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Financial Aid

Loan Information

What is a FEDERAL DIRECT Stafford Loan?

A loan backed by the federal government awarded to a student.

Do I have to pay back the Federal direct Stafford Loan?

Yes. Your payments will start after you graduate or drop below 6 hours per semester once your 6 month grace period has been exhausted.

What is the difference between a FEDERAL DIRECT subsidized loan and a FEDERAL DIRECT unsubsidized loan?

A subsidized loan does not start accruing interest until you graduate or drop below 6 hours during the semester. An unsubsidized loan starts accruing interest immediately, but you will only have the option to pay the interest every 3 months. After you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours, you will begin full repayment on the principal and interest once your 6 month grace period has been exhausted.

What is "entrance COUNSELING"?

First-time borrowers will be required to complete the Entrance Counseling online at:  https://studentaid.gov/

Do I have to go through the entrance COUNSELING each time I get a loan?

No. Entrance Counseling is for first-time borrowers at Tennessee Tech University only. If you previously completed one for another institution, it will be requested that you complete a new one for Tennessee Tech University.

What if I reject my loan on my award letter but later decide I need the loan?

Just come into the Financial Aid Office or email your request to financialaid@tntech.edu.

What is the interest rate on student loans?

Interest rates are no longer variable but fixed and are based on the type of loan and the first disbursement date of the loan.  Visit https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/interest-rates to view the interest rate information.

When will I go into repayment of my student loan?

Federal Direct Stafford Loans go into repayment after you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours once your 6 month grace period has been exhausted. If you decide to go on co-op, you will begin using your grace period and will go into repayment in 6 months. Perkins Loans will go into repayment 9 months after you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours.

What is a MASTER promissory note?

A legally binding document between you and the Department of Education. By signing the Master Promissory Note you are taking full responsibility for your loans. You must pay them back - Access the Master Promissory Note.

Will I need to complete a master promissory note each time I accept a student loan?

Not for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan. You should only sign one, the first time you begin borrowing Direct Loans. The Perkins Loans require a new Master Promissory note each time you receive a loan.

How many hours do I have to be registered for to receive a student loan?

At least 6 credit hours for undergraduates and 5 credit hours minimum for graduate students.

Can anyone get a student loan?

Yes, if you apply for it (FAFSA) and are not in default of a previous student loan. What type of loan you are offered will depend on your financial need. Graduate students are NOT eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans.

How do I apply for a student loan?

The first step is filing a FAFSA. Please see the section entitled Complete a FAFSA.

What if I go into default on my student loan(s)?

You will be ineligible for further financial aid, the federal government will keep any tax refunds, and your wages can be garnished. It will be hard to obtain other loans such as mortgages, auto loans, etc. Don't default!

Who is my loan servicer?

Federal Direct Loan borrowers may go to http://studentaid.gov/ to view details concerning who their loan servicer is, as well as, additional information on those loans.

How do I defer my federal direct Stafford loan(s)?

You will need to contact your loan servicer and request an in-school deferment if you are unsure who your loan servicer is, this information is provided for you at http://studentaid.gov/. Once you have contacted your loan servicer, they will provide you with an in-school deferment form and instruction on how to proceed. If enrollment verification is required by your loan servicer contact the Tennessee Tech Office of the Registrar. You may also refer your loan servicer to service@studentclearinghouse.org if additional information is needed.

I will graduate soon and I have had federal direct student loans, do I have to do anything special?

Yes. You need to complete Exit Counseling.

What is exit counseling?

This is a short session that explains to you that your loan is about to go into re-payment and what you need to do about it. You can complete Exit Counseling online at http://studentaid.gov

What happens if I have a federal direct student loan and then drop below 6 credit hours in a semester?

The Financial Aid Director will determine if any money is owed back to the school and you will be notified of the amount you must repay, if any. Next, you must complete Exit Counseling.

Do I need a co-signer?

A co-signer is not required for Federal Direct Stafford Loans. One may be required for an Alternative Loan acquired through a private lender.

How do I find out the status of my Parent PLUS or alternative student loan?

To check the status of alternative loans you can contact Geneva Phillips (gphillips@tntech.edu). To check the status of PLUS loans, check your Eagle Online account.

If you have any questions concerning Alternative, Federal Direct Stafford or PLUS loans, please contact Geneva Phillips at gphillips@tntech.edu.

If you have any questions about these topics: Entrance Counseling, Exit Counseling, Master Promissory Note or Direct Loan Consolidation - here is the link with all the information to assist you: https://studentaid.gov/

To locate your Loan Servicer: http://studentaid.gov/


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Missing Information

What is a Missing Information Notification?

An e-mail sent to the student from the Financial Aid Office requesting documentation needed to complete the processing of their financial aid file.

What do I do if I receive a Missing Information Notification?

Respond as quickly as possible in getting the information being requested back to the Financial Aid Office. Be sure that all documents are complete, signed and include the student's name and T# (Tech ID).

I turned in a copy of my W-2s but the Missing Information Notification is asking for a copy of my tax return, why?

The Financial Aid Office needs a copy of your tax return, not just a copy of the W-2s. If you are required to use your parents' income, you will also need to submit a copy of their tax return.

If my parents did not claim me or if I did not live with them, why do I have to use their income information?

If you cannot answer YES to one of the 13 dependency questions on the FAFSA, FEDERAL GUIDELINES state that you are considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. It does not matter whether your parent(s) claimed you on their federal tax return or whether you lived in the same household with them.


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Non-Degree Programs

Students sometimes choose an undeclared major (non-degree program) when entering college. These programs consist of, but may not be limited to, General Curriculum, Basic Business, and Basic Engineering. Federal regulations stipulate that a student must be in a degree-seeking program to be eligible for any Title IV (federal) aid.   While students are eligible to receive federal aid for these programs for up to a total of 59 earned hours, they must meet with their advisor to choose their major once they are nearing 60 earned hours.   When a student hits 60 earned hours and is in a non-degree program, there will be a hold placed on their financial aid until they are able to declare a major.  The student will then need to notify the Financial Aid Office once their major has been changed.  Advisors are provided a list of students who are reaching their limit of earned hours for a non-degree program.


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Dependency Issues

Do I have to use my parent's income on the FAFSA?

All applicants for federal student aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent.” Dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA. By answering a few questions, you can get a good idea of which category you fit into.

    • Will you be 24 or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
    • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)?
    • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
    • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
    • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
    • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
    • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
    • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
    • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

If none of the criteria listed above apply to you, you may be considered a dependent student and may be required to provide your parents’ financial information when completing the FAFSA. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be an independent student. You may not be required to provide parental information on your FAFSA.

If you have questions about your dependency status or need more information, please visit www.StudentAid.gov/dependency.


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Disbursements

What is the method by which financial assistance disbursements will be made to students and what is the frequency of those disbursements?

Original financial aid awards are based on the fall/spring academic year and the assumption that you will be full-time if you are an undergraduate student and three-quarter-time if you are a graduate student. For financial aid purposes, your enrollment status is determined as follows (excluding audit courses):

    • full-time status is 12 UG credit hours or more if you are an undergraduate student and 9 GR credit hours or more if you are a graduate student
    • three-quarter status is 9-11 UG credit hours if you are an undergraduate student and 6-8 GR credit hours if you are a graduate student
    • half-time status is 6-8 UG credit hours if you are an undergraduate student and 5 GR credit hours if you are a graduate student

If you enroll for less than 12 credit hours as an undergraduate or less than 6 hours as a graduate student, some types of aid may be reduced or cancelled. A student’s total aid package cannot exceed their cost of attendance.

Undergraduate students who are in their final graduating term during a fall semester will have federal loans pro-rated based on their exact number of credit hours taken during that term. This is a federal requirement and could result in a larger or smaller amount of loan eligibility. It is the graduating student’s obligation to notify us if their hours change after the award has been processed.

