The Office of Financial Aid at Tennessee Technological University (OFA) is committed to helping students achieve their educational goals in accordance with federal, state, and institutional policies. The following pages explain ways in which the OFA ensures compliance. We welcome all interested parties to view this catalog and are interested in feedback you have regarding its contents or presentation. You may provide such feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org Subject Line: 2018/19 Catalog Feedback.
Philosophy of Student Financial Aid and the OFA
The primary purpose of student aid is to provide financial resources to students who would otherwise be unable to pursue post-secondary education. To accomplish this stated purpose, the following is an outline of the Philosophy of the TTU Financial Aid Office.
- We will make every effort to meet the demonstrated needs of all students at TTU to the extent funding will permit in an ethical manner.
- We will award all aid on the basis of demonstrated financial need except where funds are specified for recognition of special talents.
- We will exercise adequate controls to insure that need-based awards do not exceed the documented need.
- We must recognize that the primary responsibility for financing post-secondary education rests with the student and his/her family. Financial assistance from TTU and other sources is only intended as supplementary to the efforts of the family.
- We will help students seek, obtain, and make the best use of all financial resources available.
- We will provide consumer information in a clear concise manner describing all Direct and Indirect costs.
- We will inform students of all conditions under which an award is granted at the time the offered award is made.
- We will refrain from and discourage others from making any public announcement of the amount or the type of financial aid awarded a student in order to protect the confidentiality of the economic circumstances of the student and his/her family.
- We will respect the confidentiality of student records. Information will be released only with the written or electronic consent of the student and/or his/her family.
- We will never administer aid to accomplish disciplinary objectives.
The OFA Principles of Financial Aid
The Financial Aid Office staff at Tennessee Tech University has adopted the following principles of student financial aid administration:
- The purpose of any financial aid program - institutional, governmental, or private - should be to provide monetary assistance to students who can benefit from further education but who cannot do so without such assistance. The primary purpose of a collegiate financial aid program should be to provide financial assistance to accepted students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend that University.
- Each University has an obligation to assist in realizing the national goal of equality of educational opportunity. The University, therefore, should work with schools, community groups, and other educational institutions in support of this goal.
- The University should publish budgets that state total student expenses realistically by including, where applicable, maintenance at home, commuting expenses, personal expenses, and necessary travel.
- Parents are expected to contribute according to their means, taking into account their income, assets, number of dependents, and other relevant information. Students themselves are expected to contribute from their own assets and earnings, including appropriate borrowing against future earnings.
- Financial aid should be offered only after determination that the resources of the family are insufficient to meet the student’s educational expenses. The amount of aid offered should not exceed the amount needed to meet the difference between the student’s total educational expenses and the family’s resources.
- The amount and type of self-help expected from students should be related to the circumstances of the individual. In the assignment of funds to those students designated to receive financial aid, the largest amounts of total grant assistance should go to students with the least ability to pay.
- The University should review its financial assistance awards annually and adjust them, if necessary to reflect changes in the financial needs of students and the expenses of attending the institution. The University has an obligation to inform students and parents of the financial aid renewal policies for enrolled students at the time of the initial offer of financial assistance.
- Because the amount of financial assistance awarded reflects the economic circumstances of students and their families, the University should refrain from any public announcement of the amount of aid offered and encourage students, their secondary schools, and others to respect the confidentiality of this information.
- All documents, correspondence, and conversations between and among aid applicants, their families, and financial aid officers are confidential and entitled to the protection ordinarily arising from a counseling relationship.
- Concern for the student should be paramount. Financial aid should be administered in such a manner that other interests, important though they may be, are subordinate to the needs of students.
Tennessee Tech University Policy & Procedure Manual
In order to remain compliant on all federal, state and institutional guidelines the OFA publishes a secondary publication, The OFA Policies & Procedures Manual. The P/P Manual may be reviewed on request from the OFA.
