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Knowledge Base

The NMSU Financial Aid Knowledge Base currently addresses three important areas:
The Teach Grant

Scholarships

Workstudy

Teach Grant Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I change majors?
What happens if my GPA drops below a 3.25?
Can I change my mind?
What happens if my major is taken off the “list”?
What happens if I get moved to another school which doesn’t meet the criteria?
When would I have to start making payments if it becomes a loan?
Can the grant be denied if I’m close to my lifetime max on loans?
How often do I have to apply/reapply?
Can I get the grant for just one year? How about one semester?
What happens if I get the grant and then go to grad school?
I got the grant as an undergraduate student and started to teach. Now I want my masters degree. Can I get the TEACH grant as a grad student now? What happens to the grants I got as an undergraduate student?
I’m doing my student teaching right now in a low income school in a high need field. Does that count towards my time in my agreement to serve?
If I complete a Bachelor and a Masters degree, do I have to do 8 years of service?

What happens if I change majors?
If you change majors to an ineligible TEACH program, then you will not be able to continue to receive the grant; and, if you graduate and do not pursue the teaching requirements, then the grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

What happens if my GPA drops below a 3.25?
If you qualify for this grant by GPA, and it drops below a 3.25, then you are ineligible for the grant until your GPA returns to the 3.25.

Can I change my mind?
Like all funds, we can send back the money up to 14 days after it disburses. After that, you are responsible for communicating with the government your plans and they will work with you on repayment of funds.

What happens if my major is taken off the “list”?
If this happens while you are in school, then you may need to change your major; if, however, this happens after you had already begun teaching, then you may continue and it will still count toward your years of service.

What happens if I get moved to another school which doesn’t meet the criteria?
If this happens, then you will need to either change subjects or request a different school. If the school you begin in loses its Title I (low-income) standing, you are still eligible to continue working there and will continue to count toward your years of service.

When would I have to start making payments if it becomes a loan?
Like all Stafford Loans, repayment would start 6 months after you graduate or fall below half time.

Can the grant be denied if I’m close to my lifetime max on loans?
No, this grant is not based on need and does not factor into your lifetime limit on loans.

How often do I have to apply/reapply?
Each year you will need to indicate on your FAFSA that you are interested in teaching and complete the Agreement to Serve Application with the Federal Government.

Can I get the grant for just one year? How about one semester?
This grant is $4000 per year and is pro-rated for less than full time and/or one semester.

What happens if I get the grant and then go to grad school?
This grant will stay a grant and you will be expected to fulfill your teaching obligation once you complete graduate school.

I got the grant as an undergraduate student and started to teach. Now I want my masters degree. Can I get the TEACH grant as a grad student now? What happens to the grants I got as an undergraduate student?
The TEACH Grant would be the only federal grant you would be eligible for as a graduate student and the maximum is $4000 for two years as a graduate student. While you are a graduate student your service obligation for the grants you received as an undergraduate will be suspended. However, once you get your masters degree you will have to teach for another four years regardless of how many years you taught before getting your masters degree. These four years of teaching will count towards your service obligation for the grants you received both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student (provided that you teach full time in a high-need field at a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families) and they must be completed within eight years of getting your masters degree.

I’m doing my student teaching right now in a low income school in a high need field. Does that count towards my time in my agreement to serve?
No, student teaching does not count toward the four years you are required to teach in order to fulfill your agreement with the federal government.

If I complete a Bachelor and a Masters degree, do I have to do 8 years of service?
No, if you continue from one right into the other, then it is 4 years total.

Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions

How do scholarships differ from financial aid?
What types of scholarships are distributed at New Mexico State University?
Where can I look for scholarships?
How do I apply for New Mexico State University scholarships?
What is Scholar Dollar?
What are some tips on applying for scholarships?
How are scholarships paid?
If I receive an outside scholarship check payable to me, what am I suppose to do with the check?
How do scholarships work in regard to taxes?
What makes a good essay?
How do I maintain my scholarship?
If you have a scholarship or other related financial resources; what impact does this have on my eligibility for other financial aid?
Where do I mail my scholarship check?
Can I accept only grants and scholarships and decline all the loan and work programs offered by financial aid?

How do scholarships differ from financial aid?
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, talent, financial need, or a combination of the two. Financial need is rarely the primary factor considered, but it is often used to make a decision among equally qualified finalists. Many scholarships have additional requirements as well. For example, you may have to be resident of a particular state, be involved in extracurricular activities, have a special talent, or be pursuing a specific major. Scholarships are generally classified as gifts and rarely have to be repaid.

What types of scholarships are distributed at New Mexico State University?
The Financial Aid Office at NMSU distributes about $12 million of scholarship aid each year. These scholarships are from both institutional and private sources.

