In order to be considered for federal student aid and grants, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Availability of each grants program is based on program appropriations each fiscal year. Below are the basic criteria for qualifying for the various types of grants. Additional program requirements may apply.

The addition of any scholarship, grant, exemption, waiver, or outside funding toward your educational expenses may result in a reduction of aid. If you have received any of the aforementioned types of aid that are not represented as part of your award information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible.

Grants Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for federal aid grants, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be registered with Selective Service unless exempt from registration
    • You may register online or check your registration status at the Selective Service website
  • Be enrolled in a degree program
    • Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid, with two exceptions:
      • Post-baccalaureate students taking classes that are required for certification as an elementary or secondary school teacher
      • Students admitted as a non-degree seeking graduate student who must complete classes that are prerequisite for being considered for admission into a CBU graduate degree program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress towards your degree
  • Not be in default on a federal loan or owe a refund of a federal grant
    • Check your federal loan or grants history by visiting National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and selecting the Financial Aid Review option (you will need your FAFSA ID to view your history)

Federal Grants

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are based on level of enrollment and expected family contribution (EFC). Students must meet all eligibility criteria for receiving federal financial aid and must be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2022-2023 academic year is $6,895. The Pell Grant program is limited to six years of full-time eligibility.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program provides funding for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contribution (EFC), as measured using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are the first to be offered a FSEOG. Annual award amounts vary.

FSEOG is offered to students as a result of completing the FAFSA. There is no separate application.

State Grants

Tennessee Student Assistance Awards

The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program (TSAA) was established to provide non-repayable grants and financial assistance to financially-needy undergraduate students who are residents of Tennessee. Applicants must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment, at least half time, at a public or an eligible non-public postsecondary institution in Tennessee. The TSAA is a state-funded grant program and includes funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery.

To be eligible for Tennessee Student Assistance grants, the applicant must:

  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Have a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,846 or less
  • Be a Tennessee resident. If a dependent student, parents must also be a Tennessee resident
  • Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible Tennessee postsecondary institution
  • Maintain institutional satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of the institution
  • Not be in default on a loan or owe a refund on any grant previously received at any institution
  • Have not received a baccalaureate degree

To receive priority consideration for state grants, students are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 each year.

Starting with the 2014-2015 academic year, prior-year recipients (renewals) will receive the award if they meet all eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA on or before March 1. After March 1, remaining funds will be awarded to the neediest applicants who apply by March 1 based on the availability of funds. Awards are made until funds are depleted.

Maximum award amounts are determined by the TSAC Board of Directors prior to the beginning of the fall term. The amount of the award is based on the institution indicated on the student’s FAFSA. Award amounts for an academic year are $4,000 for four year institutions.

The final amount is determined by the institution. The financial aid office may revise the amount of the award for one of the following reasons:

  • Overaward: the TSAA is one of several government-funded programs of financial aid and grants for students. A variety of privately funded programs are also available as well as the assistance many parents are able to provide their children. TSAC policy requires the institution to certify that each recipient’s aid, when combined with other resources, does not exceed the cost of attending the institution. If a situation arises in which a student’s aid and resources exceed the cost of attendance, the financial aid office at the institution must reduce or cancel the award to prevent an overaward.
  • Part-Time Enrollment: TSAA’s initial award is based on full-time enrollment. The student’s institution will certify each term of enrollment, and if a student is enrolled less than full time, the institution must adjust the award accordingly. 
  • Early Withdrawal: award recipients who withdraw prior to the completion of a term may have a portion of the award reduced in accordance with the institution’s published refund policy.

Award recipients must use the TSAA for educational expenses. Funds are disbursed to the institution on behalf of the recipient and will be credited to the student’s account in accordance with the institution’s published policy. 

Award recipients may receive awards until the program of study is complete or for the following, whichever comes first:

  • 4-Year Program up to 8 semesters or 12 quarters/trimesters
  • 3-Year Program up to 6 semesters or 9 quarters/trimesters
  • 2-Year Program up to 4 semesters or 6 quarters/trimesters
  • 1-Year Program up to 2 semesters or 3 quarters/trimesters
  • 6-Month Program up to 1 semester or 2 quarters/trimesters

Eligible Institution – award recipients must attend an eligible Tennessee school, college or university and be enrolled at least half time. You must list the eligible institution as your first choice when you complete your FAFSA.

Transfer – to change your institution, you can complete a Change of Institution Request form or visit and select your institution choice from the drop down menu. If you change your institution choice through the TSAC Student Financial Aid Portal the change is made immediately. You can also check the full list of eligible institutions.

