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Marketing Financial Aid to Graduate Students


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Conference presentation from the Texas Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (TxGAP) 2012 Professional Development Conference.

Lisa Palacios
Director of Graduate Recruitment
University of Texas at San Antonio

The research on graduate recruiting and retention points to financial aid as the number component to successful degree completion, especially during the current economic downturn. With this said- the Graduate School partnered with our Financial Aid department to offer a series of events and services to address this need.

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Marketing Financial Aid to Graduate Students

  1. 1. Presented by UTSA-The Graduate School Lisa Palacios, M.A. Director of Graduate Recruitment
  2. 2.  Conducted research to determine issues that affect graduate recruitment & retention Funding issues cited as number 1 reason across the literature for success or failure in a graduate program. Conducted Graduate Student Satisfaction Survey and UTSA Financial Aid services was a lower scored item Financial Aid Outreach Specialist was hired to help with recruitment and retention of all students
  3. 3.  Average age is 32 Hispanic Serving Institution- 35% of graduate students are Hispanic 45% are from underrepresented student groups Most graduate students have families/dependents Most are part-time (59%)
  4. 4.  Most are working professionals Most have financial need Recently we have seen an upturn of those who have lost jobs or been demoted Over 3700 enrolled masters students Over 700 enrolled doctoral students
  5. 5.  We partnered with Enrollment Services & Financial Aid to work with the Financial Aid Outreach Specialist Conducted series of workshops for prospective and current graduate students on financial aid and money management geared specifically towards a graduate student/prospective student audience Financial Aid Outreach Specialist travels with us to off-campus events including graduate fairs, business/industry, community events, and a series of information sessions in South Texas
  6. 6.  Created a series of email, website, print and phone campaigns to market financial aid opportunities One of a few public institutions in Texas that offers grant funding (institutional funds-i.e. Free Money!). Our VP over Financial Aid sets aside this money to encourage enrollment growth at the graduate level as part of Tier One initiative and Strategic Plan.
  7. 7.  The University of Texas at San Antonio would like to start you on your path to graduate school.  One of the essential parts of the planning process is for you to think about how you are going to fund your graduate education.  There are several options you can choose from at UTSA: 1). Fellowships and scholarships:  Most graduate programs do offer fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis.  Please touch base with a departmental contact for more options at Academic Programs. 2). Grants (yes free money!) for graduate students which are both need and non-need based. This is determined on the FAFSA form, so please submit by the beginning of January for Fall semester. 3)  Competitive stipends for doctoral programs:  Please touch base with department contact for more information. 4)  UTSA and outside agency fellowships and scholarships:   The Scholarship Office currently houses a list of fellowships and scholarships that are available for graduate students.  5)   Research and teaching assistantships:  Please touch base with a department contact for more information. 6).  Student loans:  You can fill out a FAFSA form to receive loans to fund your graduate education.  There is a March 15th priority deadline for Fall semester.  7).  If you are currently working, check with your human resources office for tuition reimbursement options and tuition payment plans. For more information on any of these opportunities or for other options, please go to   We would like you to keep in mind that the earlier you explore options for funding and apply to graduate school the more likely you are to receive financial assistance.  The deadline for many scholarships/assistantships/loans is March 1 for the Fall semester.  Thank you for considering The University of Texas at San Antonio for your graduate education. We look forward to receiving your application to the program.
