The Del Mar College program covers tuition and fees for eligible students


Del Mar College has introduced a program that will cover all tuition and fees for eligible students.

The Tuition Advantage grant program, which will be available starting in the fall, is available to Texas residents who qualify for a Pell or state grant. The Del Mar College program will cover any remaining costs after applying for Pell Grants, Texas Educational Opportunity Grants, and scholarships.

Del Mar College Director of Financial Aid Services Joseph Ruiz said the program is new to the college and could help several thousand students.

“We hope it can continue to grow with more and more students, Ruiz said.

A fall 2021 survey showed that 70% of Del Mar College students who responded rely on Pell grants or other scholarships to pay for their college education, which is higher than the 62% rate of college students. other public two-year colleges. Just over half of Del Mar respondents also said they rely on scholarships, compared to just over a third of students at other colleges.

Student loans and credit card debt were a significant concern for students in the survey.

Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed in Del Mar said they encountered financial difficulties or challenges while in college, and many said they faced food and housing insecurity.

“While many students use savings or earnings to pay for college, it’s rarely enough,” Del Mar’s acting vice president of student affairs Patricia Benavides-Dominquez told the board. at a meeting on May 10. “Few students today pay for their college education.”

How can students qualify?

To be eligible for state and federal grants, students must demonstrate exceptional financial need. To be eligible, students must submit a Free Federal Student Aid Application Form. State grants are available through a Texas Public Education Grant Application.

Additionally, the DMC program requires students to have an adjusted gross household income of $125,000 or less, enroll between nine and 12 credit hours or a selected continuing education program, and complete a DMC continuing education package.

The program does not cover dual credit or dual enrollment high school students.

Once awarded the DMC grant, students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average.

If a student takes 12 credits in the fall and 12 credits in the spring, they must complete a minimum of 16 hours with grades high enough to warrant a 2.0 for their tuition to be covered, Ruiz said.

Ruiz said resources are available online at the DMC’s Financial Aid Services website and that the office also hosts financial aid workshops.

The Fall 2021 Student Financial Well-Being Survey showed that compared to other public two-year students, Del Mar students were slightly more confident that their college was aware of the financial challenges they face. . While 30% of students at other schools agreed with the statement, 32% at Del Mar did. By comparison, 38% of Del Mar students disagreed, slightly less than 41% of respondents from other schools.

About two-thirds of students who responded to the survey said they agreed or strongly agreed that Del Mar is making tuition more affordable, although 43% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagree with college making textbooks more affordable.

“Do I believe Del Mar is trying to provide as many funding opportunities as possible to make college affordable? Absolutely,” Ruiz said.

Olivia Garrett reports on education and community news in South Texas. Contact her at [email protected] You can support local journalism by subscribing to the Caller-Times.

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