Because available funding is insufficient to reach all eligible applicants, early filing of the FAFSA is strongly encouraged as soon as possible after January 1. Awards are made until funds are depleted. First priority is given to U.S. citizens.

Tennessee Hope Access Grant

Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at Applications must be received by September 1st for fall semester, February 1st for spring and summer semesters. Early application is recommended.
  • Have been a Tennessee resident for one year by September 1 of the application date. For students beginning spring and summer terms, residency is determined by February 1 as of application date.
  • Graduate from a TN eligible high school
    • Exceptions may be granted to TN residents who graduate from high schools located in states other than Tennessee. They include:
      • High schools located in bordering out-of-state counties
      • High schools in which dependents of active duty military members or civilian workers of the US Department of Defense, Tennessee National Guard on active duty may attend
        • Members of the Armed Forces or TN National Guard must have Tennessee as the Home of Record at the time of entry into military service.
      • High schools in which dependents of full-time religious workers in foreign nations may attend
      • Out-of-state boarding schools that are regionally accredited or accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • Enroll in one of the Tennessee public colleges, universities, or private colleges. Click here for list of eligible institutions.
  • Entering freshmen must have a final high school GPA* between 2.75 – 2.99 AND between an 18 – 20 ACT or between 960 – 1050 SAT, exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests (concordant equivalent score)
  • ACT/SAT exams must be taken on a national test date or state test date and prior to the first day of college enrollment after high school graduation. The ACT Residual test is not accepted
  • Parents’ or independent student’s and spouse’s adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less on IRS tax form
  • Grant non-renewable after the first 24 attempted semester hours– Student will be eligible for Tennessee HOPE Scholarship by meeting HOPE Scholarship renewal criteria and maintaining enrollment and other applicable requirements without the award

* Grade point average means a grade point average on a 4.0 scale calculated with additional internal quality points awarded for advanced placement, honors or other similar courses according to the Uniform Grading Policy adopted by the State Board of Education.

Award Amounts for the HOPE Access Grant

Four-Year Institutions: Up to $1,500 per full-time enrollment semester, including summer

Helping Heroes Grant

The award amount is $1,000 per semester for a student who successfully completes twelve (12) or more semester hours with no failing grade as the final grade for the course. The student shall receive $500 per semester for successfully completing six (6) to eleven (11) semester hours with no failing grade as a final grade for the course. The student shall not receive an award if enrolled in fewer than six (6) semester hours.

The Helping Heroes Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to be eligible, the student must:

  • Be an honorably discharged veteran who had formally served the armed forces of the United States, or a former or current member of a reserve or Tennessee National Guard unit who was called into active military service of the United States
  • Be a Tennessee resident for one year preceding the date of application for this grant
  • Be awarded the following:
    • Iraq Campaign Medal
    • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, on or after Sept. 11, 2001
  • Enroll at an eligible 2-year or 4-year postsecondary institution
  • Have not earned a baccalaureate degree
  • Not be in default on a federal Title IV educational loan or Tennessee educational loan
  • Not owe a refund on a federal Title IV student financial aid program or a Tennessee student financial aid program
  • Be in compliance with federal drug-free rules and laws for receiving financial assistance
  • Not be incarcerated
  • Meet each qualification relating to this grant and applicable to the student
  • Not be required to meet any academic standard at the time of enrollment in order to be eligible for this grant
  • Award of a Helping Heroes Grant shall be made after the completion of a semester, so long as the student successfully completes the course with a non-failing grade as the final grade for the course

Application Deadline

Complete the application for a Helping Heroes Grant for each academic year. The application processing deadline are: September 1 for fall enrollment, February 1 for spring, or May 1 for summer enrollment. Please mail your DD-214 to the address below or fax it to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation at (615) 741-6101.

Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation
404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 1510
Nashville, TN 37243

Continuation Requirements

  • Successfully complete a course while enrolled at an eligible 2-year or 4-year postsecondary institution with no failing grade as the final grade for the course
  • Grant may be awarded for a maximum of eight (8) “full” semesters
    • 6-11 semester hours completed constitutes ½ semester
  • Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis

Award Termination Criteria

  • Receive the award for eight (8) full semesters have passed; or
  • Eighth anniversary of the veteran’s honorable discharge from military service; whichever comes first; or
  • Earning a baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first

Disclaimer: Information contained on this site is subject to change without prior notification.