Tennessee Student Grants for College

Grant Money May Pave Your Way in Tennessee

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) is that branch of government in the state of Tennessee that helps students locate sources of financial aid for college. TSAC has set up a website called College Pays that contains current information about funding like scholarships, State of Tennessee grants, loan forgiveness programs, and federal assistance.

Grants In Tennessee

There are six types of state grant available in Tennessee, described below.

Tennessee grants

Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program

The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program (TSAA) is intended to defray college costs for students who can demonstrate financial need and reside in Tennessee. (If you are a dependent, your parents must also be state residents.) To be eligible, you must attend school at least half-time at one of Tennessee’s public schools, or a private school that has been approved by the state, and make satisfactory progress in your classes.

You must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and your Expected Family Contribution as calculated according to the federal formula must not exceed $2,100. If you have received assistance before, your previous loans must be out of default status and you must not owe any refunds on unused grants. The amounts you can receive during an academic year vary depending on the type of post-secondary institution you attend, from $1,000 for a Tennessee Technology Center student to $4,000 for a private school student.

Your school’s financial aid office will decide how much you need, and there are several factors that will affect the amount you receive:

  • To avoid an overaward, which means that your total financial aid package exceeds your cost of attendance (COA), your school may reduce the amount of your TSAA grant.
  • The number of classes for which you enroll will also count. Annual amounts shown above are for full-time enrollment.
  • If you withdraw before the term is completed, your award may be reduced as a result. Refund policies differ among schools.

TSAA grant funding goes directly into your student account and can be used only for educational costs. In general, you can receive this grant for half of your undergraduate career. The maximum length of time covered by your award varies depending on the length of your course of study, from one semester of a six-month program to 8 semesters of a four-year program.

Monies dedicated to TSAA are limited, so file your FAFSA as soon as possible to increase your chances. For dealing with the application process, you will find a College Pays user account helpful.

Helping Heroes Grant

The Helping Heroes Grant also receives limited state support, so early application is recommended. There are a number of criteria controlling eligibility, and here are those related to your military service:

  • You must have an honorable discharge and have performed active duty. Members of the military reserves and the Tennessee National Guard who meet the active duty standard are acceptable.
  • You must have resided in Tennessee for at least one year.
  • You must possess either the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, or an Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal that was given to you on or after 9/11.

There are also other criteria having to do with you and your current status:

  • You must attend a school approved by the state and must not have an undergraduate degree.
  • You must not be in default on a school loan from either the state of Tennessee or the federal government’s Title IV loan program. You must not owe any refund money for financial aid from either source.
  • You must abide by all current federal eligibility rules for receiving financial aid. For example, a drug conviction may rescind your eligibility. You must not be imprisoned.
  • You will receive your grant after you finish a semester successfully.

Helping Heroes pays $1,000 a semester to full-time students and $500 for students enrolled for between six and 11 credit hours.

Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant

The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant pays $2,000 or your COA, whichever is less. You must be pursuing a certificate or diploma at a Tennessee Technology Center. Anyone who has previously received either a Tennessee HOPE Scholarship or a Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant is ineligible for this award.

You must have lived in Tennessee for at least a year to apply.

Tennessee HOPE Access Grant

The Tennessee HOPE Access Grant requires that freshmen meet these requirements: you must have a weighted GPA of 2.75 and a score between 18 and 20 (ACT) or 860 and 970 (SAT without the essay section or subject tests), and your adjusted gross household income must be no more than $36,000 a year. That refers to your parents’ income if you are a dependent, and otherwise to income earned by you and a spouse, if any. While you will not receive a second grant, you may be eligible to continue with a HOPE Scholarship.

There are two levels of award for those who first received the HOPE Scholarship before fall 2009, and those who did not. The pre-fall-2009 group gets either $2,750 per year, at most, or $1,750, depending on the type of school you attend. The fall-2009-and-after group is eligible for an award between $875 and $1,375 per year.

Tennessee HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant

The Tennessee HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant is very similar to the Tennessee HOPE Access Grant. As you might have gathered, the primary difference is in the eligible population. You must meet these criteria to qualify as a foster child in Tennessee:

  • You must have been a ward of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services for at least a year after turning 14, or
  • You must met that criterion and then undergone a finalized adoption, or
  • You must have met the first criterion and then moved on to a permanent guardianship.

Dual Enrollment Grant

The Dual Enrollment Grant supports high school students who are taking courses at eligible colleges while attending eligible high schools, and it is underwritten by money from the state lottery. You must be at least a high school junior and a state resident, not have received a high school degree, and meet all applicable standards for receiving federal financial aid.

Home schooled students may also apply, and the grant brings $300 per course for a maximum of two courses.


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