Odessa College is firmly committed to the philosophy of assisting students who do not have the financial resources to pay for higher education but wish to attend college. Of equal importance is the awarding of academic scholarships to recognize students who exhibit superior scholastic abilities.
The Student Financial Aid Office administers four broad program areas: grants, loans, employment and scholarships. Students seeking financial assistance should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.gov each October. The results are used to determine eligibility for state and federal need-based programs. FAFSAs are accepted year around but late applicants may not have funds awarded before classes start. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 overall grade point average and meet satisfactory academic progress standards relating to completion of hours. Financial aid academic requirements differ from those required by the college. For more details, go to the OC Financial Aid website.
Types of Student Financial Assistance
The Federal Pell Grant is the core financial aid program. Family income, cost of education and enrollment status determine the award amount. Funds are disbursed in the week before classes start. If a student is only enrolled in the second 8 week term, funds will be held until a week before those courses begin. Students may not receive Pell from two schools for the same semester.
The Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) is also used for students with financial need who are enrolled in at least six credit hours.
Awarded grant funds are applied to unpaid charges and any unspent funds are refunded to student’s designated personal account or available as a check in the Student Accounts Office two weeks after classes begin or if awarded after classes have began, approximately two weeks after being awarded. Except for Pell, grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. Early application is strongly recommended.
The Federal Direct Loan Program allows students to borrow a long-term Stafford loan directly from the US Department of Education. No credit check is needed and interest rates are usually better than loans from private lending institutions. OC requires borrowers to initiate the application process for Stafford loans. Requirements include a FAFSA, an Odessa College loan application and completion of a promissory note and entrance counseling at studentloans.gov. All college transcripts must be on file and evaluated. Funds are disbursed in two payments per semester: the week before the first 8 week term begins and the week before the second 8 week term begins. Funds for first-time, first-year borrowers are delayed thirty days after the semester starts. Loans and accrued interest are usually to be repaid over a ten year period.
Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans are available to borrowers who are enrolled in at least six credit hours and have financial need according to FAFSA results.
Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans provide aid to borrowers enrolled in at least 6 credit hours who do not qualify for a subsidized Stafford or who qualify for an amount less than the annual Federal Stafford limit.
The PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) program is available to parents of dependent students for school costs not covered by other aid. It is not subsidized, the interest rate is fixed and normal repayment is ten years. Repayment begins sixty days after disbursement and interest may be paid monthly or quarterly. A FAFSA must be completed by the student and the parent must pass a credit check.
Students who do not wish to be burdened with loans may opt to set up a payment plan with Odessa College on WebAdvisor.
Under the United States Department of Education Repayment Policy, a student who receives federal grants and/or loans and stops attending class may have to repay part of the financial aid award.
Prior to withdrawing from school, a student should notify Student Financial Aid. Repayment amounts will vary depending on the amount and type of aid received. For instance, a fulltime student receiving $2,000 in grants and $1,000 in loans, with a cost of $1,000 for tuition, fees and books, and who completely withdraws from school after completing 10% of the semester, would be required to repay $700. A complete withdrawal from school after completing 20% of the semester would require a repayment of $400. For clarifications or questions about repayment obligations, please contact Student Financial Aid.
The College Work-Study Programs provide employment opportunities to students who show financial need with a FAFSA and are enrolled in at least six hours. Students work in a wide variety of jobs on campus and are paid at least the prevailing minimum wage. Although need determines the amount of total allowable earnings, students generally do not work more than twenty hours per week and arrange their working hours to not conflict with classes. Students only receive the funds that they earn. Application for the program is made by expressing an interest in receiving Work-Study funds on the FAFSA.
Non-Work-Study Jobs are available in some departments to students enrolled in at least six hours. These part-time jobs do not require a FAFSA and the employing department has flexibility in meeting employment needs.
Students seeking Work-Study or Non-Work-Study jobs can go to the Student Employment page on the OC website for a listing of job openings.
Odessa College annually awards more than $500,000 in academic scholarships to recognize scholastic merit. Some scholarships are designated for residents of Ector County and fourteen other West Texas counties: Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Culberson, Gaines, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Winkler and Ward. These scholarships are awarded based on varying levels of academic achievement.
Students must apply each semester for academic scholarships awarded by OC Student Financial Aid for the upcoming school year. The fall deadline is July 15th and the spring deadline is December 1st each year. These include the Odessa College Academic, Hext Family Foundation, Property Deposit, Davidson, Slaton-Bassett, Joann Pickering Douglass and Ethel Russell scholarships. Applications are accepted year around but forms received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list. Detailed information about each scholarship is available.
Scholarships are offered each year through the OC art and music departments and are awarded based on participation, merit and ability. Other OC departments that award scholarships are: nursing, occupational safety and health technology, photography, instrumentation and social sciences. Contact the chairperson of the appropriate department for scholarship requirements.
The Odessa College Foundation also provides students with financial assistance. Students who are not eligible for federal or state aid may apply for a number of scholarships such as: Bassett, Chevron, ECISD Education Foundation, Energy Industrial, Half-Century, H.L. Mangrum, or Student Success Scholarship. Eligibility requirements are listed on the Foundation Scholarship Application on the Odessa College website.
In addition to the scholarships described above, others are available from off-campus individuals and organizations. Odessa College does not control nor make selections for these scholarships but application information is available in Student Financial Aid.
Tuition Tax Credits
Taxpayers may be eligible to claim the American Opportunity Credit against their federal income taxes. The credit may be claimed for the qualified tuition and related expenses of each student in the taxpayer’s family who is enrolled at least halftime in college. Taxpayers may claim up to $2500 per eligible student.
The Lifetime Learning Credit may also be claimed against federal income taxes. Up to $2000 may be claimed for out-of- pocket expenses for qualified tuition and related expenses for all of the students in the family. The 1098T tax form may be accessed from the Wrangler Portal. Contact a tax advisor for details about claiming tuition tax credits.
Veterans interested in taking advantage of their benefits to pursue or further their education are encouraged to contact the veteran’s office at Odessa College. As with the other programs, students are strongly encouraged to inquire into the possible benefits of the Department of Veterans Affairs as far in advance of the semester of planned attendance as possible. This procedure facilitates the coordination of educational claims for benefits between OC and the regional VA office and avoids delays that could occur in the award cycle. The Veteran’s Office is a component of the OC Pathways Advising Center located in Room 202B of the Saulsbury Campus Center. Veteran students are responsible for following all regulations of the VA and for notifying both the regional VA office in Muskogee and the OC Veteran’s Office of any change in enrollment that may affect their educational benefits. Students must see the Veteran Coordinator prior to registration or add/drop to obtain permission.