With graduation right around the corner for the class of 2016, there’s a possibility for seniors to claim enough money to cover a post-graduation roadtrip or a nest egg for their “real adult” lives.
A 1997 addition to the Texas statutes on higher education tuition and fees created a mandate for certain tuition rebates to be given to eligible students at public universities. Since then, the University has provided a $1,000 rebate for students who are deemed eligible according to a list of requirements available online. Requirements involve Texas residency and the number of hours taken. Eligible students must apply for the rebate prior to graduating to claim their rebate.
Diane Todd Sprague, director of UT’s Office of Financial Aid, said the rebate program is, in part, an incentive for students to be proactive and stay on track to graduate in four years.
“I think it’s critical for students to be looking at their progress towards a degree, working with their advisors, doing everything they can to get that accomplished,” Sprague said. “[If] students can complete [their degrees] in four years, that just reduces their debt burden and any additional costs.”
Advertising graduate student Courtney Morgan, who completed her undergraduate degree at UT, said she wishes she would’ve known about the rebate program prior to graduating but missed
“I could’ve used $1,000 for many things coming out of my undergrad,” Morgan said. “Your leftover financial aid goes faster than you think, so you should look into all opportunities to get support from the University.”
However, not all students are eligible for the rebate. According to the requirements, students with more than three credit hours beyond their degree’s required minimum do not qualify for a rebate. That leaves those such as Jason Dayvault, a history and accounting senior pursuing his MBA as part of a five-year program, unable to qualify.
“I came into college with 21 dual credit-hours, 50-something AP credit-hours, and have since pursued a double major plus a minor, so I have far more hours on my transcript than what would qualify me for the tuition rebate program,” Dayvault said in an email.
There are a series of exceptions to some of the rebate program’s rules. Further information on tuition rebates, including the list of eligibility requirements, can be found at www.utexas.edu/tuition/rebates.html.