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Paying for School

Financial Aid

Now that you have decided to go to college, you will need to decide how to pay for it.  

Financial aid and scholarships are awarded through the Financial Aid and Scholarship Offices of the school you plan to attend.

The first step to obtaining financial aid is completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you speak with a financial aid representative at any college, one of the first questions they will ask is, “Have you filled out your FAFSA?”

Paying for College

What’s the FAFSA?

It’s a form you complete online. It’s just paperwork and it’s your passport to the Tennessee lottery scholarship and most forms of federal, state and institutional aid. The FAFSA is used to determine the amount of aid you are eligible to receive. It must be completed before the beginning of your first year of college and you must reapply each year you are in college. The form asks for information about you including income. You will need a tax return to complete the FAFSA and perhaps other income documents such as W-2 forms.

Complete the FAFSA form online at the FAFSA website

This will take time, so plan ahead by having your income documents organized and set aside plenty of time to complete the form.

Financial Aid Tips

  • File the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible. 
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete the form.
  • It’s OK to go ahead and fill out the FAFSA, even if you have not decided where to go to college.
  • Beware of websites that offer FAFSA services for a price. FAFSA form completion is free.
  • Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don’t give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft!
  • The amount of aid you might receive is dependent upon several factors. Contact a financial aid representative at the college you plan to attend to discuss your unique circumstances. Always jot down the date and name of the person you spoke with about your situation.
  • There is a difference between a grant and a loan. A grant is money you don’t have to pay back. A student loan is money that you borrow and pay back over time.
  • Consider scholarships as part of your education funding formula.  In addition to Lottery scholarships, each TBR college has numerous foundation, departmental and private donor scholarships to choose from. Simply take note of deadlines and submit the paperwork!

Grants and Scholarships

There are many opportunities for students to acquire grants and scholarships to pay for their college education. In particular, most students are eligible for either the TN Hope Scholarship, the TN Promise Scholarship or the TN Reconnect Grant.

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) is responsible for awarding financial aid to TN students. Visit the TSAC website to learn more about the multiple opportunities available to you. 

Federal Resources | FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the largest source of student aid in America. FAFSA completion is a requirement for Tennessee program scholarships including the HOPE (Lottery) scholarship. It can also provide access to other grants, loans and work-study programs administered by the Federal Government. The FAFSA can also help you get school-based financial aid. It could be the most important financial aid form you complete.

TN Education Lottery Programs
Tennessee Grant Programs

Tennessee HOPE Access Grant – available to graduates of Tennessee eligible high schools and Tennessee residents who graduated from high schools outside of the state

Tennessee HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant – available to foster children who have been in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services

Dual Enrollment Grant – available to eligible Tennessee high school schools

Helping Heroes Grant – grant for veterans, reservists and Tennessee National Guard members

State of Tennessee Programs

Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Community College Reconnect Grant

TCAT Reconnect Scholarship

TN Reconnect Grant

Tennessee STRONG Act – provides eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard with tuition funding for a first-time bachelor degree for the next four years.

Ned McWherter Scholars Program – available to academically superior Tennessee high school graduates to attend college in Tennessee

Dependent Children Scholarship Program – available to Tennessee residents who are dependent children of a Tennessee law enforcement officer, fireman, or an emergency medical service technician who has been killed or totally and permanently disabled while performing duties within the scope of such employment

Tennessee STEP Up Scholarship – assists students with intellectual disabilities who have completed high school and enroll in an individualized program of study

Reduction in Force Tuition Assistance Benefit – available to state employees who are impacted by a reduction in force

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program –  encourages exemplary students to enter the teaching field in Tennessee. Participation is limited to college juniors, seniors, and post baccalaureate candidates admitted to a teacher education program in a Tennessee college or university.

Tennessee Math and Science Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program – provides financial assistance to Tennessee public school teachers seeking an advanced degree in a math or a science, or a certification to teach a math or a science. Loan forgiveness requires employment in a Tennessee public school system two (2) years for each year of the loan funding received.

FAFSA website – encourages Tennessee residents who are registered nurses to become teachers and administrators in Tennessee nursing education programs.

Minorities and Non-traditional Students

Who Can Help?

Since you are enrolled through your home campus, your representatives there can best help you with billing, tuition, or financial aid questions.  Your Student Liaison can point you in the right direction!