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.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, e-mail the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com.
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Volunteer State Community College has established the following standards of “Satisfactory Academic Progress” applicable to all Title IV funds. These funds include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study Program, and Federal Direct Student Loans. The following institutionally awarded state funds are subject to the same “Satisfactory Academic Progress” standards, Tennessee Student Assistance Award, Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarships, and Access and Diversity Grants. The purpose of this policy is to maintain a consistency for all students receiving these sources of aid.
Federal and state regulations require that students maintain adequate academic progress toward receiving a degree or certificate in order to continue eligibility for Title IV financial aid programs. The following standards are for Title IV financial aid purposes only and neither replace nor override VSCC academic policies.
Qualitative: Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement
Maintain a minimum grade point average based on the number of credit hours attempted at VSCC (including remedial, developmental and learning support classes). Transfer credits and the grades received in those courses are not considered in this GPA calculation. The following chart outlines the cumulative GPA which Title IV funded recipients must maintain according to the number of institution combined GPA hours attempted:
Associates Degree GPA Requirements:
Institutional Combined Hours Attempted
Certificate Programs GPA Requirements:
Institutional Combined Hours Attempted
Quantitative: Pace - Measurable Progress Requirement
Students must complete, with a passing grade, 67 % of all classes attempted including all transfer hours. Grades of W, I, K, YC, or F are considered in this calculation and will negatively impact the student where measurable progress is concerned.
Maximum Time Frame (MTF)
Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program. For associates degree programs, students are allowed to receive Title IV financial aid up to the first 90 hours attempted including transfer hours. Students enrolled in Title IV eligible certificate programs may receive aid through completion of 150% of the individual program length. Repeated coursework will negatively impact the student. As soon as it becomes apparent that a student will be unable to complete their program within the allotted time frame, they will be placed on Max Time Frame Financial Aid Suspension/Probation. Students are limited to 30 attempted hours of remedial, developmental, and learning support coursework. All attempts including withdrawals and repeats count toward the maximum number of hours attempted. Federal Aid for a student who has exceeded this maximum will be based on college level courses only.
Financial Aid Warning and Probation
The Financial Aid Office will evaluate each of these measurements at the end of each academic term (including summer term). Students, who do not meet the standards of the GPA or Pace will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. When in this status, Title IV financial aid is funded for one additional semester. At the end of that semester if they have not met the GPA and/or Pace requirement, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation (suspension). Students on Financial Aid Probation will be ineligible to receive any Title IV financial aid (including loans) and must take classes at their own expense until GPA and/or Pace meet the standards outlined in this policy.
*EXCEPTION: Earning zero credit hours with a zero grade point average will automatically forfeit your eligibility for Title IV Financial Aid without a Financial Aid Warning Period.
Students who do not meet the Maximum Time Frame (MTF) measurement are not eligible for a Financial Aid Warning Period and immediately become ineligible for Title IV financial aid.
Students who are transferring in academic credits whose transcripts have not yet been evaluated will be placed on Transfer Warning (TRWAR) status. This means that the student will be tentatively awarded until the academic transcript has been officially evaluated and the students SAP can be calculated. If at that time the student is deemed to not be meeting SAP the funds offered will be withdrawn and the student will be responsible for payment of their fees. The student will be given the opportunity to submit a Financial Aid Appeal to attempt to regain use of his/her aid eligibility if necessary.
A Financial Aid Appeal can be filed to possibly regain eligibility if there were extenuating circumstances that impeded the student’s academic progress, which subsequently placed the student on Financial Aid Probation/Suspension status and prevented the student from receiving Title IV financial aid. To successfully appeal:
- Complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form. The student must provide an explanation of the circumstances which caused their past unsatisfactory performance during the previous two semesters and documentation of the extenuating circumstance.
- The appeal must state how the issues have been corrected or list the steps they are currently taking to ensure that circumstances do not reoccur.
The Financial Aid Appeal Form can be accessed at the MyVolstate Portal under Financial Aid. Request with supporting documentation should be returned to the Financial Aid Office. For the request to be considered, you must submit all paperwork by the set deadline. All requests will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.
- On an individual basis, the Financial Aid Appeals Committee may recommend that a student be placed on an Academic PLAN for the subsequent semesters at VSCC. The Academic PLAN requires that the student meet with their academic advisor to complete the PLAN form. A course plan will be created for each student to follow. Students must not deviate from the PLAN and pass each term with at least a 2.0 GPA. Any deviation from this plan will result in the student losing financial aid eligibility unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances. The purpose of the plan is to enable the student to reach Satisfactory Academic Progress.
**Once the Appeals Committee has reached a decision, the Financial Aid Counselor will notify the student of the decision via the student’s VSCC Email address.**
A student wishing to appeal the action of this committee should submit a written appeal to the Vice President of Student Services within five calendar days from the date of notification of the committee’s decision. If further action is deemed necessary, an appeal of a decision of the Vice President of Student Services should be made in writing to the President of the College.
Appeal Process for Maximum Time Frame (MTF)
Students who have exceeded the MTF may have their limit extended by an amount equal to the number of hours remaining to graduate. In order to appeal MTF, submit a Financial Aid Appeal Form with documentation where required. Based on the review of this request and the degree audit, students may have their MTF limit extended. Appeal results will be sent to their Vol State email address.
FEDERAL AID PROGRAMS
Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
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 (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is a federally subsidized program. FSEOG is awarded based on exceptional financial need as determined by FAFSA.
