Financial Assistance and Tuition

As with all health professions, an optometry career offers promising rewards both in terms of growth and satisfaction, and future earning power. It's important to begin your optometry school application processes with a plan for managing education costs and debt, and for setting goals and expectations for future earnings. Our team can help.

Financial Assistance

There are a number of options available to assist UIWRSO students with financing their education. The majority of professional school students receive financial aid. Student loans, student employment, institutional scholarships and outside scholarships are offered to help students cover their educational costs.

For financial aid consideration, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Professional Students are considered independent for filing the FAFSA and need only supply their income for analysis; parent information/income is not needed for filing. Students must be a US Citizen or registered non-citizen to be considered for federal assistance.

The UIW federal code for FAFSA filing is 003578. This electronic federal code must be used to insure that the FAFSA information will be sent electronically to UIW. After filing the FAFSA the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing the FAFSA filing data which includes previous federal student loan history.

After the FAFSA has been received, the students are awarded and packaged financial aid up to the total Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance at UIWRSO includes a budget for tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation, equipment, and personal expenses. Students may accept all or any portion of their aid package (example: accepting aid to cover only the direct costs of their tuition and fees). Our Director of Admissions and Student Services routinely provides individual advising with regards to the federal aid process, budgeting and debt counseling.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships do not have to be repaid and are awarded based upon academic performance or other criteria specifically outlined. Grants do not require repayment and are based on financial need only.

Institutional Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based, internal awards are available to UIWRSO students based upon qualifying academic, service and leadership factors. These scholarships currently range from $1000 to help offset books, supplies and equipment to $8000 to help significantly mitigate the cost of attendance. These scholarships include:

Academic Achievement Scholarship

One year award available to all classes. Incoming students are considered based on academic criteria gleamed from the admissions file. Active students (2nd, 3rd, and 4th years) are reviewed annually based on the academic achievement within the professional program.

Mission Award

One year scholarship offered to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. One student from each class is selected annually by the faculty scholarship and awards committee. Students are selected who have best exemplified the UIWRSO mission.

Service Award

One year scholarship offered to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. One student from each class is selected annually by the faculty scholarship and awards committee. Students are selected who have made the strongest impact on their communities.

Leadership Award

One year scholarship offered to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. One student from each class is selected annually by the faculty scholarship and awards committee. Students are selected who have demonstrated strong leadership skills.

Clinical/Pre-Clinical Award

One year scholarship offered to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. One student from each class is selected annually by the faculty scholarship and awards committee. Students are selected based on exemplary demonstration of their clinical skills within the optometry course series and clinical rotations.

Endowed Scholarships

UIWRSO is proud to offer Endowed Scholarship opportunities to students enrolled in the OD program. Please review each scholarship for background information and the selection process.

Dr. Theresa Kent Excellence in Optics Award


Dr. Theresa Kent was a founding faculty member of the Rosenberg School of Optometry best remembered for her knowledge of optics and her commitment to enhance student learning in a supportive environment. The purpose of this award is to recognize a single optometry student for their performance in first year optics.

Selection Process

The winner will be faculty nominated. The biggest emphasis for candidate selection will be overall performance in optics throughout the first year of optometric training. Special consideration may be given to a student who showed interest in helping fellow students achieve success in the subject. The recipient must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be in good institutional standing. Once a student is nominated by the faculty, the RSO Scholarship and Awards Committee will confirm eligibility and announce the winner before the end of the fall of second year.

Dr. Denise Doyle Outstanding Ambassador Award


During her 27 years of service at UIW, Dr. Denise Doyle was a professor of religious studies, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, provost and chancellor. Dr. Doyle’s commitment to service and the mission of Incarnate Word made her instrumental in helping Rosenberg School of Optometry earn accreditation. The purpose of this award is to honor the legacy of Dr. Doyle by selection a single student from those serving as ambassadors that best represents the mission of RSO.

Selection Process

All students serving as ambassadors are eligible for consideration provided they have a minimum GPA of 3.25. Candidates must submit a 500-word essay answering the question “What have you learned while being an ambassador and how does it further the mission of RSO?” The deadline for submission will be March 31. The winner will be selected by the RSO Scholarship and Awards Committee.

Dr. Randall Collins Clinical Ethics Award


Dr. Randall Collins’ invaluable service to the Rosenberg School of Optometry included various clinical roles from preceptor to site director. His fluent Spanish allowed him to bridge the gap between health care provider and the non-English patient population RSO services. This scholarship was developed to recognize a third or fourth year student who demonstrates outstanding judgment and ethical decision making in a clinical setting.

Selection Process

All third and fourth year students are eligible for consideration provided they meet the minimum GPA of 3.0 and are in good standing with the university. Candidates must submit a 500-word essay regarding the ethical principles in clinical practice and should describe any ethical theories and values used in clinical decision making. The deadline for submission will be March 31. The winner will be selected by the RSO Scholarship and Awards Committee.

Dr. Susan Behrens Memorial Scholarship


Dr. Susan Behrens was a member of the first graduating class from Rosenberg School of Optometry. Faculty, students and staff remember her as a compassionate and caring member of our RSO family. Because of her humility and kindness this scholarship was developed in her memory to honor a student with the same core values demonstrating generosity, compassion, and sympathy towards others.

Selection Process

All 3 rd or 4 th year students are eligible for consideration provided they are in good institutional and academic standing with the university. The candidate will have demonstrated patience, humility, kindness, generosity, sympathy, compassion, and love to his/her peers, staff, faculty and the community. Demonstration of these traits will be defined by participation in service activities while enrolled as a student at UIWRSO as well as review of the Clinical Character Assessment within Meditrek to gauge the student’s commitment to compassionate patient care. Candidates for this scholarship will be nominated by the faculty. The winner will be selected by the RSO Scholarship and Awards Committee during the spring semester.

Outside Scholarships and Grants

UIWRSO receives a large amount of outside scholarship opportunities specifically for optometry students. Once you are enrolled, the faculty scholarship committee will forward outside scholarship opportunities to all students meeting the criteria specified in the application whether it be a year in school, clinic, state of residence, etc. Examples of some of the many opportunities are listed below:

Alcon Case Report Awards

Awarded to a 4th-year student, one winner per school. In order to qualify, the student must write a case report on suggested topics. $1,000 for school winner, $5,000 for a national winner.

AOA InfantSEE Scholarship

The Dr. W. David Sullins, Jr. InfantSEE® program. The award will be presented at AOA Optometry's Meeting®. The recipient will receive travel reimbursement up to $1,000 to attend the event and a gold medallion.

American Academy of Optometry Grants and Scholarships

Eligible students can apply and receive consideration for various grants and scholarships recognizing leadership, service, and future dedication to the profession.

AOSA Travel Grant Essay Contest - Allergan

Two $550 travel grants awarded per school. Finalist from each school is eligible to compete nationally for an additional $1,000 for the top three winning essays.

AOSA Travel Grant Essay Contest - The Vision Care Institute

One $500 travel grant will be awarded to each school for the winning essay.

ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics

National award for students in the final two years of their program. An essay must be submitted. $1,000 award and plaque.

Baptist Health Foundation Scholarship

Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio distributes grants annually to not-for-profit organizations which provide healthcare services and funds health education throughout Bexar County and contiguous counties in South Texas.

Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship

In honor of Maitenaz’s accomplishments and contributions to the field of optometry, Essilor has established the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship. The annual $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to the author of the entry judged to be the best submitted to Optometry Cares.

Beta Sigma Kappa Student Research Grant

Grants are open to all students, not just BSK members. Grant requests are not to exceed $1,000 and the research proposal must be related to the field of clinical optometry, visual science, or public health.

COVD Award for Excellence in Vision Therapy

Award for fourth-year students who have demonstrated a strong interest and clinical skill in the area of vision therapy. The award is a plaque.

Dr. Seymour Galina Grant (AOA Foundation)

$2,500 scholarship grant, which will be awarded to one optometry student whose paper is judged to be the best essay submitted to Optometry Cares-The AOA Foundation.

Military Health Professions Scholarship

The Military offers competitive scholarships for full tuition and required fees plus a monthly stipend through the Air Force, Army, and Navy. HPSP Scholarship recipients are commissioned as officers and required to serve in the military for a specific period of time, depending upon the number of years the recipient received the HPSP Scholarship. Applications and additional information are available directly from local Army, Navy, and Air Force recruitment offices, which are located through the United States.

HOYA Visioncare Grants and Scholarships

Hoya Visioncare, a manufacturer of lenses, has established a program combining grants and scholarships given to third and fourth-year students. Students enter the competition by submitting an ePoster Case Study in which a HOYA product was used. Each participating school chooses one winner of a $1,000 grant, and after review by HOYA one of those students also receives a $6,000 scholarship.

J. Pat Cummings Scholarship

The Cummings Scholarship is awarded to one who best demonstrates the ideal eye care standards of practice, achievement in both academic performance and extracurricular activities, and participation with other professional pursuits such as involvement with patients through internships. Community service, and other volunteer activities. Sponsored by VISTAKON®, one $1,000 award and a personalized plaque is awarded to one second or third-year student attending each school of optometry.

Project Foresight (Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Health and Wellness)

Students present "Optometric Practice of the Future" business plan and presentation. $1,500 Team Scholarship Award per school. National Grant Prize is $15,000.

Texas State Optical Scholarship

Three $2,000 scholarships offered by Texas State Optical Inc. each year. Scholarships are open to third-year optometry students attending RSO.

Varilux Student Grant (Essilor)

The program is open to optometry students who have experience in the clinic's dispensary. Students submit case reports to patients fit with Varilux lenses. The student with the selected report will receive $1,000 plus an entry into national judging. The national award winner receives a $2,500 travel grant.

VISTAKON, AOA Contact Lens Patient Care Award

Sponsored by Vistakon. $1,000 award and plaque is awarded to an outstanding 4th-year student clinician who has demonstrated excellence in contact lens patient care.

VSP "Vision Care For Life" Award

Two $4,000 scholarships for each school to support a 4th-year student. Students selected to receive the scholarship demonstrate clinical excellence and express a great desire to pursue a career in private practice.

Wal-Mart Optical Education Scholarship

Wal-Mart offers $1,000 scholarships to optometry students with high scholastic standing and financial need. Students should show a desire to enter community practice upon graduation.

In addition, there are several comprehensive, searchable scholarship databases on the web, such as FastWeb. FastWeb provides access to private local and national scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans.

Student Loans

Professional students at the Rosenberg School of Optometry are eligible for higher amounts of funding through the federal student aid programs.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

  • Maximum $40,500 or up to the Cost of Attendance minus any aid.
  • Interest is not subsidized by the federal government and begins accruing upon disbursement; borrowers have the option to pay the interest during enrollment or allow it to accrue. Unpaid interest will be capitalized by the lender and added to the principal of the loan upon graduation.
  • Financial need not required
  • Origination fee may be deducted from the loan proceeds before disbursement
  • Grace period of 6 months after enrollment ceases
  • Standard 10-year repayment schedule; Deferment, Forbearance and Income-Based Repayment options available
  • Aggregate total (undergraduate and graduate) of $224,000

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

  • Maximum amount is equal to the full Cost of Attendance minus all aid
  • Loan requires a separate application, Master Promissory Note and credit check
  • The first payment on a Direct PLUS Loan is due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. There is no grace period. However, the student can postpone payment while in school.

A complete list of the guidelines, eligibility requirements and current interest rates for Direct Student Loans may be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Additional information concerning Federal loan programs, requirements, repayment and full details.

Financial Aid Information and Forms

Please take time to review the following information to assist in the set-up and processing of federal loans for your UIWRSO education. The documents listed below may be completed/submitted at any time during the financial aid process.

After filing the FAFSA for UIWRSO a federal aid award letter will be sent to your permanent address. The federal aid award letter will not indicate any scholarship money that may have been offered. This will be added in July.

After receiving the federal award letter please note that both the student ID and UIW email account are listed on this letter. Also note that the contact information for financial aid is listed on the form. The financial aid office and processing area for student loans are located on the UIW main campus. However, the RSO financial aid office works closely with the undergraduate office to ensure the completion of required forms and is available for counseling at any point throughout a student's enrollment in the program.

Several documents are needed to complete your financial aid folder if you are accepting the federal loan(s). Many of the forms will request your Student ID number – this is listed on your award letter. The required forms are listed below and also are an attachment to this letter.

  1. Payment Authorization Form: Must be on file with the financial aid office and authorizes the use of federal for tuition and fees. Also, for Optometry students, authorizes the use of federal aid for parking fines and/or library fines. Make sure to check “Yes”.
  2. Basic Texas Residency Questionnaire : Required for ALL. The financial aid office needs to record if a student is OR is not a Texas resident. Residency will NOT AFFECT LOAN ELIGIBILITY as it is for reporting purposes only. In most cases, the completion of the first page is all that is needed.

Documents may be emailed, faxed or mailed to the undergraduate financial aid processing area (email address, fax number and mailing address are on the forms) or to the RSO Student Affairs Office (ATTN: Mrs. Jill Mohr). Most forms will be completed on entry to UIWRSO and will be valid for the four years or through the duration of attendance in the academic program.


Optometry Tuition and Fees - First Year Direct Expenses
Expense Category Annual
Tuition $39,750
Fixed Fees* $1,290
Technology Package** $1,890
Equipment*** $3,068
Total $45,998

*Fixed fees include a total annual sum for first year including: student activities, orientation, records and school/facility fees. Additional fee may be assessed for health insurance but is routinely waived dependent on each student's situation.

**Technology Package includes a total annual sum for first year including: all books delivered through a web-based platform, i-Pad Pro, Apple pencil, keyboard, and 3-year AppleCare+ warranty. The i-Pad Pro, Apple pencil, keyboard, and warranty can be waived but students must have a laptop or tablet that can run UIWRSO testing software.

***Equipment is a cost required at all optometry schools. UIWRSO direct bills for equipment and coordinates distribution for all first and second year students. This comprehensive equipment kit will support the student's clinical education throughout the duration of the program and successful transition into their optometric career.