The Director of Financial Aid is responsible for compliance with Federal, State and Institutional Policies. The Policies and Procedures manual will be updated on a rolling basis. As policy decisions are changed and new processes become part of daily office functions, this manual will be updated as necessary. It is the responsibility of each staff member to report changes in his or area to ensure the accuracy of this manual.
Often members from other offices on campus will be affected by changes in policy or procedure within OFA. When this is the case, all affected staff will meet to discuss the best recourse of action and implantation of new policies and procedures. When necessary, policy and procedural changes will be routed to other offices for approval.
Financial Aid Processed
Tennessee Tech University invests substantial funds in institutional financial assistance to help make it possible for students who are admitted to the University to attend. Currently, approximately 79% of Tech students who applied for need based aid receive some form of federal, state, institutional, or outside financial assistance need-based assistance, with total assistance amounting to over $93,000,000.
Most aid awarded by the University is offered as a combination of grant, loan and student employment. Tech takes full advantage of the available federal and state financial assistance programs when awarding financial aid to students. Additionally, through the generosity of loyal alumni and other friends of the University, Tech students benefit from a generous competitive scholarship program.
COA: Cost of Attendance (tuition, fees, room, and board, estimated cost of books, estimated personal/living costs and estimated transportation costs). The term “Direct COA” only includes tuition, fees, and estimated costs for books and supplies. Room and board are included as “Direct COA” only for students who reside at or have purchased a meal plan through Tennessee Tech University.
EFC: Expected Family Contribution; the minimum amount a family is expected to contribute for the student’s education for a given academic year. The EFC is calculated by the FAFSA and assumes families will finance education utilizing current income, past savings, and student and/or parental borrowing.
Demonstrated Need: The difference between the COA and the EFC.
FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid; used in awarding federal and state grants and scholarships as well as loans and student employment.
SAP: Satisfactory Academic Progress: federal and institutional requirement that students must consistently progress toward completion of degree requirements; includes GPA and earned hours measured at the end of each academic year.
Financial aid APPLICATION PROCEDURES for prospective students
- Submit the FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) between October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018.
- The Title IV Code for Tech to receive the FAFSA results is 003523.
- All prospective students who want consideration for financial assistance must complete the FAFSA. This includes anyone wanting consideration for the State Lottery Scholarship Program.
- Notification of financial aid awards for admitted applicants will occur by mid-March, with admitted.
- Students accept or decline financial aid awards via their Eagle Online account.
Financial aid APPLICATION PROCEDURES for currently enrolled/returning students
Currently enrolled/returning students who wish to continue eligibility for need-based financial aid (and for the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships for Tennessee residents) must complete the FAFSA each year. Tech encourages students to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible between October 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019. Returning Tennessee students who qualified for the State grant (TSAA) in previous years must complete the FAFSA by March 1 to be considered for renewal.
The Department of Education will send renewal notices to students in October of each year via email.
Financial Aid Awards
If the results of the FAFSA reveal that a student has a financial need, Tech will normally offer the student a financial aid award that consists of gift aid (federal and state grants) and self-help (loans and student employment). Institutional funds, federal funds, state funds and funds provided to the student through outside organizations are all considered a part of the need-based financial aid package and are applied to need first, per federal regulations. The need-based programs commonly available at Tech are described here:
Federal Pell Grant (PELL): The federal government provides direct assistance to eligible students through the Federal Pell Grant Program. Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is determined by the results of the FAFSA. The maximum EFC to receive a Pell Grant is 5328.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded by Tech to students with exceptional financial need, defined as those students who are eligible for Pell Grant. SEOG funds are limited and are awarded until funds are exhausted.
Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA): Students who are residents of Tennessee apply for the TSAA via the FAFSA. To be eligible, a student must have graduated from a Tennessee high school, have been a continuous resident of Tennessee for the twelve-month period preceding the start of the academic year for which the grant is made, and have an EFC of $2100 and below (subject to change per state funding).
Returning students wishing to renew the award must complete the FAFSA before March 1st to remain eligible. Further information may be obtained from the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, Suite 1950, Parkway Towers, 404 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37243-0820. The phone number is (800) 342-1663 or (615) 741-1346. The web site is www.TN.gov/collegepays. The state of Tennessee is the final authority on eligibility for the program. Tech is not responsible for replacing lost state grant funding.
Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (HOPE): The state of Tennessee offers scholarships of up to $8,250 ($2250 per Fall, Spring and Summer and maximum supplemntal award is $1500) for Tennessee residents who attend an approved college or university in Tennessee. The FAFSA is the application for the TELS funding and must be completed by state-established deadlines, as indicated on FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. Information on all requirements for the TELS may be found at www.TN.gov/collegepaystn.com. The state of Tennessee is the final authority on eligibility for the program. Tech is not responsible for replacing lost state grant funding.
Federal Direct Student Loan Program (DIRSUB and DIRUNS): These federal loans up to $3,500 are available to first-year undergraduate students. Upon earning 30 credits, students may obtain loans up to $4,500 for the sophomore year, and, upon earning 60 credits, students may obtain loans of up to $5,500 per year for the remaining years of undergraduate study. Students may request an additional $2,000 per year in unsubsidized loan funds.
Student employment at Tech is the Federal Work Study Employment Program. When an offer of student employment of any type is extended by the University and accepted by the student, this offer does not guarantee that the student will earn the full amount of the award. The student will be paid only for the hours worked, and the award amount represents maximum gross wages a student may earn. Earnings are paid directly to the student; they are not credited to the student’s account in the Bursar’s Office. To receive a paycheck, a student employee must have an I-9 form and a W-4 form on file in the Human Resources Office.
Federal Work Study Employment Program (FWS): Through the Federal Student Employment Program, part-time employment is offered to students to help them meet their financial need. A student may earn no less than the prevailing minimum wage rate for an average of ten (10) hours per week while enrolled as a regular student during the academic year.
Withdrawal from Tech and Return of Funds
Return of Federal Title IV Student Aid: When a student who has Federal Title IV student aid withdraws from the University or does not return from an approved leave of absence, or takes an approved leave of absence for longer than 180 calendar days (including summer), the unearned portion of those funds must be returned to the federal student aid programs. Federal Title IV funds that may have to be returned include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Direct Loan, the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), the Federal Perkins Loan and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). The unearned portion of Federal Title IV funds is determined by dividing the number of days in the term that have passed as of the date of withdrawal (last date of class attendance) by the total number of days in the term. If the withdrawal occurs after 60% of the term has elapsed, no return of Title IV funds is required. The Office of Financial Aid calculates the Return of Title IV funds amount and informs the Bursar’s Office of the results of the calculation.
Federal regulations require funds be returned to federal programs in the following order: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, Subsidized Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Direct PLUS Loans. If funds remain after repaying all loan amounts, the remaining funds are repaid to Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG).
Return of State and Institutional Student Aid: When a student who has state and/or institutional student aid withdraws from the University or does not return from an approved leave of absence, or takes an approved leave of absence for longer than 180 calendar days (including summer), the University returns the unearned portion of those funds to the state and/or the University.
Student Financial Responsibility: Students and parents should be aware that the requirement to return Federal Title IV assistance and the policy to return state and institutional aid might result in a balance due to Tennessee Tech University; the student and/or student’s family is responsible for paying any balance resulting from the return of Title IV aid and state and institutional funds.
Financial need is not a consideration in awarding scholarships at Tech, with the exception of a number of scholarships whose donors require it. Federal regulations, however, do require that any assistance, including competitive scholarships, first apply towards the demonstrated need when awarding need-based aid.
All qualified applicants are considered for Tech’s competitive scholarships, if they complete the Institutional Application by the posted priority date of December 15 of the preceding year.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid at Tennessee Tech University to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress for the purpose of the receipt of financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The law requires institutions to develop policies regarding satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Each institution must design criteria which outlines the definition of student progress towards a degree and the consequences to the student if progress is not achieved. TTU students who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their selected course of study as set forth in this policy.
