Financial Aid

State and Federal Aid Programs

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.

General Eligibility Requirements:
  • Need Based Program - based on FAFSA data
  • Must be enrolled in Degree or Approved certificate Program
  • Must be U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Undergraduate
  • Meeting SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress)
  • Not in default of student loan or owe a federal repayment

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federally subsidized program, whereby direct gift aid is awarded to undergraduate students with the lowest EFC and as determined by the FAFSA. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded as a part of the student financial award package.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs

Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan

Awarded on the basis of financial need. The federal government pays your interest while you are in school, for the first six months after you leave school, and if you qualify to have your payments deferred.

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Not awarded on the basis on financial need. The federal government does not pay the interest. You are responsible for paying the interest on an unsubsidized loan while in school, during the 6 month grace period, during deferment periods and during repayment. You have the option of postponing interest payments while in school. However, be advised that the interest continues to accrue and any unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the principal of loan) as you enter repayment.

Annual Loan Limits Per Academic Year

Freshman $3,500
Sophomore $4,500

Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loan)

Parents of dependent undergraduate students with a good credit history may apply for the PLUS loan. Loan amount cannot exceed cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Repayment starts within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.

How to Apply

  1. Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov
  2. You must be attending at least half-time status (6 credit hours eligible for Title IV purposes) in order to be eligible to receive a student loan.

Federal Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) 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.

Students who qualify for the work-study program may be awarded up to 20 hours of work per week during the academic year and up to 37.5 hours of work per week during holiday or vacation periods. The average work load will be 10 hours or less per week and will be a part of their financial aid package.

Part-time employment is available on the campus in such areas as the library, laboratories, maintenance department, and faculty and administration offices.

Tennessee Student Assistance Awards

The Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) 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 and complete a FAFSA application to be considered for the TSAA award.

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 1 for the upcoming fall term.

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, Tennessee Hope Access Grant and the Non-Traditional Hope Scholarship.

The Lottery Scholarship requirements are subject to change each July 1, pending legislative ruling.

For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the HOPE Scholarship.

General eligibility requirements for each program include:

HOPE Scholarship
Applicants must submit a FAFSA, have an ACT Composite of at least 21 or a weighted high school GPA of at least 3.0 and graduate from a Tennessee High School OR have a HSE score of at least 525 and an ACT Composite of at least 21. Home school students must have a 21 ACT Composite to be considered.
Aspire Award
Applicants must meet the general eligibility requirements for HOPE and the parents' or independent student's and spouse's adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less on IRS tax form for the appropriate year.
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
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.
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:
    1. Achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, or
    2. 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 – whichever occurs first
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 hours; 12 hours if eligible on the provisional basis
  • Unofficial Withdrawals will effect your lottery scholarship eligibility
  • Changing your enrollment status from full-time to part-time during any semester, whether you are receiving HOPE or whether you are trying to regain your eligibility, will adversely affect your lottery scholarship eligibility for future terms.

Appeal Policy

If a student is deemed ineligible for TELS funding due to a change in enrollment status, they may appeal in writing to the Appeals Panel. Documentation of special circumstances (such as: personal illness, family emergency, etc.) that led to the status change is required.

Click here to obtain a Lottery Scholarship Appeal Form. After completion of this form, turn it into the Financial Aid Office for processing.

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 receive 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’s Services to identify recipients.

Diversity Grants

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. Students receive Diversity Grants in a specified amount based on their enrollment status. The student must submit a FAFSA application for consideration for the Diversity Grant and must maintain Academic Satisfactory Progress standards.