$500 emergency loan provides aid to students

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Photo Credit: Andrew Choi | Daily Texan Staff

When her source of income suddenly vanished her junior year, alumna Raegan Holland, who graduated in 2017, feared she would soon lose her apartment. After talking with a friend, Holland discovered the emergency loan that would be her saving grace.

The $500 emergency cash loan is one Holland used twice during her college career in order to cover costs for a month without taking out other high interest loans outside of UT.

“Without the emergency loan, I would not have the credit score I have now, and it would have been really hard and stressful for me,” Holland said.

Business alumnus Hodges Mitchell II, who graduated in 2001, director of accounting said the loan has a 4% annual percentage interest rate. The $500, along with the $1.70 worth of interest, must be repaid after 30 days.

Mitchell said he used the loan several times while at UT, and the loan’s availability is incredibly important for students.

“Students get aid and grants from different places on campus, but sometimes they need access to money for personal things,” Mitchell said. “There is nothing worse than being a college student, look in your pockets and you don’t have anything.”

While worrying about classes, Holland said unexpected emergencies can often throw students into a state of panic, but the loan allows them some time to figure things out while prioritizing their education.

Trina Manor, associate director for Office of Financial Aid, said the loan is provided by University funding and is outside of loans provided by financial aid.

“The interest rate for the subsidized loans for undergraduate students is 5.05% and the unsubsidized loans are 6.6%,” Manor said.

Unlike FAFSA, Holland said the loan doesn’t require proof of parental income in order to be granted. Additional positives include the speedy approval process and the ability to reapply for the loan after repaying it.

“There’s no questions asked,” Holland said. “You go and apply for it, and within a couple of days, maybe even the next day, the money is in your account.”

Despite the loan’s long history, Holland, who found out about the loan through a friend, said the difficult part is finding the information.

“I remember going through my UT portal and clicking on every single link I could and going back in circles,” Holland said.

By removing the barrier to entry through making the loan more public, Holland said more students could utilize the loan.

“If you don’t need it, you don’t have a reason to look for it,” Holland said. “It’s not hard to find if you know what to search for, but it’s hard to find if you’re desperately grasping for something, which most of us are more in a situation like that.”

Mitchell said the loan is advertised on the financial aid and student accounts receivable websites.

Despite this, Holland said financial knowledge, especially for students newly away from home, can be scarce and asking questions can be intimidating.

“A lot of us tend to not question the way that the financial aid universe works and say ‘OK, this is what I get,’” Holland said. “People don’t ask about what else is out there, but I don’t think we should necessarily have to ask.”