The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Financial options make loans last resort, NE speaker says

By Rhiannon Saegert/reporter

Many students begin their first semester of college without knowing what the total cost will be. That’s why the NE Campus’ financial aid office presented a mini-module on preparing for the many expenses of a college degree.

Andrew T. Rodriguez, NE work-study coordinator, said every semester more TCC students hit their maximum federal loan amounts even though many intend to transfer to a four-year university.

He then described the various sources of financial aid available. Suggesting scholarships, grants and federal work-study, he urged students to exhaust all of those options before resorting to loans of any kind.

Rodriguez said the federal work-study program was one of the best, if not the best, financial aid option besides grants. The flexible hours that on-campus employment offers are helpful to a full-time student.

Too often, he said, students spend too much valuable time working during the semester. This is understandable but ultimately negatively affects students’ academic performance.

Students who attended the presentation were urged to steer clear of any loan that was not a federal loan. Federal loans have unique deferment options and low interest rates while still allowing a student to earn credit. Other loans, however, are much less forgiving, he said.

Many students, Rodriguez said, fall into a trap when they use a credit card to pay their tuition and find themselves unable to pay the original cost, plus the accumulated interest.

“Really, working in the Financial Aid office, students don’t disclose that, but on the student end, I know it does happen and it does come back to haunt them,” he said.

Rodriguez said it is important to develop a spending plan ahead of time. This means choosing whether to attend school in-state or out-of-state, where to live and even what to eat. The more time spent researching one’s options, the better, he said.

Every college has its own rules. For example, some universities have strict policies requiring students to live on-campus for their first year. In this case, the cost of attendance would include the cost of room and board.

Rodriguez said colleges adopt different tuition policies, and it is important to stay informed of those policies and take courses strategically to avoid wasting time and money in the long run.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian