Figuring out a way to finance one’s education can be stressful for college students, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although, the Red Raider Guarantee program is one resource that provides financial assistance to certain Texas Tech students.
Shannon Venezia, executive director of Tech Financial Aid and Scholarships, said the Red Raider Guarantee program has been around since 2007. The program covers tuition and fees for families with an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less and who have demonstrated financial need as justified by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The cutoff point for the program was previously an adjusted gross income of $40,000, but it was just raised this year, Venezia said. The new amount enables Tech to help an entirely new group of students.
“We’ve been able to help a lot more students with that, which is exciting,” she said.
Regarding the requirements for the program, students must be an entering freshman or transfer student who has earned an associate’s degree, be eligible to complete the FAFSA or Texas Application For State Financial Aid (TASFA), be a Texas resident, have a family adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less, have demonstrated financial need, be enrolled full–time for each semester and must apply, be accepted for admission and have a complete financial aid file by Jan. 15, according to the Tech website for the program.
Connie Brown, director of student access and employment, said a lot of students do not know they have Red Raider Guarantee eligibility because it is comprised of different types of funding, and it is not an option that pops up as an award.
“Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, I’m going to get Red Raider Guarantee and then I can use my Pell Grant for my housing,’ but the Pell Grant is part of the Guarantee,” Brown said.
Another issue students encounter is missing deadlines, Brown said. Some students do not complete their FAFSA file before Jan. 15 and thus are no longer considered for the program. Additionally, some students complete their FAFSA but do not decide on a college until after the Jan. 15 deadline, which violates the requirement of being admitted to the university.
“What we have to go by is the date that’s in our system that says that you were admitted,” Brown said.
However, some students do not receive their acceptance letter until after the Jan. 15 deadline, even if they applied early, Brown said. In this scenario, if the student knows they are eligible for the Red Raider Guarantee and know they have automatic admission, they should drill the admissions counselor and ask what the holdup is.
Overall, Brown said it is in a student’s best interest to apply early, submit FAFSA early, make sure everything is correct and make sure one meets the Jan. 15 deadline.
“In college, a deadline is a deadline,” she said. “It’s a deadline because there is limited funding.”