University of Houston uses new tool to improve state financial aid application process

Each year more than a thousand University of Houston students who are not eligible for federal financial aid instead apply for state and university assistance through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA).  Filing for TASFA has been a cumbersome process for both the student and the university. A new tool, the Regent Access “eTASFA,” will help expedite financial aid awards for these students and improve university efficiency in processing the applications.

Unlike the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), applying for TASFA requires the student to download, print, complete and submit an eight-page paper application, which includes important information about family income and sensitive documents such as tax returns. The UH Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid then processes the application to determine how much state aid the student is eligible to receive. It is a time-consuming process that creates barriers for these students—undocumented students and applicants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) federal policy.

State law, which requires universities to process all applications, provides latitude to implement more efficient processes.

The Regent Access “eTASFA” automates and streamlines the process with an experience similar to that of the FAFSA.  By offering a robust online application, the University of Houston will minimize the time and resources required to process state financial aid applications for these students, putting them one step closer to attaining higher education degrees.

“Regent Education is proud to provide a financial aid automation solution that eases the application and awarding processes for both University of Houston students and the institution.  We are excited about the alignment of our mission – to empower aspiring students and the institutions who serve them – with the University of Houston’s vision,” said Jim Hermens, CEO of Regent Education.

Certain undocumented immigrants are eligible to pay in-state tuition at Texas public colleges and universities. In 2001, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1528, which codifies the eligibility of these students to apply for state grants through TASFA.

“We strive to make the TASFA process as straightforward as possible, but it still creates challenges for the students and university,” said Briget Jans, Executive Director of Student Financial Aid at UH, who notes that UH follows guidelines outlined by the state in processing the applications. “Our mission is to offer a nationally-competitive education to qualified students. This new tool helps us do that.”

The University of Houston will be implementing the electronic TASFA for the 2019-2020 aid year.