Getting a degree is smart – it’s the single most important investment you can make in your financial future. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, average annual earnings range from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates, and $99,300 for workers with professional degrees.
Financial Aid Application
The primary application for the majority of financial assistance is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available through your financial aid officer or online at www.fafse.ed.gov. This form determines your eligibility for federal need-based aid. Scholarships and grants are considered gift aid and require no repayment, whereas student loans must be repaid.
Federal Pell Grant
This need-based grant is given to help undergraduates defray the cost of education. Eligible students may receive these funds to attend an eligible post-secondary school.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This grant is given based on exceptional financial need and is awarded primarily to Federal Pell Grant recipients
Federal College Work-Study Program (FWS)
This program provides an award for potential employment for undergraduate and graduate students as part of their aid packages. Federal Work-Study is awarded based on financial need. Other student employment opportunities may be available if a student does not qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program.
Federal Perkins Loan Program
The Perkins Loan Program is a low-interest, federally funded loan program for both undergraduate and graduate students, The loan is administered by the school and is based on need. As long as the student is enrolled in school at least half-time, the federal government pays the interest. Repayment begins nine months after the student graduates or leaves school. The repayment term is up to ten years with a minimum monthly payment of $40 and an interest rate of 5%.
Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans
The Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan is a low-interest loan made to students who demonstrate financial need. Undergraduates may borrow up to $2,625 for the first year, $3,500 for the second year, and $5,500 for each remaining undergraduate year. Undergraduate students may borrow an aggregate limit of $23,000. Independent students may have additional eligibility under the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
Graduate and Professional students may borrow up to $8,500 a year for a total of $65,000 (this includes undergraduate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans). The interest rate is variable and capped at 8.25%. While the borrower is enrolled in school at least half-time, the interest is paid by the federal government.
Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
The interest rate and terms for this loan are the same as for the Subsidized Stafford Loan. However, students are responsible for paying the interest while enrolled in school and during any grace period or deferment. This loan is not based on financial need. An independent undergraduate’s aggregate limit including Unsubsidized Stafford Loans would increase to $46,000. Repayment terms are the same as for the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan.
Federal PLUS Program (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students)
The Federal PLUS Program is for parents of dependent undergraduate students and is based on creditworthiness. Under this program, parents may borrow up to the cost of education at a particular institution minus any financial aid a student receives.
Local National Guard or military reserve units may offer educational assistance in the form of scholarships or loans. Check with your financial aid officer or Reserve Officer for more information.
If you are an eligible veteran or the dependent of an eligible veteran, contact the regional Veterans Administration office that has records for you or your eligible parent. Funds may be available to cover a portion of your educational expenses. For more information visit the website at www.va.gov.
Workforce and Vocational Rehabilitation Education benefits may be available to qualified students. Contact your local agency for more information. These offices are usually listed in the telephone book in the state offices section under rehabilitation services or vocational rehabilitation services.
Students who are members of an Indian tribe may be eligible for assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Benefits may vary depending upon the tribe. Contact your tribal headquarters to
determine your eligibility for BIA benefits.
The links below may be useful for researching information:
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools http://www.abhes.org
Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges of Technology
Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training http://www.accet.org
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools http://www.acics.org
Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Commission on Occupational Education http://www.councii.org
Distance Education and Training Council http://www.detc.org
Tennessee Higher Education Commissionhttp://www.state.tn.us/thec/
Tennessee General Assembly http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
Tennessee Student Assistance Corporationhttp://www.state.tn.us/tsac/
Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation loan applications
U.S. Department of Education http://www.ed.gov
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/