If you drop credit hours, stop attending class, or withdraw from all classes during the semester, you may be required to repay a part (or all) of the money you received. Remember, if a student’s financial aid is adjusted for part time and the student then adjusts hours to full time, it is the student’s responsibility to contact our office for aid to be adjusted.

With rare exceptions, aid will disburse half for fall and half for spring. Students who have a complete financial aid file and credit balance due to excess financial aid can have the funds directly deposited to their bank account on or after regular Registration Day or can receive an excess aid check shortly after the term begins. Visit Bursar refunds information to sign up for Direct Deposit.


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Using Excess Aid for Books & Supplies

Can excess financial aid funds be used for books and supplies at the university bookstore?

During the two weeks prior to the start of each term, with the exception of the summer term, students may use their excess financial aid funds at the Tennessee Tech Barnes and Noble bookstore.

Please contact the book store for assistance with this process: TN Tech Barnes and Noble Bookstore.


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Award Email Notifications

I received an award notification email, what should I do?

Please carefully review your awards on-line and the link to IMPORTANT INFORMATION that is provided. The "Important Information" link contains valuable details that will probably answer most of your questions. Once you have reviewed your information, please accept or reject each award that is in an OFFERED status. The awards in an ACCEPTED status do not require any response from you.

How do I know if this is enough money?

The amounts in your award notification are listed for the academic year. To determine if you have been offered enough money, you will need to compare what you have been offered to your university bill on Eagle Online. If you have not yet registered for classes, you will not have a bill yet. You may view the estimated student budget by checking out our Cost of Attendance Page.

How many hours is my financial aid based on?

Financial aid amounts on your eagle online account are based on you being full time (12 hours or more for an undergraduate and 9 or more hours for a graduate student). If you plan to take less hours than that please email the financial aid office as soon as possible, since the amount of your awards may change.

What should I do if I haven't heard anything since I turned in all of my paperwork to your office?

If you are in school now, you will not receive an award notification for the upcoming fall term until after spring grades are posted around the middle of May. If you are a first time freshman, you should check your application status on Eagle Online to see if we are waiting on information from you or if any information that has already been submitted is incomplete or needs further attention.

Why is my scholarship not listed online?

We have all the scholarship information our office has received posted on student accounts. It is probable that we have not yet received information on your scholarship. For community or outside scholarships, contact Claudette Venters at cventers@tntech.edu. For Tennessee Tech University scholarship questions, contact us at financialaid@tntech.edu. For questions about the HOPE scholarship please contact Shannon Strahan at sstrahan@tntech.edu or by phone at 372-3077.

Put your T # on all correspondence with our office.

What happens after I accept my awards on eagle online?

You must confirm your schedule. If your financial aid is more than what you owe Tennessee Tech, you can confirm your schedule as soon as we note in the computer that you have accepted your awards. If your financial aid pays only a portion of your university bill, you need to pay the balance by the confirmation deadline to confirm your schedule.

When do I get my money?

If it happens that the credits to your student account from financial aid are more than what you owe Tennessee Tech, you may receive excess aid from the business office. Excess aid cannot be disbursed until regular Registration day, and may be subject to specific disbursement rules if you are a first time borrower, or if you take a loan for one semester only. Regular Registration day is the day before classes start for the semester.

Do I pay to file my FAFSA?

SCAM ALERT: Students and parents need to be aware of financial aid scams that generally take place throughout the year. A family should be extremely wary of any company that charges money in order to process a financial aid application for you. Remember that the FAFSA ( Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a FREE application. Neither the US Department of Education nor Tennessee Technological University works with any company or organization that would require a family to pay to apply for federal financial aid.


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Study Abroad

Can I receive financial aid while studying abroad?

A student’s enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home institution may be considered enrollment at the home institution for the purpose of applying for assistance under the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs. For more information about financial aid and the study abroad program, contact us! Financial Aid Contact Information

Where can I get more information about the study abroad program at Tennessee Tech?

Learn more about theT ennessee Tech Study Abroad program.


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