Frequently Asked Questions
West Texas A&M University commits 100% of its available resources to cover fall and spring in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate Texas residents who enter the institution in fall 2008 or later and have an annual family income of $40,000—the median income level for our region—or less. This commitment is known as the “Buff Promise.”
The Buff Promise is designed to reassure academically talented students from low- and middle-income families in Texas who may not feel that a university education is possible. Buff Promise will expand upon an already robust aid program that awards more than $36 million in assistance. Among the important qualifications: New students need to submit all required financial aid, scholarship and admission documentation by April 15 each year (continuing students must submit the scholarship application by Feb. 1 each year.)
Students who do not meet economic qualifications for the Buff Promise may instead qualify for other grant and scholarship programs at WTAMU that are based on academic performance; the University has scholarship guarantees based on graduating high school class rank and standardized test scores. Contact the Scholarship Services Office for more details.
1. What is the Buff Promise?
West Texas A&M University believes that students from all economic backgrounds in Texas should have the opportunity to attend a four-year university. Finances should not be a barrier to getting an education. The Buff Promise program guarantees the 100% of its available resources to cover the cost of tuition and fees for undergraduate residents of the state of Texas who otherwise could not afford to attend West Texas A&M University.
2. Who qualifies for the Buff Promise?
To be eligible for Buff Promise, students must:
- Be a Texas resident.
- Be an undergraduate student starting enrollment at WTAMU in fall 2008 or later.
- Submit all required financial aid, scholarship and admission documentation by April 15 each year. (Continuing students must submit the scholarship application by Feb. 1 each year.)
- Meet all WTAMU admission requirements.
- Meet eligibility requirements for a Federal Pell Grant.
- Complete full-time course load (15 credit hours minimum per semester, 30 credit hours minimum per year) and maintain satisfactory academic progress while at the University.
- Have a family income of $40,000 or less. In some cases, family size will increase this amount.
3. Are there any award conditions for student athletes?
Yes. In accordance with NCAA Bylaws, current and prospective student-athletes will be awarded on an individual basis. In some cases, certain forms of financial assistance may not be accepted or awarded.
4. When does the Buff Promise begin?
The first awards began fall semester 2008.
5. What about new students who begin enrollment in the summer?
Students who meet all other requirements and begin enrollment in the summer prior to the fall semester will be eligible to participate in the Buff Promise program.
6. Is the Buff Promise available to all incoming undergraduate students, both freshman and transfer students?
7. What does the Buff Promise cover?
The Buff Promise covers tuition and fees, about $6,700 per year. Individual course fees, equipment fees, and lab fees are not part of the Buff Promise, nor are other living expenses (meal plan, housing, etc.). However, there are additional grant and scholarship funds available to help with the other costs of education.
8. What resources will West Texas A&M University use to cover tuition and fee expenses for Buff Promise students?
Tuition will be covered by a combination of federal, state and/or institutional grant sources and scholarships, including those provided by private donations raised through the WTAMU Foundation. In some limited instances a need-based loan of up to $2,000 per year will supplement the award package. As long as the student continues to qualify, aid will cover up to eight semesters (the approximate equivalent of four years of full-time coursework, up to 18 credit hours a semester).
9. How do I apply?
New students meeting eligibility requirements (Frequently Asked Question #2) are automatically considered for participation in the Buff Promise. To be considered it is important that new students complete three applications no later than April 15:
- The WTAMU Application for Admission.
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). List West Texas A&M University (federal code #003665) as one of the colleges or universities that you wish to receive the results of your FAFSA. More information about the FAFSA is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid.
- The University Scholarship Application.
10. What are the requirements for renewal?
To remain eligible for the Buff Promise, students must:
- Apply for financial aid and scholarships by the eligibility filing dates each year. Proof of income (tax returns, W-2 statements) may be required.
- Make satisfactory academic progress, including full-time course load enrollment (15 credit hours minimum per semester, 30 credit hours minimum per year.)
- Continue to meet all other eligibility requirements as outlined in Frequently Asked Question #2.
11. Can I still get financial aid if I don’t qualify for the Buff Promise?
Each year, West Texas A&M University awards more than $36 million in aid to about 65% of our undergraduates. If you don’t qualify for the Buff Promise, we still have grant, scholarship, work-study and loan funds that you may be offered to help cover your costs.
12. I qualify for the Buff Promise. Can I receive more assistance to help with the rest of my expenses?
Most of the students who will be served by the Buff Promise program will be offered grants, scholarships and/or loans beyond the cost of tuition and fees. Your financial aid award letter and/or scholarship letter will list any additional assistance you are eligible to receive. Most students at WTAMU receive awards from a combination of aid programs, with loans and work study often offered in addition to grants and scholarship funds.
13. I receive scholarships not awarded by the university. Am I still eligible for the Buff Promise?
Funds awarded for the Buff Promise will only cover up to the calculated financial need for tuition and fees, and may be reduced if the student receives private scholarships or other privately funded resources. The calculation of financial need is based on state and federal formulas, as well as institutional guidelines.
14. How affordable is West Texas A&M University now?
West Texas A&M University is one of the most affordable among four-year residential institutions in the state. It is 10% below the university cost average to attend (tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, personal expense, room and board), which amounts to a difference of $2,219 per year. Source: www.collegefortexans.com
15. I plan to attend the University as a part-time student. Do I qualify for the Buff Promise?
No. Only full-time students qualify for this program. However, depending on how much Pell Grant or State Need Grant you are eligible to receive, your pro-rated award for part-time attendance may be enough to cover the cost of tuition.
16. Does the Buff Promise cover tuition for summer enrollment, too?
No. Summer enrollment is funded differently and is not covered under the Buff Promise. Although there is no guarantee, students may still receive enough grant funds in the summer to cover tuition. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to find out more information.
17. Can I still receive the Buff Promise if I’m not a U.S. citizen?
To be eligible for the Buff Promise, students must meet all citizenship requirements of the federal and state aid programs. In general, this means status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Students must also be a resident of the state of Texas.
18. I’m participating in the ACE Scholarship Program (Achievement through Commitment to Education)—does participation in Buff Promise affect my ACE benefits?
The ACE Scholarship Program guarantees students from Palo Duro and Caprock High Schools with access to higher education through encouragement, support, and many forms of assistance, including scholarship resources. The benefits of participation in ACE are numerous. West Texas A&M University is a partner with the ACE Scholarship Program and has agreed that those program funds will be utilized after other forms of institutional aid (such as federal grants and WTAMU scholarships) are exhausted.
Students participating in the ACE Scholarship Program should maintain eligibility in order to receive all of the various benefits provided by the program. And, ACE students who no longer qualify for Buff Promise due to changes in their financial situation will be able to receive ACE benefits if they remain in the ACE Scholarship Program.
18. Why doesn't Buff Promise apply to students already enrolled at West Texas A&M University?
The resources that make up Buff Promise (the federal, state and institutional grant sources and scholarships, including those provided by private donations raised through the WTAMU Foundation) are all available to current students. Most current students who meet the remaining criteria for Buff Promise will receive the same support as students entering fall 2008 or later.
The one difference is that the Buff Promise “guarantee" formally applies to undergraduate students entering fall 2008 or later. The guarantee simply begins when the program begins, although the University remains committed to helping all students who demonstrate need.
Furthermore, no resources for continuing students will be redirected for new students; the scholarship and state grant resource amounts for continuing undergraduate students have actually increased each year since the Buff Promise program began.