The Texas College Access Loan (CAL) Program provides alternative loans for students looking to complete a college education.
The loans are aimed at students who otherwise cannot meet the costs of attending college.
The amount of federal aid for which students are eligible needs to be deducted from the total cost of college attendance to determine the amount that can be made available in the CAL loan program.
A student loan under the Texas College Access Loan Program is offered by the state of Texas to help qualifying Texas students pay for their college education. Applicants must have submitted a TASFA or FAFSA.
Check out also this article about the Texas Dual Credit Program that offers eligible high school students the opportunity to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously while they are still in high school.
To qualify for a CAL loan, applicants need to meet the following requirements:
- They must be Texas residents
- They must be accepted for college courses enrollment and be at least half-time enrolled in a course of study towards a certificate, associate, bachelor, graduate, or higher academic degree, or towards an accredited alternative educator certificate program
- They must meet the school’s academic progress requirements satisfactory
- They must have favorable credit evaluation reports or have a cosigner of good credit standing who meets some additional criteria as well (see below)
The CAL application must be completed online and details about things like loan amounts, eligibility, interest rates, can be found at the website hhloans.com but students may also contact their school’s Financial Aid office.
Eligible students can borrow from $100 up to the total cost of college attendance minus other financial resources such as a federal student loan.
Earning college credit while in high school could also result in TSI exempt status for these students so that they won’t need to sit for the state-required Texas Student Initiative (TSI) Assessment prior to enrolling in credit-bearing college-level course work.
CAL cosigner eligibility requirements
For a cosigner to qualify, he or she must:
- be 21 years old or older
- enjoy a regular income source
- not be the spouse of the applicants
- be of good standing and have a good credit evaluation
- be a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. and live in the U.S. or one of its territories
A cosigner is equally responsible for repaying the loan in case students will fail to meet their repayment obligations. Check out also this overview of Texas colleges with the most affordable and most expensive tuition and fees as well as this post about the best colleges in Texas.
Students and/or cosigners are required to
- have at least a 650 Experian VantageScore
- not hold public records such as bankruptcy proceedings or tax liens
- never have defaulted on any private or federal education loans
The current fixed annual rate of Texas College Access Loans is 5.20% and interest is not capitalized. The loans under the Texas College Access Loan program have a 6-month grace period starting the day the borrower ceases enrollment.
Take also a look at this post about the Texas College 529 Savings Plan that is developed designed to support families in a tax-advantaged way to set aside money for their kids’ college education.
Principal CAL balances up to $30,000 have maximally a 10-year repayment time frame and the minimally required monthly payment is $50.
For a principal balance of $30,000 and over, a repayment period of maximally 20 years applies and loans cannot be sold to some other lender. However, graduated or income-related repayment plans and postponement of loan repayment plans are available.
Texas armed services scholarship
The TASSP (Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program) aims to interest students to become service members in the Texas Army or Texas Air National Guard, the Texas State Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Merchant Marine, or to be commissioned officers in any United States armed forces branch.
Please note that the Texas Armed Services Scholarship is conditional and that in case the scholarship’s terms will not be fulfilled, the scholarship will become a loan. Applicants to the TASSP need to be nominated by the state governor, the lieutenant governor, a state senator, or a state representative.
Nowadays, the cost of a college education is often a major stumbling block. Tuition fees are high and the Texas Armed Services Scholarship may help highly qualified students, but there are so many more scholarships available in Texas!
Just go online and discover the Texas scholarship that will fit your needs and get the best financial help to pay for the college education you deserve.
Alternative payment options for college
- Grants – Grants are given to students on the basis of many different factors, but you do not have to pay them back and the requirements are not usually as high as those of scholarships. There are usually state grants available that are based on your income level and the amount of financial need. If you look beyond that, you will be able to find thousands of grants offered by various nonprofit organizations and companies. You should definitely ask your guidance counselor if there are some that they can recommend to you and then start to search for them independently online or through the use of books and library resources.
- Scholarships – Scholarships are often available from nonprofit organizations and they usually require that you continue to perform up to their standards in order to receive funding each year and don’t forget that community colleges and trade schools usually offer academic programs at affordable rates. You can buy books that have detailed listings about scholarships all over the country or you can simply find them by searching online. You should apply to as many as possible because that will increase your chances of winning.
- Work-study programs – Most colleges allow students to participate in the Federal Work-Study Program which provides jobs on campus to students in order to help them pay for their college expenses. The main benefit of this program is that you will have a job conveniently located on campus, a decent wage, and hopefully, a positive job reference to list on your application.
- Earn high test scores and grades – If you are serious about getting a free college education, then it is essential that you try your very best to earn high grades and test scores. See also this post about the scholarships awarded annually by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to outstanding Latino high school seniors. The only way that you will qualify for many of the grants and scholarships is to have at least a 3.0 GPA and above-average scores on the ACT or SAT exams. You may still have a chance even if you have less than stellar grades, but that will limit your opportunities.
- Live at home or with a roommate – If you are attending a local college, then you can probably live at home to save money on room and board. Room and board expenses at most institutions will cost roughly $5,000-$10,000 per semester, so it is best to avoid that if you can. Sometimes you can try to find an apartment and live with a roommate if you will be attending college in a different location. This will also prevent you from getting too much student debt. and that’s always good.
- Tuition reimbursement programs – Tuition reimbursement programs provide college funding to employees at the company. It may cover the entire tuition bill or just a percentage of the costs and every company handles it differently. Some companies will only support certain types of college programs or they may require that you maintain a certain GPA. Check with your company to see if they offer anything like that and inquire about what you can do to qualify. Avoiding the trap of student loans as much as possible will keep your head and shoulders above your counterparts, so take the time to get all of the funding you are eligible for.
Last Updated on September 12, 2020