Federal Direct Student Loan
A Federal Direct Student Loan is a variable low-interest loan which will help to cover educational cost. There are two types of Direct Student Loans: Subsidized - the government pays the interest while the student is in school, deferment and grace period; Unsubsidized - 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 repayment begins. The Federal Government will send you information about repayment.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program provides a source of loan funds to the parents of dependent undergraduate students. The student is 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.
STATE AID PROGRAMS
Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA)
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program was established to provide non-repayable 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 receive priority consideration, students are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 each year.
Tennessee Promise Program
The Tennessee Promise Program begins with graduating seniors of the 2015 class. The students must be enrolled in an associate’s degree program, complete 8 hours of community service per term, maintain a 2.0 GPA, work with a mentor, and register for full time enrollment at an eligible institution. This award is a last dollar scholarship and will pay the tuition and fees that are not covered by Pell grant, HOPE scholarship, TSAA funds or tuition waiver/discounts. Students must apply for the program online at www.tennesseepromise.gov by November 1st.
Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program
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 (GAMS), Access Grant and the Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship. In order to be considered for lottery scholarship funds, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the September 1, deadline date for Fall or February 1, deadline date for Spring and Summer.
Tennessee Reconnect Grant
The Community College Reconnect Grant is a first-come, first served grant program that provides a last-dollar scholarship to adults who want to return to community college and complete their associates in an applied science degree. Adults who meet all of the qualification will be expected to enroll in a Tennessee public community college in the 2016-17 academic year. For more information go online at http://www.TNReconnect.gov.
General eligibility requirements for each program include:
HOPE Scholarship - A minimum 21 ACT composite or 980 SAT on a national test date or a final cumulative weighted 3.0 GPA for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high school is required for consideration of the HOPE Scholarship. Students who have passed the GED test must have the minimum ACT/SAT test score as stated above and an average of at least 525 on the GED test. Tennessee home school and non-category 1, 2 or 3 private high school graduates must have the ACT/SAT test scores stated above AND must have been enrolled in a home school program for 1 year immediately preceding graduation and be registered with a TN local school district. Students who have passed the HiSET exam must have a minimum 21 ACT or 980 SAT, Minimum HiSET scores will be determined by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2015 legislative session. The ACT Residual test is not accepted for HOPE Scholarship eligibility determination.
Applicants must enroll within 16 months following high school graduation at any postsecondary institution. However, enrollment at an ineligible postsecondary institution during the 16 months will make the student permanently ineligible.
If a student ceases to be eligible for HOPE, except for GAMS or 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 (GAMS) - Entering freshmen graduating from an eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative weighted 3.75 GPA AND 29 ACT composite or 1280 SAT (Math & Critical Reading ONLY) on a national or state test date. Home school and non-category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have the ACT/SAT test scores stated above AND enroll in 12 college credit hours with a minumum 3.0 GPA at an eligible Tennessee postsecondary institution while enrolled in high school. Students may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.
Access Grant - Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative weighted 2.75 - 2.99 GPA and 18, 19 or 20 ACT Composite or 860 -970 SAT (Math & Critical Reading ONLY) on a national or state test date AND parents’ or independent student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must not exceed $36,000 as documented by FAFSA. 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/spouse 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
Contact the Volunteer State Community College Financial Aid Office if you feel that you meet these requirements.
Tennessee HOPE Scholarship and Non-Traditional HOPE 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.
- 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 student has attempted 120 semester hours OR the student has received the award for 8 full-time equivalent semesters; whichever comes first OR 5 years have passed from initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution - whichever occurs first
- To receive funding, students must be enrolled in at least 6 hours; 12 hours if eligible on the provisional basis.
- Enrollment status changed during the semester can impact a student’s lottery scholarship eligibility for renewal. Students should NEVER drop a course without talking to the financial aid office about how it may impact their HOPE scholarship eligibility.
Information regarding the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship rules and regulations can be found at:
*The TN Lottery Scholarship requirements are subject to change each July 1, pending legislative ruling.
Helping Heroes Grant - This grant is funded by the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program. It is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. 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
- Cannot be in default on a Federal Title IV educational loan or TN educational loan nor owe a refund on a federal Title IV student financial aid program or a TN student financial aid program
- Not be incarcerated and be in compliance with federal drug-free rules and laws for receiving financial assistance
- Complete the online Helping Heroes Grant Application: http://www.tn.gov/collegepays
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 Diversity Grant is a program for students over the age of 24 with priority given to students of other races or 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 $4,000. Five new and five renewal scholarships will be awarded annually. In order to apply for the Presidential Scholarship, you must complete a VSCC Scholarship Application and submit all required admissions documents by the appropriate deadline. Entering freshmen must have a least a 3.5 high school GPA (seventh semester) and an ACT of at least 26. To retain the award, the student must pass a minimum of 12 hours with a 3.0 GPA each semester. This scholarship is awarded for only four semesters.
VSCC Academic Service Scholarships
The VSCC Academic Service Scholarship is in the amount of $2,400 per academic year. This scholarship involves an on-campus work obligation for 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 of at least 21. The application priority date for Fall Semester is March 1. To retain the award, the student must pass a minimum of 12 hours with a 2.5 GPA each semester and fulfill the work requirement of 75 hours per term. This scholarship is awarded for only four semesters.
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 training programs or employability skills to those who are out of work or who need new skills/training to successfully enter the job market. The Office of Adult Learners and Evening Services works in conjunction with those WIA agencies that are sponsoring these students.
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 submitted to the Financial Aid Office 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 for approval. The approved application should then be submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to registration and 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 submit a new discount form for their dependent child or spouse to the Financial Aid Office 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 submit a new discount form for their dependent child to the Financial Aid Office each semester prior to registration or no later than 10 days after the term begins.