Student Financial Aid
The purpose of Student Financial Aid is to provide a comprehensive program of financial assistance to qualified students who would find it difficult or impossible to attend Volunteer State Community College without financial assistance.
Financial aid is administered in conjunction with the nationally established policy and philosophy that the student and his/her family have the primary responsibility for financing a college education. Financial assistance is designed only for filling in the gap between the family’s potential resources and the student’s expenses.
All applicants for financial aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov. April 15 is the priority date for applying for federal financial aid for the Fall semester. After this date, financial aid will be awarded on a first-come, first serve basis until all funds have been exhausted.
Renewal of aid is not automatic; student must file a new FAFSA form each academic year. All first-time applicants must be fully accepted for admission by the College before aid will be awarded. For inquiries you can e-mail the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standards of Academic Satisfactory Progress
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress in 1980, mandates that institutions of higher education must establish standards of “academic satisfactory progress” for students receiving financial aid. Vol State has established the following standards of “academic satisfactory progress” applicable to all Title IV and institutionally awarded funds (Federal Pell Grant, TSAA, Diversity Grant, Federal Family Educational Loan Programs and the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship programs) for the purpose of maintaining a consistent policy for all students receiving financial assistance.
A. Definition of Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the following regulations in order to continue funding at Volunteer State Community College:
- A student must pass two-thirds (.667) of the hours originally attempted each semester and earn a semester grade point average of at least 2.0 for the total hours attempted. A grade of A, B, C, D, or P will be required for successful completion. Grades of W, I, K, YC or F will not be considered as successful completion.
- A student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
- A student who does not meet either of the above two (2) requirements will be placed on financial aid probation. During the semester of probation, the student will receive regular financial assistance and will be expected to re-establish satisfactory progress.
- If a student has not re-established satisfactory progress after the one semester of financial aid probation, all forms of financial assistance to the student will be suspended.
- A student may be reinstated on financial aid by (1) personally paying the educational expenses for a semester and (2) re-establishing satisfactory progress as defined in Item 1 of these regulations.
- A student who passes zero credit hours with a zero grade point average during any semester will be removed from financial aid without a probationary period. This student may be re-instated on financial aid after meeting the conditions of Item 4 of these regulations. If the zero hours passed and zero grade point average were the result of an official withdrawal from the College, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.
B. Time Limit for Aid
Students will be allowed to receive financial assistance until they have attempted a maximum of 150% of the hours required to complete their Degree or Technical Certificate. At VSCC that represents 90 collegiate hours for a degree seeking student and 62 collegiate hours for a student seeking a Technical Certificate (not including current term). The hours that a student transfers in, which apply toward their degree/technical certificate, will be subject to 90 or 62 hour time limit. Likewise, once a student has attempted more than 30 hours of Learning Support coursework, any additional Learning Support coursework will not be considered in their Title IV eligibility fund calculations.
For continuation of financial aid eligibility, attendance is mandatory. Students who do not estabilsh attendance in each of their classes, are required to repay a portion or all of their federal funding. Students taking RODP courses must engage processing on the WEB CT in order to establish attendance.
Students who do establish attendance but stop attending prior to the end of the semester and do not officially withdraw will be billed according to Return of Title IV funds policy for unofficial withdrawals.
D. Notification and Appeal
Any student being placed on financial aid probation or being terminated from aid will be notified by mail. Any probation or termination of financial assistance, may be appealed first to the Director of Student Financial Aid, then to the Vice President of Student Services and finally in writing to the Scholarship and Awards Committee. The student must be able to prove extenuating circumstances for an appeal.
E. Prior Academic Record
A student’s prior Volunteer State Community College academic record will be reviewed and the Standards of Academic Progress will be applied prior to their eligibility determination.
FEDERAL AND STATE AID PROGRAMS
Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study Program is a federally funded program to provide funds for the employment of students who demonstrate need as determined by FAFSA. To participate in this program, students must be accepted for admission to VSCC and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
The FWS program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. Students may work an average of 10 hours per week.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is a federally funded program based on need as determined by FAFSA. The amount of the actual grant is based upon family contribution as determined by the federal government. You may apply for federal aid on line at www.fafsa.gov.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federally subsidized program. FSEOG is awarded to students with exceptional financial need as determined by FAFSA.
Tennessee Student Assistance Award
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program was established by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1976. The purpose of the program is to provide non-repayable financial assistance to financially needy undergraduate students who are residents of Tennessee and are enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, at an eligible post secondary educational institution in Tennessee. Students must be enrolled at least half-time.
