Back in the spring of 2015, Del Mar College was one out of six campuses in the nation to be selected by the U.S. Department of Education to take part in the Pell Grant Experiment through FAFSA. This experimental grant aids students interested in taking the eight-week truck-driving program given on the West Campus. This course will earn students jobs in the truck driving industry for local companies around South Texas or large corporations across the nation.
The federal grant covers up to $4,200 of the course program costs and is open to any students older than 18 who have met standard requirements for Del Mar College. Ineligible students include those on financial aid suspension, as well as male students older than 18 who are not registered for selective service. Not everyone who applies for the grant will be selected because the participants are chosen at random through the random assignment system program once all correct and complete paperwork is turned in.
Nancy Briseno of the Financial Aid Department in the Harvin Center stated that this experimental grant is more for “feedback” for the school and will determine if the grant will remain for the future years based on the number of applications received. If there is a large amount of interest from students seeking financial help the grant will more than likely become recurrent.
Students are urged to apply for this grant as soon as possible because there is limited funding available, meaning it is a first-come, first-served basis. Eligibility will be determined based off of the data they have turned in.
Applicants can begin the process for the next round of classes, which have yet to be announced, by first completing a Del Mar College Transportation Training application. Next a FSA ID PIN must be created to complete the FAFSA application. Once the FAFSA application is filled out, the applicant will bring their tax transcripts from the previous year, as well as their high school diploma, GED, or any other transcripts to the Transportation Training office where they will proceed to fill out more paperwork. If eligible, the application will be entered into the random assignment system and will be notified by the Financial Aid services within three to four weeks if they were approved. Once the award is received, the student must come into the Transportation Office to register. Applicants are responsible for funds that the grant did not cover.
John Rojas, director of the Transportation Training Office, hopes more students will become interested in this career field and will soon apply for the next round of classes. The demand is high for CDL truck drivers in the area given the majority of jobs are industrial in the Coastal Bend and drivers can earn up to $50,000 a year. The student success rate of employment upon completing the course is at 90 percent, which is 4 percent higher than last year. All of the resources for a successful career in the transportation industry are easier to obtain than before.