Tennessee Tech University Policy
The Office of Financial Aid evaluates student academic progress at the end of each Spring Semester for continuing students who have submitted a FAFSA for the new year and weekly thereafter as new FAFSA’s arrive. Students with transfer hours will be reevaluated as the Institution records those hours on the student’s transcript. Students are evaluated on the basis of three criteria: 1) grade point average (GPA.), 2) pace (PTERM), and 3) maximum time frame limitation (MAXHRS).
Please note that for SAP purposes, the Federal government requires that Tennessee Tech University use coursework completed at Tennessee Tech University in addition to transfer hours/courses that apply to your degree as outlined in your Academic Plan. Also, the Academic Fresh Start program is an institutional policy that is NOT considered for federal aid policy.
Criteria One – Qualitative - Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
To receive financial aid, a student must maintain a minimum qualitative measure of progress defined as cumulative G.P.A. as listed below:
- Freshmen must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 1.6
- Sophomores must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 1.8
- Juniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
- Seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
- Graduate Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
Criteria Two: Pace (PTERM)
In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, all students are required to complete 67% of the total credit hours attempted.
How to calculate PACE
Cumulative number of credit hours earned
Cumulative number of credit hours attempted
Criteria 3: Maximum Time Frame (MAXHRS)
Undergraduate students at Tennessee Tech University may attempt a maximum of 180 credit hours.
Additional requirements for renewal of federal (Title IV), state, and institutional aid, including Federal PLUS:
- Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in order to be eligible for any Title IV (except Pell Grant) or state assistance.
- Grades and cumulative earned credits are reviewed at the end of each academic year for all students, unless stated otherwise by the Director of Financial Aid.
Definitions and regulations concerning full-time student status, course schedule changes, unauthorized withdrawal from class, and removal of conditional grades are stated in other sections of the University Catalogue.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who are taking a reduced course load and who have received approval of full-time status will not be denied consideration for financial aid. The amount of aid awarded, however, will be reduced to the proportionate amount that corresponds with the student’s course load. For example, a minimum of twelve (12) credits per semester is required to receive student aid as a full-time student. If a student has received approval from the Disability Support Committee to be considered a full-time student for a course load of eight (8) credits in a given semester, the Tech-funded aid will be reduced to 2/3 of the amount it would have been if the student were taking twelve (12) or more credits. A course load of six (6) credits will always be considered to be half-time. No Tech-funded aid will be available to any student who is enrolled less than half-time.
Revision of Financial Aid Awards
Financial aid is dynamic and may change as new information becomes available to the Tech Office of Financial Aid. Any financial aid package is subject to revision (even during the academic year) for any of the following reasons:
- In the process of verifying the information the student/parent reported on the need analysis form(s) (FAFSA), an error is discovered which, when corrected, changes the student’s eligibility.
- A change in regulations governing federal or state programs occurs and requires an adjustment to be made.
- Funding levels in federal or state programs are reduced.
- The student receives additional financial assistance, including, but not limited to, outside scholarships, from a source not listed on the most recent award notification or on the Eagle Online.
- The student fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards for renewal of financial aid.
- The Financial Aid Office discovers any error, clerical or other, on an award.
- The student fails to complete required financial aid applications for need-based federal, state and institutional aid, including any documents required for verification of FAFSA information.
Please note that any aid reduced based on the above will not be replaced by Tech-funded grant.
Financial Aid for Study Abroad
Tech students enrolled in study abroad programs administered (sponsored) by Tech are eligible for competitive-based and need-based financial aid on the following basis:
- The total cost of such a program will be defined as tuition, participation fee (if any), an allowance for round trip airfare, a reasonable allowance for ground transportation in the foreign country, an allowance for room and board, books and required supplies and an allowance for incidental personal expenses. The student must report these costs to the Financial Aid Office via a Consortium Agreement.
- The expected family contribution will be calculated using the results of the FAFSA.
- All forms of financial aid for which the student would normally qualify will be applicable, such as campus-based Title IV and other Title IV funds, as well as any outside loans or scholarships the student might have.
- In cases where the total cost of the study abroad program is less than the total cost of a semester at Tech (as a resident student), the financial aid package will be based on the cost of the study abroad program.
- Tech students receiving financial assistance from the University who choose to participate in one of our exchange programs are considered to be Tech students. The financial aid awarded to the student to meet the costs of the exchange program are considered expended for the original length of the program. In other words, a student who elects to participate in a one year exchange program is considered to have been awarded two semesters of aid. If the student decides not to complete the full year of the program, the student should realize that two semesters of aid have been used, even though the entire program was not completed.
The above policies apply to study abroad programs that occur during the fall, spring and summer semesters of the academic year.
Students using federal or state aid for study abroad programs must complete a Consortium Agreement as described in the literature from the Study Abroad Office on campus.
A student transferring to Tech who is seeking financial assistance must submit an accurately completed FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) as early as possible in order to determine financial need for the upcoming year.
A transfer student shall be eligible for all forms of financial aid:
- the student’s previous college academic record is commensurate with the requirements for the award:
- Had the student entered Tech during the first year in college, such an award would have been awarded.
NOTE: The number of semesters for which a transfer student may receive Tech-funded aid is based on the classification of the student upon enrollment. For example, if a transfer student enrolls at Tech as a sophomore, that student may receive aid for a total of six (6) semesters. A student enrolling as a junior may receive of four semesters, and so forth.
- The main method of communication from the Financial Aid Office is to the student, via the student’s Tech-assigned email address. Students must communicate with parents concerning financial aid award information, requirements, etc.
- Most information about the student’s financial aid award(s), requirements for completing the financial aid process, costs of attendance, etc. may be found on Eagle Online. The Financial Aid Office does not mail paper award letters or “missing documents” letters home to Tech students.
- The total amount of Tech gift aid (scholarships, fellowships and/or grants) a student is eligible to receive may not exceed our direct cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, and/or board). If the total amount of Tech-funded gift aid exceeds the direct cost of attendance, a portion of the Tech gift aid will be reduced accordingly.
- A student may not receive gift aid (scholarships, fellowships and/or grants) from all sources (Tech, federal, state, private) in excess of the total cost of attendance at Tech (tuition, fees, room, board as well as an estimated allowance for books, transportation, and personal/living expenses). If the total amount of gift aid from all sources exceeds the total cost of attendance, Tech gift aid (scholarships, fellowships, and/or grants) will be reduced accordingly.
- All outside financial assistance or scholarships received by a student attending Tech must be reported to the Financial Aid Office, including the annual amount of the award and whether or not the award is renewable past the first year. Tech reserves the right to make adjustments in the financial aid package offered to students who receive assistance from other sources.
- Tech scholarships and grants are based on a normal course load (12 -18). Additional costs incurred by a student taking an overload will be incurred at that student’s expense.
- Recipients of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship(s) who begin enrollment in any term as a full-time student must maintain full-time status throughout the semester to continue receiving this award. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Appeals Committee prior to the student’s dropping below full-time status. Only medical and family emergency issues are considered for exceptions. More information may be found at: www.collegepaystn.com. Recipients of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship(s) must complete the FAFSA every year by the state-established deadline as printed on the FAFSA.
- Students who accept/decline financial aid awards via Eagle Online are electronically signing their award and agree to the terms of the financial aid package as listed in the Tennessee Tech University Catalogue, in other Tech publications, and on the Tech website.
- The following are the definitions for enrollment status for financial aid, including Tech scholarships and grants:
- Full Time: 12 credits or greater
- 3/4 Time: 9 - 11.99 credits
- 1/2 Time: 6 - 8.99 credits
- Less than 1/2 time: less than 6 credits
- The following are earned credit requirements which establish Federal Direct Loan amount eligibility:
- Less than 30 earned credits: Freshman-level Stafford Loan ($3,500)
- 30 to 59 earned credits: Sophomore-level Federal Stafford Loan ($4,500)
- 60 or more earned credits: Junior and Senior-level Federal Stafford Loan ($5,500)
Office Location and Hours
Jere Whitson Hall Room 302
Hours of operation: Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm