The purpose of financial aid is to help students who, without such aid, would find it difficult or impossible to attend the College. The College adheres to a nationally established policy and philosophy of financial aid for education. The basis of this policy is that students and parents have the primary responsibility for financing an education.
Students with questions may contact the Tennessee College of Applied Technology's Financial Aid Office.
Financial aid programs are intended to supplement the efforts of the student and/or the student's family to self-finance the desired program of training/education. To demonstrate financial need, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information reported on the FAFSA is used in a formula, established by the federal government, to calculate a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an amount of money the student and student's family are expected to pay toward the student's education. The EFC is used by the Financial Aid Office to determine a student's financial need.
Financial Aid Awards are calculated on an academic year basis. An academic year is for a 12-month period beginning each July 1 and ending each June 30. Renewal of financial aid is not automatic; students must file a new FAFSA each year.
All interested students are encouraged to apply for financial aid. To qualify, the individual must meet the eligibility requirements specified by the training program in which the student is enrolled. In general, a student is eligible for Federal and/or State aid if you meet the following requirements:
General Procedures for applying
Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA application as soon as possible after October 1st each year.
Pell Grant- The FAFSA must be received by the processor no earlier than October 1st and no later than June 30th of the following year. All required forms must be received by the Financial Aid Office by June 30th or your last day of enrollment, whichever comes first.
Tennessee Promise- Before November 1 for new applicants (Fall before the graduating high school senior graduates) and before February 1 of each year after.
Tennessee Reconnect- Same deadlines as Wilder Naifeh Technical Skills Grant listed below.
Wilder Naifeh Technical Skills Grant- Students must have a processed FAFSA on or before the following deadline dates to be eligible for the award. Students whose applications are processed after the deadline date may be eligible for the WNTSG for subsequent terms.
Fall term deadline-November 1st /Spring term deadline - March 1st/Summer term deadline- July 1st
Tennessee Student Assistant Award- Due to funding limitations, the TSAA is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and is based on the FAFSA completion date. Therefore, students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Prior-year recipients (renewals) will receive the award if they meet all eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA on or before January 17. After January 17, remaining funds will be awarded to the neediest applicants who apply by January 17 based on the availability of funds. Awards are made until funds are depleted.
Additional Rules and Requirements for the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant
Eligibility: To be eligible to receive funds from the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant (WNTSG) a student must meet the following eligibility requirements in addition to those listed above.
Note: Students may enroll as full-time or part-time. There is no income limit for eligibility. Students may receive the WNTSG for all coursework required for completion of the certificate or diploma.
Calculation of WNTSG Award: The maximum WNTSG award may vary from year to year. This amount is subject to availability of funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program. The WNTSG funds will be paid each term in the academic year. The amount of the award will be prorated based on the number of scheduled hours for each term. The amount of the award will be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.
Receipt of student financial aid from other sources will not reduce the WNTSG award if the student’s total aid does not exceed the total cost of attendance. If a student’s total aid exceeds the cost of attendance, the school shall, to the extent it does not violate applicable federal regulations, reduce the excess by reducing the student’s WNTSG.
Retention of WNTSG Award: To continue to be eligible for WNTSG funds a student must meet the following requirements:
Note: Once the student becomes ineligible for WNTSG for any reason, the student shall not be eligible to regain the WNTSG.
Federal Pell Grant
A Federal Pell Grant is an award to help undergraduates pay for their education after high school. For the Federal Pell Grant Program, an undergraduate is one who has not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. The amount of Pell Grant received is calculated based on the student’s expected family contribution.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
A Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need, as determined by the College. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients with a zero EFC. The amount of the FSEOG award is $200.00 per payment period. Students with a 4-year degree are not eligible.
Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
The FWS program provides part-time jobs for students who have financial needs. Students will generally work on-campus after class in staff support jobs. Funds and job availability are limited.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology Reconnect Scholarship
The Tennessee Reconnect Grant is a last-dollar grant that pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid have been applied.
Tennessee Promise Scholarship
Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in Tennessee. It provides students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by other state and federal financial aid.
Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA)
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program (TSAA) 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.
Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant (WNTSG)
The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant is a part of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program. The WNTSG is a grant that is available only to Tennessee residents that attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
The Institutional Review Panel (IRP) is established for the purpose of hearing appeals from decisions denying or revoking an applicant’s Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, TCAT Reconnect Grant, or Tennessee Promise Scholarship. Students may appeal loss of state aid resulting from non-continuous enrollment for one or more trimesters.
The IRP will be designated by the institution administrator and may be composed of, but not limited to, the following: one faculty member, one administrator and one support staff. The IRP should always be of an odd number of members. An alternate will be designated for any IRP member who is personally involved in a particular case or is otherwise unable to attend. One of the IRP members will be appointed the committee chair. No eligible institution official rendering a decision to deny or revoke a WNTSG/TCAT Reconnect/TN Promise award shall participate in the appeal process.
** Loss of eligibility due to failure to maintain satisfactory progress cannot be appealed. **
A student wishing to appeal must submit the TCAT Appeal/Leave of Absence Request form along with supporting documentation to the financial aid office. All appeals/leaves of absence requests will be reviewed by the IRP.
The IRP may review the student’s appeal with or without a hearing and shall decide no later than fourteen (14) calendar days after the student properly files an appeal. Under no circumstances should an individual approve or deny an appeal received from a student.
The IRP shall render a written decision no later than seven (7) calendar days after considering an appeal, except for exigent circumstances.
Students are notified via campus email, upon a decision from the IRP. The notification must include the IRP’s determination as well as reason(s) supporting the decision. A copy of the notification must be retained in the student’s record.
A student seeking an appeal of a decision rendered by the IRP shall request in writing an appeal outlining the basis for the appeal with the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation TELS Award Appeals Panel within 45 calendar days from the date the decision was delivered to the student.
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology is approved to provide training to students who have been determined eligible for the following benefit programs: Veterans Administration programs, Veteran Readiness and Employment Benefits, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) WIOA program, and others. Eligibility determination must be established by agencies outside the College. Eligible students are normally referred to the College by the appropriate program agency.
These benefits assist eligible veterans and dependents of veterans by providing educational benefits through the Veterans Administration. Eligible veterans and dependents of veterans should meet with the campus VA Certifying Official prior to enrollment to complete application requirements. See the Veterans Assistance section of the Student Handbook for additional program details.
The Tennessee Department of Vocational Rehabilitation provides funds for students who are physically or mentally impaired and can demonstrate that they may benefit from training. Eligibility should be established prior to enrollment.
Eligible students may receive federal assistance for books and supplies, transportation, and daycare services. Students should be assessed and certified by the WIOA office prior to their enrollment.
The United States Department of Education directs schools to determine costs associated with attendance to determine the amount of financial aid for which a student may be eligible. The Cost of Attendance (COA) estimates a student’s educational expenses for a period of academic enrollment. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), defines the COA components for all federal student aid (FSA) programs in section 472.
The COA is established each award year for the academic year. COA components include allowances for estimated costs for tuition/fees, books/course materials/supplies/equipment, transportation, living expenses, personal expenses and licensure/professional certification, if applicable. These are basic COA components for all students; other cost categories may be included in a student’s COA, based on individual circumstances.
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Section 479A provides that aid administrations may use Professional Judgement on a case-by-case basis for special or unusual circumstances.
A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. The Financial Aid Office considers all such requests and communicates options to all students by publicly disclosing the opportunity to request adjustments based on special or unusual circumstances to all students on the institution’s financial aid webpage.
In keeping with federal grant regulations, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology pays federal grant funds in increments called payment periods. Payment periods are defined by regulation and are determined by your program length and academic year. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology will apply a portion of each payment period’s grant funds to pay estimated direct school costs (tuition/fees/books) for the payment period. If there are funds remaining after those costs are paid, you will receive a residual check or direct deposit (if authorized by the student) for the unused portion, which can be used to pay indirect school costs. Since tuition/fee costs are assessed by academic term (trimester) and payment periods may span more than one academic term, tuition/fee costs are estimated on the front-end. Grant funds will be credited to a student’s account or disbursed by direct deposit or check to the student approximately one month after the beginning of the term for students who enroll at the beginning of the term. For students who enroll later in the term, residual checks or direct deposit will be disbursed no later than the end of the term. Checks are mailed directly to students, if not direct deposited.
All disbursements represent payment made in advance of training. Students must successfully complete the hours and weeks in the payment period before they can receive disbursement for subsequent payment periods. In addition, if you withdraw or graduate before completing the hours you have been paid for you are at risk for overpayment with the Department of Education and may owe money to the school.
Graduating early - students that complete all program requirements and graduate without completing the scheduled clock hours on which their Title IV financial aid disbursement is based, a recalculation of aid may be required that is based on the number of clock hours completed in the payment period. The recalculation may then result in a billing to the student's account.
The SAP policy applies to students eligible for either Federal or State financial aid and to all students within various categories (full time, part-time, different programs of study, etc.).
A. To make satisfactory progress a student must meet both qualitative and quantitative standards as defined below:
B. Satisfactory progress will be evaluated at the expected end of a student’s payment period. If the student fails to make satisfactory progress, the student will be placed on financial aid warning for the next payment period. If the student fails to make satisfactory progress for the next payment period, financial aid will be suspended. There is no appeal process for financial aid satisfactory progress. To reestablish financial aid eligibility, a student must make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation date.
C. Remedial Courses - Any courses considered ‘remedial’ are included in the student’s normal program of study and are included in the students SAP calculation.
D. Program Changes - Changes in program will not affect SAP because a student will then have a new program length and new payment periods.
E. Transfer Credit - Students who receive credit for hours completed for previous education (other institutions, life experience, work credit, dual enrollment, etc.) will have their program length reduced. A student that receives transfer credit will have a maximum timeframe calculated based on the reduced program length. Transfer credits are not included in the GPA calculation nor the cumulative hours of completion.
Program Repeats - Any student who completes an entire clock hour program and later re-enrolls to take that same program again or to take another program may be paid for repeating coursework regardless of the amount of time between completion of the first program and beginning the same program or another program.
Course Repeats - The repeated course grade will be counted along with the previously assigned grade. Repeated course hours will count toward total cumulative hours (pace of progression).
G. Withdrawals will not impact a student’s satisfactory academic progress unless they return within 180 days.
Reentry within 180 days - A student who withdraws from a clock hour or credit hour non-term program and reenters within 180 days is considered to remain in the same payment period when he/she returns and, subject to conditions imposed by ED, is eligible to receive FSA funds for which he/she was eligible prior to withdrawal, including funds that were returned under R2T4 rules. The repeated course grade will be counted along with the previously assigned grade. Repeated course hours will count toward total cumulative hours (pace of progression).
Reentry after 180 days and transfer students - Generally, you must calculate new payment periods for a clock hour or credit hour non-term program for:
* Note: SAP Must be evaluated at the point of reentry regardless of the length of time between enrollments. If the student’s previous hours + the number of hours required to complete the program is greater than the maximum number of hours, then the student is not eligible for Title IV aid.
For example – A student enrolls in Welding (1296-hour program) and completes 700 hours. Student returns 2 years later. Instructor requires student to retake entire program. Student could not complete the program in 150% (1944 hours) as 1296 +700 = 1996 hours. Therefore, this student would not be eligible for Title IV aid upon re-entry.
H. Incompletes An incomplete “I” grade is not utilized at the TCAT. The TCAT issues a grade of CONT. CONT is awarded when a student completes clock hours within a term for a course but is not able to complete all clock hours for a specific course. This grade simply denotes that the student is continuing the course into the next trimester, and the remaining clock hours for the course will be included in the overall clock hours for the next trimester. The CONT does not mean the student did not complete the scheduled hours in the trimester, only that all hours were not completed for a course. The CONT grade is not included in the GPA calculation. Once a course is completed and a grade entered, that grade is factored into a student’s GPA. The attended hours associated with a CONT grade are factored into a student’s PACE of completion.
I. Maximum Time Frame (this is for maximum timeframe only, cannot pay more than 100% of student’s program length). Students may continue to receive State Aid at the pace of 67% or greater until they have been enrolled 150% of their scheduled hours.
Students will be notified via campus email of any evaluations (warnings or suspensions) that impact eligibility of Title IV or State aid. Institutions may also use additional forms of communication, such as direct mailing or text messaging (for those who voluntarily authorize use of texting) to help ensure students are aware of their SAP statuses.
For rare and unusual circumstances, a student may request a leave of absence (LOA) to continue eligibility for WNTSG/TN PROMISE/TCAT RECONNECT. A LOA may be approved for documented medical or personal reasons, such as serious extended illness of the student, serious extended illness or death of an immediate family member, extreme financial hardship of the student or the student’s immediate family, or other extraordinary circumstances that are beyond the student’s control where continued enrollment creates a substantial hardship.
Students requesting leave of absence (LOA) must do so through the Institutional Review Panel (IRP) using the TCAT Appeal/Leave of Absence Request form along with supporting documentation. A student may submit a written request in advance for a leave of absence unless an unforeseen circumstance prevents the student from doing so.
The student will be readmitted as space is available upon completion of the LOA. An approved LOA will be treated as a withdrawal for all financial aid programs other than the WNTSG/TN PROMISE/TCAT RECONNECT. This may cause awards to be recalculated and a Return of Title IV funds calculation must be done.
In the event a student did not submit an LOA in advance, but re-enrolls at the institution, they may be eligible to submit an appeal request and supportive documentation to the IRP.
If the Institutional Review Panel denies a student’s request for an appeal/leave of absence, the student has the right to appeal the decision with the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation TELS Award Appeals Panel within 45 calendar days of the date on the decision letter.
When the total amount of the Title IV grant assistance earned as of the withdrawal date exceeds the amount disbursed to the student, the difference is treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement. Following a R2T4 calculation, an institution follows the process outlined below if a post-withdrawal disbursement is required.
If a post-withdrawal disbursement is required, the institution credits a student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV grant funds. The Accounts Receivable office obtains a student’s authorization to credit for any charges other than tuition and mandatory fees. If the student does not provide this authorization, the funds are offered, and the student is notified he or she may have a remaining balance with the institution. Up to $200 in Title IV aid can be applied for charges incurred during the prior award year. Authorization is not required in this scenario unless a portion of the charges are educationally related but not tuition and mandatory fees.
The institution credits the student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement for current charges within 30 days of the date of determination. Disbursement of any amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds is made as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of the school’s determination that the student withdrew and no later than 14 days after the account is credited. Since the institution does not process federal loan funds, the school is not required to obtain student permission prior to disbursement.
The institution provides disbursements to individuals via check or direct deposit. Disbursements are handled according to the institution’s disbursement policy. In accordance with guidance provided in Volume 5 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook, the institution does not require individuals to pick up post-withdrawal disbursements in person. Disbursement checks are mailed in the event requests are made.
Any unearned Title IV funds for which the school is responsible must be returned within 45 days after the date the school determined that the student withdrew.
Members of the United States Armed Services, National Guard, or Armed Forces Reserves receiving a WNTSG/TN PROMISE/TCAT RECONNECT who are mobilized for active duty during a term that is already in progress shall be granted a personal leave of absence and shall not have their eligibility negatively impacted.
The hours attempted during the term will not be taken into consideration for purposes of satisfactory progress for determining future eligibility of WNTSG/TNPROMISE/TCAT RECONNECT. The student’s WNTSG/TN PROMISE/TCAT RECONNECT eligibility will resume as if no break in enrollment has occurred if the student re-enrolls within one year following their return from the mobilization.
A student whose spouse, child, or parent is mobilized for active duty may also request a personal leave of absence. The same provisions as above will apply in these situations.
Students requesting Military Mobilization LOA must do so through the Institutional Review Panel (IRP) using the TCAT Appeal/Leave of Absence Request form along with supporting documentation. A student may submit a written request in advance for a leave of absence unless an unforeseen circumstance prevents the student from doing so.
For all other financial aid programs, including Title IV and Veteran’s Education Benefits, the LOA will be treated as a withdrawal. Accordingly, awards will be recalculated and in some cases a Return of Title IV funds calculation may be necessary.
Financial aid is used first for direct education costs, tuition, and fees. Therefore, if a student withdraws and is scheduled to receive a refund of fees, all or part of this refund will be used to reimburse the financial aid programs from which the student received funds. Any student receiving financial aid will not receive a cash refund until all financial aid funds disbursed have been applied back to the respective accounts from which they were issued.
Return of Title IV Funds calculations apply for any student who:
If both above conditions apply to the student, the institution will perform a Return of Title IV funds calculation in addition to the TBR Refund of Maintenance Fee and Technology Fee calculation.
A Return of Title IV calculation is not required if the student received or was eligible to receive only FWS or State Grants. FWS funds are not included in a Return of Title IV calculation. For Return of Title IV and Maintenance Fee, the scheduled hours must be based on students' last day of attendance.