Institutional Scholarships:
Institutional scholarships are provided to New Mexico State University by gifts from corporations, foundations and individual donors. The donors specify the award criteria but the selection of recipients is made by the appropriate college, school, or department within NMSU. Scholarships which are created through donations vary widely in their eligibility criteria. Information about New Mexico State University incoming freshmen and transfer students scholarships is available at the Financial Aid and Scholarship Service’s website. Graduate students should contact their respective academic departments for fellowship and grant opportunities.

Private Scholarships:
Private Scholarships are scholarships that are provided by organizations outside of the University such as Elks, Rotary, your local high school, national organizations, etc. You apply directly to the organization sponsoring the scholarship. The organization then selects the recipient(s) and sends the funds to the University to apply to your bill.

Where can I look for scholarships?
Please visit our scholarships page.

How do I apply for New Mexico State University scholarships?

Log-in to the Scholar Dollar$ application with your NMSU User ID and password (create a user name through myNMSU) and answer all the questions thoroughly.

What is Scholar Dollar?
A single application that will collect information and allow you to be considered for all scholarships at NMSU for which you may be eligible; each student’s application will be unique to their own academic record, including criteria such as campus, college, major, GPA, etc.

What are some tips on applying for scholarships?

  • KNOW DEADLINES!
  • Complete the Scholar Dollar$ application as completely as you can.
  • When applying for private scholarships, fellowships, grants and other financial resources, READ THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS scholarships FIRST. Save yourself time and energy by not applying for scholarships with qualifications you don’t match.
  • If you meet the basic requirements for an award, APPLY!
  • Apply to as many sources as possible.
  • Be complete and concise, but also creative.
  • Apply as far in advance as possible.
  • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors; have someone else read and proofread your application before you submit the application.
  • Complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Always apply for need-based financial aid first.
  • Apply annually.
  • Get a large calendar and plot the deadlines of applications; look at it every day.
  • Set up a scholarship file which has copies or your letters, transcripts, and personal statements to save time.
  • NEVER become discouraged!
  • Don’t take rejection personally. The days of “If you work hard and get good grades you will automatically get scholarships” are gone. Universities would love to award EVERY deserving student, but limited scholarship dollars make this impossible.
  • Look at applying for scholarships as a PART-TIME JOB. If you spend ten (10) hours applying for scholarships and receive a $1,000 scholarship…you made $100 PER HOUR!

How are scholarship paid?
Most scholarships, both institutional and private, are credited to your University bill each semester. Some may be sent directly to you, but this is rare. The University must confirm that you have been accepted and have enrolled full time in courses before payment will be made. If you know that you will be enrolled less than full time, you will need to have your donor or department contact the scholarship office (in Financial Aid and Scholarship Services) to approve payment of your scholarship(s). If your scholarship arrives after your bill is already paid for the semester, or if the scholarship is more than your bill, a refund may be issued to you. It is recommended that you check your bill on myNMSU account to confirm that your credit is posted. If you have a refund or have signed up for direct deposit you can expect your refund in approximately three to five days after the scholarship is received.

Scholarships will not credit to your bill until you are enrolled full time (15 NMSU-Las Cruces campus valid hours for President’s Associates Excellence, High Achiever Leadership or Honors Excel or 12 NMSU hours or more for all other scholarships). Wait listed, correspondence, and classes for no credit do not count toward enrollment. If you receive the scholarship in cash, you are obliged to notify us. If you are receiving any other type of financial aid, we may be required under Federal regulations to adjust your financial aid package. However, please note that we do not reduce the total amount of aid you are eligible to receive; we only adjust the type of aid. First, we will reduce any loans you may have been offered.

If I receive an outside scholarship check payable to me, what am I suppose to do with the check?
Make it payable to the University, but you may cash the check to apply to your Student Account. You are required, however, to report any outside scholarship awards you are or will be receiving, as they are considered to be a resource in your financial aid award. Scholarship funds are divided and half is applied to the fall term and half to the spring term, unless otherwise specified by the scholarship donor.

How do scholarships work in regard to taxes?

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 made changes to the Internal Revenue Code that directly affects scholarship awards. Scholarships received that exceed your total cost of tuition and required fees, books, and educationally related supplies and equipment are subject to federal income tax. Other costs such as room and board, transportation, and personal expenses are not allowed. You are encouraged to keep your receipts and copies of University bills. Questions regarding taxation of scholarships should be addressed to the local IRS office, where you can obtain IRS Publication 970.

What makes a good essay?

  • Be well-typed and grammatically correct.
  • Be approximately one page in length.
  • Tell WHY you are SPECIAL; WHY you got involved in particular club or volunteer projects; why you have selected your major.
  • Give the scholarship committee INSIGHT into your personality, interests, motivations, goals, etc.
  • Tell of significant people or events in your life that have helped shape your interests, attitudes, goals, etc.
  • Give an explanation of special circumstances you feel would be important for the scholarship committee to know when reviewing your application.
  • Show that you have put as much effort into writing the essay as you would expect the scholarship committee to put into reviewing your application.

How to I maintain my scholarship?
Read your award letter carefully. For renewal criteria for the major state scholarships, President’s Associates Excellence Scholarship, High Achiever Leadership, Honors Excel, Regents Success, Transfer Achievement, Out-of-State Competitive or NM Scholars please visit the Scholarship Renewal website. You might have to contact the donor, college scholarship coordinator or representative to verify the scholarship criteria. Make sure you know.

If you have a scholarship or other related financial resources; what impact does this have on my eligibility for other financial aid?
If you receive a scholarship or other related financial resources, this may impact your financial aid award since the combination of all financial aid and scholarships cannot exceed your total budget. First, we will reduce loans that are offered to you, then other aid. We will email you an award notification to verify the changes. If you know that you will be receiving an additional resource, including all scholarships, please contact our office as soon as possible to ensure timely disbursement of funds to your University bill.

Where do I mail my scholarship check?
Scholarship checks should be mailed to:

New Mexico State University
Financial Aid and Scholarship Services
MSC 5100, P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003

Can I accept only grants and scholarship and decline all the loan and work programs offered by financial aid?
Yes, you may accept or decline each award offered independently.

Workstudy Frequently Asked Questions

I just completed my FAFSA and I marked workstudy, but I do not see my workstudy award.
I’ve had the same workstudy job for the last 2 years, why I didn’t get workstudy this year?
I just completed my financial aid file and I have a workstudy job, can I get workstudy?
I declined my workstudy award but I changed my mind, can I get it back?
I was told to come to the Financial Aid Office to find and apply for workstudy jobs.
I was told to come to the Financial Aid Office to process my hiring paperwork.
I will be on International Student Exchange during the fall semester and I have workstudy, can I keep my spring award?
Are second bachelor’s degree seeking or graduate students eligible for workstudy?
I want to hire a student, but I do not know how to enter the information on the Career Services website.
The amount indicated in the award letter (usually $4000) is the 70% granted to the student, do I need to add my department’s 30% to calculate the students expected earnings-per-pay-period?

I just completed my FAFSA and I marked workstudy, but I do not see my workstudy award.
Workstudy funds are limited and awarded on a first-come/first-serve basis. Usually all workstudy funds for the upcoming Aid Year are awarded in March. After that date, a waiting list is opened in mid-July for Fall and in early-December for Spring. A student may be added to the waiting list at these times, to be considered for funding when it becomes available. Eligible students receive an email (early January for Spring and early August for Fall) which indicates how to accept their award and how to search/apply for jobs.

I’ve had the same workstudy job for the last 2 years, why I didn’t get workstudy this year?
Having a secure position in a department does not guarantee workstudy funds. The student must re-apply every year and complete their FAFSA by the March 1 priority deadline to be considered for funding. Funding cannot be guaranteed for any student.

I just completed my financial aid file and I have a workstudy job, can I get workstudy?
Only if funds are available. If the waiting list is open, a student may be added to it, in consideration for funding.

I declined my workstudy award, but I changed my mind, can I get it back?
A declined workstudy award will still display on the student’s myNMSU award list as declined, regardless of whether or not there are actual funds available. If funding is available the award is able to be re-posted if the student so requests, however, the student must contact the Financial Aid Office directly to inquire about funding availability.

I was told to come to the Financial Aid Office to find and apply for workstudy jobs.
All workstudy positions are posted on the Career Services website. The student may visit Career Services to search and apply for workstudy positions, or if the student needs help setting up their account or uploading documents, i.e. resume and work-study award letter. The Financial Aid Office only has limited access to the Career Services system.

I was told to come to the Financial Aid Office to process my hiring paperwork.
If the student is working for an off-campus agency, the student may meet with a workstudy coordinator in the Financial Aid Office to complete any necessary paperwork, otherwise the student needs to contact their on-campus employer.

I will be on International Student Exchange during the Fall semester and I have workstudy, can I keep my Spring award?
Yes. The student must contact their financial aid advisor to request the adjustment.

Are second bachelor’s degree seeking or graduate students eligible for workstudy?
Yes.

I want to hire a student, but I do not know how to enter the information on Career Services.
The Career Services system known as AggieCAREER Manager is only a “posting” system. Departments must submit an e-hire though Banner HR using the position indicated in the student’s award letter. Please contact Human Resources or Career Services for more information.

The amount indicated in the award letter (usually $4000) is the 70% granted to the student, do I need to add my department’s 30% to calculate the students expected earnings/pay period?
No. The amount in the award letter is the total 100% allocated to the student. The Financial Aid Office is responsible for 70% ($2800) of the award, while the hiring department is responsible for the other 30% ($1200) of the award. The hiring department is also responsible for any overages, paid 100% by said department. Crimson Scholars’ workstudy, however, is paid on a 50% split.