get help.

“… We just want the students in the area to take advantage of money that’s out there that could be available to them,” Tercero said.

Sometimes, she said, students don’t fill out the FASFA because they think their parents make too much money. But they may qualify for a scholarship that the financial aid office can match up to their needs.

Students attending the event can also get help with the admissions application.

“If you’ve been thinking about coming to UTPB, we can get your information in early instead of waiting until August. … There are still a lot of students out there that have been thinking about college, but they haven’t applied,” Tercero said.

She added that admissions representatives also will be available every Tuesday to help with any admissions or application questions the parent or student may have. A financial aid representative will be on hand, too.

Tercero said parents don’t have to accompany their students, but it is recommended.
If the parents don’t come, the student will need the parent’s Social Security number and the address they used on their 2019 income tax returns, “because what they’re going to do is the FASFA will link up the income taxes from the parents.”

“It’s a real fast, easy task as long as the student has that info and then it just uploads into the system,” Tercero said.

If they don’t attend, the parent will need to fill out a FASFA pin ID before the student gets here because it’s the electronic signature for the parent.

“When the students are ready to submit at the end, the student will electronically sign their name and the parent will have to electronically sign their name using a pin ID. The parent can do that before the student even comes … But if the parent wants to be here, they’re more than welcome to. We recommend this so the parent can kind of see how it’s done. … It may take like 30 minutes to an hour to fill out the FAFSA,” Tercero said.
Like many other colleges and universities, UTPB uses the Texas Common Application. Students can also get help with that at the FASFA event. It takes about 30 minutes to fill it out.

“… If you apply to UTPB and meet the requirements, we will automatically award you an academic scholarship. With freshmen, the scholarships range anywhere from $500 to $4,000 for the academic year. And then with transfer students, our academic scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500 per academic year. So if they apply, get accepted and meet those GPA requirements, we will automatically award that scholarship to them. They don’t even have to apply for it. And then filling out the FAFSA, we’ll look to see if they qualify for any other types of money and then just stack it on top of that. Also filling out the FASFA, they can they qualify for student loans. So even though they may not qualify for any type of Pell grant money, it’s also for student loans. There are low-interest rates compared to a bank loan or Parent Plus loan. I always tell the students it’s good to fill out the FASFA just in case you need to get that student loan,” Tercero said.

With a Parent Plus loan, the parent has to co-sign the loan and it goes through a bank, she said.

Based on 15 hours, UTPB is about $9,000 for tuition and fees.

The minimum full load is 12 hours.

“We have students that take from 12 to 15 hours. We recommend the 15 hours so that you can finish school on time, but 12 hours, the tuition will be more affordable. … It’s about another $10,000 per year to live in the housing,” Tercero said.

She added that the cost fluctuates depending on if you share a room or have a single. It costs more to have a room to yourself.

Many UTPB students live at home if they are local.

She said student housing fills up pretty quickly.

“Last year, during COVID we had a little bit more restrictions because they couldn’t share a room. But now all those rooms are open for this coming year, so we’re expecting to fill all of the housing,” Tercero said.

Students come from the Permian Basin, but also Houston, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, the Panhandle and New Mexico.

“We do have a lot of athletes that live in the dorms. They come from all over. We’ve got some from Brazil, Norway … the UK …,” she added.