All federal and state grant programs require an assessment of individual financial need. Need is determined by the ability of the parents, student and/or spouse to contribute toward educational expenses. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Renewal of aid is not automatic; and students must reapply each year. Students should apply as soon as possible after January 1st for the upcoming fall semester classes.
The Federal Pell Program
The Federal Pell Grant program is the largest federal student aid grant program. These funds are available to eligible undergraduate students seeking a first baccalaureate degree who demonstrate financial need. Effective with the 2012-13 award year, the amount of Federal Pell Grant Funds a student may receive over his or her lifetime is limited by a new federal law to be equivalent of six years of funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding a student can receive each year is 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. A student whose Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) is near, equal to, or exceeds 600% is no longer eligible to receive Federal Pell Grant funding. The Department of Education keeps track of your LEU by adding together the percentages of all your Federal Pell Grant awards. You can review your LEU percentage on the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid – www.nslds.ed.gov. Regardless of your LEU percentage, Federal Pell Grant funding ends when you earn a baccalaureate degree.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Federal SEOG is a grant program administered by Northeast State. Eligible students must be undergraduate students pursuing a first baccalaureate degree. The awards average $800. Funds are limited, and according to federal regulations, must be awarded first to students with the lowest family contributions with preference given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
The Tennessee Student Assistance Program
For more information about the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) Program, visit www.collegepaystn.com. The TSAA is a non-repayable grant for undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time at an eligible post-secondary institution. Students must be Tennessee residents eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Completion of the FAFSA determines eligibility. Funds are usually depleted in February so complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, 2013.