Maximum award amounts are determined by the TSAC Board of Directors prior to the beginning of the fall term. No student will receive an award greater than the amount of tuition and mandatory fees assessed by the institution attended.
In order to apply for the state grant, you must complete a FAFSA application prior to February 15 for the upcoming fall term.
FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM
Federal Direct Student Loan
A Federal Direct Student Loan is a variable low-interest loan made to students to help cover their educational cost. There are two types of Direct Student Loans: Subsidized - where the government pays the interest while the student is in school, deferment and grace period; Unsubsidized - where the student pays the interest while in school, deferment and grace period. The FAFSA application is used in making the determination as to whether the student is eligible for a subsidized loan or an unsubsidized loan.
After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period before you begin repayment. The federal government will send you information about repayment.
Annual Loan Limits: Freshman- $3,500.00 per academic year
Sophomore - $4,500.00 per academic year
Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program provides a source of loan funds to the parents of dependent undergraduate students. PLUS borrowers are required to file a FAFSA application. Parents can borrow up to the cost of education minus other financial aid for the student. The interest rate on PLUS loans is at a variable rate not to exceed 9%. Repayment on both principal and interest begins within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. There is no grace period for these loans. Interest will begin to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made.
TENNESSEE EDUCATION LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS
The Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program is intended to provide scholarship funds to offset costs associated with pursuing postsecondary education. The Lottery Scholarship program includes the HOPE Scholarship, Aspire Award, General Assembly Merit Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Access Grant and the Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship.
General eligibility requirements for each program include:
HOPE Scholarship - Applicants must submit a FAFSA each academic year and have a minimum 21 ACT composite or 980 SAT on a national test date or have a final cumulative 3.0 GPA for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high school. GED students must have the minimum ACT/SAT test score as stated above and a 525 on the GED Test. TN home school and non-category 1, 2 or 3 private high school graduates must have minimum ACT/SAT test scores stated above and must have been enrolled in the school for 2 years immediately preceding graduation. If a student ceases to be eligible for HOPE, except for GAMS or HOPE Access Grant, the student may regain HOPE one-time only, after they meet the regain requirements.
Aspire Award - Applicants must meet the HOPE Scholarship requirements and parents’ or independent student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on the appropriate year tax form. Student may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.
General Assembly Merit Scholarship - Applicants must submit a FAFSA each academic year. Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative 3.75 GPA and 29 ACT composite/1280 SAT on a national test date. Home school and non-category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must, during the course of the home school program or while attending high school, enroll in at least 4 courses totaling at least 12 semester hours and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at an eligible postsecondary institution. Students may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.
Tennessee HOPE Access Grant - Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative 2.75 - 2.99 GPA and 18, 19 or 20 ACT Composite or 860 -970 SAT on a national test date AND parents’ or independent student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on tax form. This award is non-renewable after 24 attempted hours, however students may become HOPE eligible if they meet the HOPE renewal criteria at the 24 hour benchmark.
Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship - The Tennessee Lottery offers a scholarship for the adult learner. In order to be considered, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be age 25 or older and enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution as an entering freshman or have not been enrolled for at least two (2) years after last attending any postsecondary institution and not earned a baccalaureate degree
- The adjusted gross income attributable to the student must be no more than $36,000 per year
- Be continuously enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution in the fall and spring semesters and maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined by the College or University
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 after attempting 12 semester hours
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the September 1, deadline date for Fall and February 1, deadline date for Spring and Summer
Contact the Volunteer State Community College Financial Aid Office if you feel that you meet these requirements and they will evaluate your eligibility for the Non-Traditional Hope Scholarship.
Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Renewal Criteria
Eligibility shall be reviewed at the end of the semester in which the student has attempted a total of 24, 48, 72, 96 or any subsequent multiple of 24 semester hours. Additional, at 72 attempted hours and beyond, students may be reviewed at the end of each semester if they maintain the award on a provisional basis, contact the Financial Aid Office for details.
- Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 after 24 and 48 attempted hours. After attempting 72 hours and beyond a student may retain the award by either:
- Achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, or
- Achieving a cumulative GPA of 2.75-2.99 AND a semester GPA of at least 3.0 in the preceding term for which the student will receive the award as a full-time enrolled student
- Must maintain satisfactory academic progress AND continuous enrollment
- Scholarship is terminated after attainment of baccalaureate degree OR 5 years have passed from initial enrollment â€“ whichever occurs first
- Be enrolled in at least 6 hours; 12 hours if eligible on the provisional basis
Helping Heroes Grant - This grant is funded by the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program. It is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis with a limit of 375 awards made per semester. The Helping Heroes Grant is designed to serve former members of the armed forces, reserve or National Guard who were called into active duty and have met the following general criteria:
- Received an honorable discharge and has been awarded The Iraq Campaign Medal, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal or after 9/11/01, received The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Be a Tennessee resident 1 year prior to application deadline
- Be admitted to and enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution
- Must not have received a baccalaureate degree
- Complete the Helping Heroes Grant Application
HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant - The Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program provides resources specifically to meet the education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care. This award along with all other available financial aid sources shall be applied towards the student cost of attendance before utilizing awards offered through the HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant. Students must be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship or HOPE Access Grant and have been in the custody of the Department of Children Services for at least 1 year after their 14th birthday in order to be considered for this grant. TSAC will work with the Department of Children Services to identify recipients.
The TN Lottery Scholarship requirements are subject to change each July 1, pending legislative ruling.
Dual Enrollment Grant Program - The Dual Enrollment Grant program is funded by the Tennessee Lottery and administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. This program provides opportunities for students to begin working toward a college degree, while still pursuing a high school diploma. The maximum grant is $300 per term. Students should apply online at www.tn.gov/collegepays/mon_college/dual_enroll_grant_rules.htm
The Diversity Grant is a program for students over the age of 24 with priority given to students of other races and first generation college students. The student must submit a FAFSA application for consideration for the Diversity Grant and must maintain Academic Satisfactory Progress standards.
Graduating seniors may be eligible for a Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $3,500. When awarded, the student agrees to work on campus 75 hours per semester. Five new and five renewal scholarships will be awarded annually.
In order to apply for the Presidential Scholarship, the student must complete a VSCC Scholarship Application and submit all required admission documents by the appropriate deadline. Entering freshmen must have at least a 3.5 high school GPA (seventh semester) and an ACT of at least 26.
To retain the award, the student must have completed the required work obligation and pass a minimum of 12 hours with a 3.0 semester GPA.
This scholarship will be awarded for only four semesters.
VSCC Academic Service Scholarships
The VSCC Academic Service Scholarship is in the amount of $2,000 per academic year. This scholarship involves on-campus work obligations on the part of the student. The VSCC Academic Service Scholarship is awarded to a limited number of incoming freshmen whose high school records show academic excellence. The requirements for this scholarship are a high school grade point average of 3.0 or more and an ACT at least 21. The application priority date for Fall Semester is March 1.
Scholarship Retention Requirements:
Students must pass a minimum of 12 hours with a 2.5 semester grade point average. Scholarship students attending Summer School must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5. Any semester in which the student does not meet the regulation in item ”a” OR does not fulfill the required work obligation, the scholarship will be automatically cancelled. This scholarship will be awarded for only four semesters.
VSCC Division Academic Service Scholarships
The VSCC Division Academic Service Scholarship is in the amount of $2,000 per year. Scholarship recipients are recruited by each major division of the institution. This scholarship involves a 75 hour work obligation in the respective division on special projects. The selection and retention is the same as the VSCC Academic Service Scholarship outlined above.
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
Eligible WIA recipients may receive various types of financial assistance as they pursue career training/retraining. Businesses, government, and schools work together to provide vocational or employability skills to those who are out of work or who need new skills/training to successfully enter the job market. Volunteer State Community College works in conjunction with those WIA agencies that are sponsoring these students here at VSCC. The Office of Special Adult Programs works to coordinate these effects and help with the transition of attending school.
PC 191 Fee Waiver
Employees of TBR or UT system schools are eligible to enroll in one credit class per term using the PC 191 fee waiver. The eligible employee must complete a fee waiver application with their personnel office each semester. The fee waiver form should be forwarded to the VSCC Financial Aid Office prior to registration or no later than 10 days after the term begins.
TBR Employee Dependents (Children or Spouse) Discount
Employees of TBR or UT system schools dependent children (under the age of 26) or spouse is eligible to receive a 50% discount toward maintenance fees each semester. The eligible employee must complete and submit a new discount form for their dependent child or spouse each semester prior to registration or no later than 10 days after the term begins.
Public School Teacher/State Employee Dependent Discount
Dependent children (under the age of 24) of a certified public school teacher or a full time State employee are eligible to receive a 25% discount toward maintenance fees each semester. The eligible employee must complete and submit a new discount form for their dependent child each semester prior to registration or no later than 10 days after the term begins.
State Employee Fee Waiver
Eligible employees of the Tennessee State Government are eligible to enroll in one class per term. This is called a fee waiver. The eligible state employee must complete the necessary paperwork with their personnel office and have that paperwork forwarded to the VSCC Financial Aid Office prior to registration and no later than 10 days after the term begins.