by Victor Lopez
ODESSA - The U.T.P.B. Falcon Promise offers almost free tuition and fees. In today's economy, almost free is a big sigh of relief to anyone that's paying for college.
"For next year it looks like it's going to be $2,200 per semester for 12 credit hours," Bob Vasquez, Director of Financial Aid at U.T.P.B., said.
When you do the math, $2,200 per semester adds up, when you're planning on a four year degree. That's where The Falcon Promise steps in to help soften the blow. According to UTPB President David Watts, "It covers 12 hours per semester. It's a good deal and this is on top of other financial aid and scholarships that we have available here at the University."
If you're an undergraduate, a Texas resident and have make less than $60,000 per year, your cost for college could be next to nothing. But, as Vasquez explains, you have to be currently enrolled at U.T.P.B., "First they need to be admitted before we can do anything with financial aid. While they're doing their paper work for admissions, go ahead and do the FASFA and get it out of the way also."
The FASFA will let them know if you qualify for a Pell Grant, which affects The Falcon Promise. "They have to be Pell eligible for this program," Vasquez added.
Nate Barron is set to graduate in May, but still plans to take advantage of the offer, "My wife is about to go back to school as soon as I finish. She's been kind of putting me through, so this is going to work out great for us."
Others, like Freshman Matt Smith from Colorado, aren't so lucky, "I wish they had a similar program for out of state students like myself, just because College is getting to be more expensive, especially in these financial times. I am struggling to meet the tuition that I have to pay."
Dr. Watts encourages students of all ages to take advantage of this program, especially with the job market the way it is today, "People with College degrees are much less likely to be laid off. A college degree is a great investment."