Before pursuing a degree in Optometry, students must consider a sound financial plan for their educational expenses early in their decision-making process. Financial assistance may or may not meet all of the student’s expenses. Eligible students will be awarded as much financial assistance as possible but not beyond their cost of attendance (budget). All financial aid awards are based on information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) needs analysis form. Students are strongly encouraged to apply on the FAFSA website, in early January each year. Priority application deadline is March 1st. The University of Houston school code is 003652. Financial aid will not be awarded until the student is manually matriculated as an Optometry student.
The University and the College of Optometry provide a variety of financial assistance programs for eligible students who need financial assistance beyond their resources in order to meet their cost of attendance expenses. For your convenience, please contact Scott Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org for financial aid and scholarship questions. All necessary financial aid forms are available online at the UH web site. The financial aid office may be reached at (713) 743-1010.
Many of the financial aid programs are funded either by governmental agencies or sponsoring individuals and organizations and therefore may be changed or eliminated at any time. Financial assistance programs available through the College of Optometry at the present time are listed below. All aid programs are subject to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, the university’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and the College of Optometry Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee.
For more information on scholarships and financial aid, refer to the General Information section of this catalog.
Awards and Scholarships
Students interested in applying for any scholarship should complete a Student Data Sheet which is found online as well as e-mailed to all enrolled Optometry students at UHCO. Upon completing the necessary documentation, their student data sheet will be reviewed by the scholarship committee. Some scholarships will have different requirements, deadlines and application forms. It is up to the student to have all necessary materials submitted on time to the appropriate party for the scholarship and awards which require extra documentation. Current information is also posted online at http://www.opt.uh.edu/students/scholarships.cfm. The UHCO Scholarship Committee will meet as necessary to review all scholarship applications. Scholarship information will also be provided by e-mail from the Scholarship Committee and/or the financial aid advisor.
For a list of scholarships currently available at UHCO, visit http://www.opt.uh.edu/students/scholarships.cfm. Where the award amount varies, award will either be cash, vision care products, plaques or a combination thereof.
Federal Student Loan Programs
Federal Direct Loan Programs
Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan; these loans are for students who (1) if eligible, require additional funds or (2) show no financial need based on information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) needs analysis form, i.e., their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is higher than their financial aid budget. The total current nine month limit is $40,500 for fall and spring semesters combined. Interest rate are tied to the 10-year Treasury Note and may vary. The total amount of Direct loans a student may borrow is $224,000 including undergraduate borrowed amounts. Students are cautioned to use this loan program only when needed as the Federal government does not pay the interest while the student is in school. The student may elect either to: (1) have the interest added (capitalized) to the amount borrowed or (2) make quarterly interest payments while enrolled.
Loan fees for the Direct loans are deducted prior to disbursement to the student. Presently, a 1.07% origination fee is deducted and covers program fee costs. Total Direct Loan debt allowed for graduate or professional students is $224,000, i.e., $65,500 in Subsidized and $158,500 in Unsubsidized Direct Loans. The graduate debt limit includes loans received for undergraduate study.
Students should keep in mind that the nine-month maximum loan eligibility for each grade level is $40,500. Students should borrow only what they need. The only financial assistance typically available in the summer is Direct loans and private loans.
Other loan programs:
State Optometric Association Awards: many state Optometric associations and auxiliaries have loan or grant programs for resident students. To apply, contact you state optometric association.
Graduate Student Fellowships
For graduate (M.S. or Ph.D) students, the College offers students fellowships to help defray the cost of their graduate education. The Graduate Tuition Fellowship covers the cost of in-state tuition for qualified Ph.D. students. Exceptional Ph.D. applicants to our programs are also eligible for a Presidential fellowship for the first two-years of their graduate study or a Houston Endowment Fellowship for three to five years of graduate study.
Graduate Student Assistants
Graduate student (M.S. or Ph.D.) assistants and teaching fellows are graduate students in good standing who are enrolled full-time and hold an appointment that requires fulfilling such duties as classroom and/or laboratory instruction, clinical instruction, grading papers and exams, or research. There are four graduate student appointment categories, encompassing the position of Teaching Fellow, Teaching Assistant, Instructional Assistant and Research Assistant.
Graduate assistants and teaching fellows will normally be limited to a 50 percent appointment, which usually entails service for no more than an average of 20 hours per week, including time spent in preparation, in the classroom and laboratory, in reading papers and examinations, and in any combination of these or other activities as assigned. An increase in percent appointment requires approval of the College Dean and the Dean of the Graduate School. Teaching Fellows (graduate students teaching a course for credit) must have completed a minimum of 18 semester hours in graduate credit in their teaching field, must be in good standing and must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The Teaching Fellow may be listed as the instructor of record.
International and non-resident graduate student assistants are granted a non-resident tuition waiver, which allows them to pay only in-state tuition.