  8. 8.  Financial Aid Workshops- Spring 2011 Hosted by UTSA The Graduate School UTSA understands that a primary concern for prospective graduate students is the cost of a Masters or Doctoral program.  To fully understand all aspects and options for funding graduate school, UTSA invites you to attend the following two workshops:    Understanding UTSA Financial Aid for Graduate Students Many students find financial stress to be a major deterrent in seeking a Graduate degree or continuing in Graduate School. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services will provide current and prospective Graduate students with the resources necessary to maximize their financial aid opportunities. Upon completion of this workshop, students will be familiar with how to apply for financial aid utilizing the FAFSA, the awarding process, how to search for Scholarships, Fellowships, and Assistantships, and how to properly borrow loans responsibly while maintaining a healthy and balanced budget. Saturday, January 15 10:00 am – 11:30 am Main Campus, BSE 2.102 Saturday, February 19 10:00 am—11:30 am Downtown Campus, FS 1.402 **To register for either of these workshops, please visit and click on the date of the event twice.  Contact 210.458.4111 with any questions or email
  9. 9. Financing Your Future Financial Aid for Graduate Students Grants: Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG UTSA Need-Based Grant U UTSA Non-Need Based Scholarships: General Scholarships College / Departmental Scholarships M Miscellaneous Nationwide Scholarships: General Nationwide Scholarships and Search Engines Work-Study: F Federal State Military Students: Enrollment Services: Hazlewood Act Registrars Office: Veterans Office
  10. 10.  Fellowships and Sti pends: Apply with college or department Presidential Dissertation Fellowship State Policy Fellowship Program Loans: Perkins Loans Stafford Loans Graduate PLUS Loans Alternative Assistantships: Teaching Assistantships Research Assistantships Graduate Research Assistantships Apply with college or department Important Deadlines February 15: Deadline to submit UTSA General Scholarship Application March 15: (Updated due to success of program) Priority deadline to submit FAFSA July 1: Deadline to complete and submit ALL financial aid paperwork
  11. 11.  UTSA is the only Graduate School that  Record and provide brings a financial aid Powerpoint slides for each outreach specialist with us session that is conducted to events for later viewing- Extremely important information for a current/  Our Financial Aid potential graduate student Specialist partnered with in these economic times us on over 60 events including information sessions, travel to South Texas, and orientation
  12. 12. Graduate Students: Submitted FAFSA by March 31 Priority Deadline (Jan 1 -Mar 31) AYR # Students % Increase Grants Awarded % Increase Award Range2007-0 (No formalized Outreach8 463 $670,615 $250 - $7,317 program)2008-0 (Outreach Impact: 69 481 4% $876,210 31% $385 - $4,500 months)2009-1 (Outreach Impact:0 682 42% $1,216,681 39% $250 - $3,000 18 months)
  13. 13. Graduate Students: Total Grant Funded Recipients (fall/spring/summer) # % Grants % AYR Students Increase Awarded Increase2007-08 663 $1,025,7762008-09 756 14% $1,142,239 11.40%2009-10 2,435 222% $1,216,681 6.5%
  14. 14. Graduate Student Satisfaction Survey Spring 2008 The Financial Aid Services provided: Very Satisfied Somewhat Somewhat Dissatisfie Very satisfied Satisfied dissatisfie d Dissatisfie 13.1% 22.4% 18.9% d 9.6% 4.2% d 9.0% Graduate Student Satisfaction Survey Spring 2012 Very Satisfied Somewhat Somewhat Dissatisfie Very satisfied satisfied dissatisfie d Dissatisfie 19.3% 31.3% 14.1% d 4.8% 3.3% d 3%
  15. 15.  Enrollment Numbers for Fall 2007 To Fall 2011 Semester Credit Hour Comparison 11-Sep-07 10-Sep-11 % Change All Campuses Fall 2007 Fall 2011 % DIFF Graduate 24,863 32,930 33% FALL 2007 TO FALL 2011 BY LEVEL BY HEADCOUNT 5 Year Trend CLASSIFICATIO N Fall Fall Differenc %Diff Master’s 2007 3049 2011 3736 e 687 23% Doctoral 450 716 266 59% Total 3499 4452 953 27%
  16. 16.  Enrollment Numbers for Spring 2011 versus Spring 2012* Semester Credit Hour Comparison 1-Feb-11 1-Feb-12 % Change All Campuses Spring 2011 Spring 2012 Graduate 28,816 30,224 5% SPRING 2011 VS SPRING 2012 BY LEVEL BY HEADCOUNT Feb 1, 2012 CLASSIFICATIO 1-Feb-11 11-1-Feb-12 Difference % Difference N Master’s 3503 3587 84 2.40% Doctoral 633 679 46 7.00% Total 4136 4266 130 3.00%
  17. 17.  Feel free to contact me with any questions in regards to our program Please contact me at: Lisa Palacios Director of Graduate Recruitment (210) 458-6406 For more information: Website: