The time to begin securing financial aid for the 2014-15 academic year is upon us now that it is January 2014. Have you or your student started the process?
It all begins with filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. FAFSA forms are used to determine eligibility for federal and state funds such as Pell grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans and work-study programs, and must be completed each academic year for which a student wishes to seek aid.
Individuals can apply for aid for the upcoming year as early as Jan. 1. Tusculum’s Financial Aid Office encourages to apply for financial aid as soon as possible after January 1 assure that their applications will be considered for aid types that typically become limited or exhausted before August.
Feb. 1 is the priority deadline to receive financial aid for all students. Students who complete their FAFSA after Feb. 1 should anticipate some aid funds being limited for the fall semester. These students should contact the Office of Financial Aid for information on alternative sources of funding. Tennessee residents applying for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by this date as funds can become expended as early as March. The deadline for applying for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award is March 1 this year. Tennessee residents applying for the Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarship (TELS) are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by Feb. 1.
Students are granted assistance through the federally-funded programs, based upon their financial need, which is determined by the difference between the Cost Of Attendance (COA) and the calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is calculated from the information submitted on the FAFSA form, which is used to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. The FAFSA is typically available online January 1 for the upcoming academic year, and it must be completed each academic year for which the student wishes to seek aid.
The Financial Aid Office also recommends that students seek scholarship assistance through their communities. Social and civic clubs, employers, local libraries and the Internet are excellent sources of scholarship information. FASTWEB is recommended as an on-line scholarship resource. In addition, there are various “self-help” options that may be considered by the student, which include both student employment and federal loans.
Students may also want to explore the eligibility criteria for receiving Vocational Rehabilitation benefits and Veterans’ benefits.
Also be sure to check Tusculum College’s Financial Aid webpages for information about scholarships that are available.
The Financial Aid Office staff members are anxious and available to help students and their parents secure needed financial assistance. The Office of Financial Aid is open Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the second floor of Virginia Hall on the Greeneville campus. Appointments are recommended, but not required, for financial aid counseling so that staff can prepare the proper information for a student’s individual package.
Currently over 90 percent of the students in Residential College and over 60 percent of students in the Graduate and Professional Studies programs for working adults receive some form of financial aid. Financial aid comes from many different sources, including the federal and state governments, private sources, and from Tusculum College through donations from churches, companies and individual donors. The College is very grateful for all who support our students.