If a student completes all program requirements and graduates without completing the scheduled clock hours on which their Title IV financial aid disbursement is based, an R2T4 calculation is not required. This is the case even when a student completes less than 60% of the payment period. However, a recalculation of aid may be required that is based on the number of clock hours completed in the payment period. The recalculation may then result in a billing to the student’s account.
As an attendance-taking school, faculty members regularly enter attendance data. The withdrawal date for a student is determined according to the last day a student is marked as attending. For official withdrawals, the last date of attendance is used and instructors complete an Exit process that notifies the Student Service Office of the student’s change in enrollment. In regards to unofficial withdrawals, when a student is absent from class for three days consecutively without notification to the program instructor, that person is administratively withdrawn from class per TBR policy 2:03:01:05. On the day following the third no call no show absence, the instructor completes the student exit process, and the information is forwarded to the Student Services Office
Return of Title IV Funds Calculation
a. Note: Round to three decimal places when calculating percentages. Example: .4486 would be .449 or 44.9%
b. Divide the clock hours scheduled to have been completed as of the last day of attendance (withdrawal date) in the payment period by the total clock hours in the payment period
i. If this percentage is greater than 60%, the student has earned 100% of the Title IV aid, proceed to Step 3. (.6001 would be considered as greater than 60% even though when rounding the percent would be 60.0%, however, .5999 would be less than 60%).
ii. If this percentage is less than or equal to 60%, proceed to Step 3.
3. Determine the Amount of Title IV Aid Earned
a. Multiply the Percentage of Title IV Aid Earned from Step 2 times the total Title IV aid disbursed plus the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed for the payment period from Step 1.
4. Determine the Amount of Title IV Aid to be Disbursed or Returned
a. Compare the amount of Title IV aid earned to the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed for the payment period.
i. If the amount of Title IV aid earned is less than the amount of Title IV aid disbursed, the difference must be returned to the Title IV programs.
ii. If the amount of Title IV Aid earned is greater than the amount of Title IV aid disbursed, the difference must be offered to the student as a post-withdrawal disbursement.
5. Determine the Amount of Title IV Aid to be Returned by the School
a. Multiply the institutional charges for the payment period times the percentage of aid unearned (100% - % from Step 3). The school is responsible to return the lesser of the amount determined in Step 4 or Step 5.
i. Note: Tuition and Fees are always considered Institutional charges no matter how they were paid.
6. Return of Funds by the School
a. The school must return the unearned aid for which it is responsible by repaying funds to the following sources, in order, up to the total net amount disbursed from each source.
1. Pell Grant
2. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
3. Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant
b. The college does not participate in the FFEL GRAD/PLUS Loan or the Federal Direct Stafford Loan programs; therefore, they have been omitted from the above list.
7. Determine the Initial Amount of Title IV Aid to be Returned by the Student
a. Subtract the amount of Title IV aid due from the school from the amount of Title IV aid to be returned. (Amount from Step 5 minus amount from Step 4).
8. Determine the Amount of Title IV Grant Funds to be Returned by the Student
a. Amount of Title IV Grant protection: Multiply the total Title IV grant aid that was disbursed or could have been disbursed for the period of enrollment by 50%.
b. Title IV Grant funds for student to return: Subtract the protected amount of Title IV grants from the initial amount of Title IV grants for the student to return.
1. Pell Grant
2. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
3. Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant
Within 45 days of notice, the student must make full payment of the amount owed back to the federal government because of over payment or returns due to withdrawal or dismissal from the College. During this initial 45 days, the student must make payment to the school. If the student does not make payment in the full during the 45-day period, the student will lose eligibility for additional Title IV funds at any school.
After the 45-day period, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology will report the amount owed to the Department of Education and the student will be required to make payment arrangements with the Department of Education before being eligible to receive future Title IV assistance at any school.
Note that the student is not responsible for returning funds to any grant program to which the student owes $50.00 or less.
In most instances when a student has charged their maintenance and technology access fees to their Pell grant and withdraws prior to completing 60% of their scheduled hours for the payment period, the student will owe payment to the school. This will occur when the TBR policy determines that the student owes more than what he or she is eligible to keep in Title IV funds, as a result of the Return of Title IV calculation.
In these instances, the school will require payment of the difference from the student. A “HOLD” will be placed on the student’s account until full payment is made to the school. The student will not be allowed to apply for re-admission, register for class, or receive official copies of transcripts until the outstanding balance on their account is paid.
Student Rights. Students have the right to find out from the College the following: