Tennessee Scholarships and Financial Aid
Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships
Tennessee shares its borders with eight states. It shares its southern border with Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, its northern border with Kentucky and Virginia, its western border with Arkansas and Missouri, and its eastern border with North Carolina. Tennessee also has a rich history of American culture, including being home to country music, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and rock n’roll. Students planning to attend a post-secondary educational institution in Tennessee will have access to many things, including eight other states, a variety of music, and financial aid options.
Four Main Types of Tennessee Scholarships and Financial Aid Programs
- Grants and low-interest loans from the U.S. Government.
- Grants, scholarships, and loan-forgiveness programs from the state of Tennessee.
- Scholarships from individual Tennessee universities and colleges.
- Outside scholarships from nonprofit organizations, professional groups, and corporations.
Financial Aid from the U.S. Government
The U.S. Government helps pay for educational expenses if students have financial need. To see if you qualify, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You will or will not receive federal financial aid depending on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is calculated using your family’s income and savings. Your financial aid office uses your EFC to determine how much aid you need.
The FAFSA is available on January 1 the year before the year you are requesting aid for. It is usually due on June 30 the year you are requesting aid for. Some states have their own deadlines for the FAFSA. For Tennessee students, your FAFSAs are due on March 1 if you are applying for the State Grant Program, and your FAFSAs are due on September 1 if you are applying for the State Lottery Program. You should also check with your school to see if it has its own deadline.
Tennessee Scholarships and Financial Aid Programs
Tennessee offers several scholarships and financial aid programs to assist students with their educational expenses. Here is a list of available programs:
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program
Tennessee residents with financial need are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Students can only have a maximum EFC of $2,100 and must be attending an accredited post-secondary institution in Tennessee. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.
Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant
Tennessee residents enrolled in or planning to be enrolled in a Tennessee Technology Center qualify for this program. Only students who have not received the Tennessee HOPE Scholarships or Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant before are eligible to apply. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.
Tennessee HOPE Access Grant
This Tennessee financial aid program offers $2,750 to Tennessee students attending 4-year schools and $1,750 to Tennessee students attending 2-year schools. Only freshmen with a minimum 2.75 GPA and a score minimum ACT score of 18 or minimum SAT score of 860 are eligible to apply. Submit a FAFSA to apply.
Tennessee HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant
This Tennessee financial aid program assists foster children pursuing post-secondary education. For more information, talk with your case worker or your financial aid office.
Dual Enrollment Grant
This program provides financial assistance to Tennessee students who are attending college classes that also count towards high school. Students interested must apply for the grant their junior and/or senior year before graduating. Click here for more information. Apply online here.
Tennessee HOPE Scholarship
This Tennessee financial aid program is available to Tennessee freshmen students who scored at least 21 on their ACT or 980 on their SAT and have at least a 3.0 GPA.
General Assembly Merit Scholarship
Students who receive the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship may be eligible to receive this supplemental scholarship award of $1,000. To qualify, students must have earned at least a 3.75 GPA and scored at least a 29 on the ACT or a 1280 on the SAT.
Students who receive the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship may be eligible to receive this supplemental scholarship award of $1,500. To qualify, students and their parents or spouses can only have a $36,000 minimum adjusted gross income.
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program
This scholarships is available to Tennessee resident students who earned at least a 3.5 GPA and scored at least a 24 on the ACT or 1090 on the SAT.
Ned McWherter Scholars Program
This Tennessee financial aid program was designed to keep high achieving Tennessee students in Tennessee. To be eligible, students must have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA and scored at least a 29 on the ACT or at least a 1280 on the SAT.
Dependent Children Scholarship Program
Dependent children of Tennessee police officers, firemen, or emergency personnel who were killed or permanently disabled in action are eligible for this scholarship.
Christa McAuliffe Scholarship Program
This $500 scholarship was created in honor of Christa McAuliffe who died in the Challenger accident. Students must have atleast a 3.5 GPA and be committed to educating young people to qualify.
Minority Teaching Fellows Program
Tennessee minority students who are pursuing teaching careers in Tennessee may qualify for this $5,000 per year fellowship. The deadline is April 15.
Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program
Juniors, seniors, or graduate students who are enrolled in teacher education programs in Tennessee are eligible to receive this scholarship.
Graduate Nursing Loan-Forgiveness Program
This Tennessee financial aid program offers assistance to registered nurses in Tennessee who would like to pursue further education to become teachers or administrators.
Tennessee Math & Science Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Tennessee students pursuing graduate degrees in math or science, or teaching certification in those areas, are eligible to participate in this program. Students must agree to commit two years for every one year of loan forgiveness.
Tennessee Rural Health Loan Forgiveness Program
Tennessee students who are studying to be health professionals may be eligible to apply to participate in this program. There are only a specific number of spots available each year. For the 2009-2010 school year, only 50 spots are available. For loans to be forgiven, students in the program must agree to practice one year in Tennessee for every year of participation in the program.
Individual University and College Scholarships
Tennessee university and college scholarships are given based on merit, need, special ability, major, and a combination of these criteria. Merit-based scholarships for freshmen are usually offered through the admissions office. Students need only submit their application for admission on time. Scholarships based on other criteria, such as major or special ability, may require separate applications. Application processes usually differ from school to school, and may differ for freshmen students and continuing students. Check with your school’s financial aid or scholarship office to see what is required of you.
Outside Scholarships for Tennessee Students
Another type of Tennessee financial aid comes from foundations, businesses, and professional groups. Here’s a list of just some of the available programs:
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Award: 60 scholarships
Requirements: Vary depending on scholarship
Deadline: March 15
Tennessee Hospitality Association
Award: $500 scholarship
Requirements: This program supports students who are pursuing degrees in hosptiality and lodging.
Deadline: See website for current deadline.
Application: Nominations must be selected by faculty members at participating institutions.
East Tennessee Foundation
Award: 28 scholarships
Requirements: Vary depending on scholarship
Application: See website for applications or call 1-877-524-1223 for hard copies.
Tennessee Society for Respiratory Care
Award: $500 scholarships
Requirements: Students enrolled in respiratory care programs in Tennessee are eligible. A paper on respiratory care or a related topic is required.
Deadline: Usually in March.
Three Things to Remember About Tennessee Scholarships and Financial Aid
- Remember that state FAFSA deadlines are the year before the year you are requesting aid for. Be sure to apply early. Federal student aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Tennessee offers a large number of state programs to help students pay for educational expenses. Check to make sure you don’t miss out on any.
- When applying for scholarships from businesses, foundations, or professional organizations, remember to start locally. Local scholarships may be easier to win than national scholarships.
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