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Office of Financial Aid

Division of Student Affairs

Packaging is the process of awarding aid without exceeding the student’s financial need.  According to the Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 3, Chapter 7, the general rule is that the student’s total aid may not exceed the student’s financial need.  Need equals the Cost of Education (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Students apply for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).  The questions on the FAFSA are required to calculate the EFC.  The EFC measures the family’s financial strength and is used to determine eligibility for federal student aid.

The Cost of Attendance is based on the student’s enrollment status and the costs to attend school.  The COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (on or off-campus); allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care.  It also includes miscellaneous personal expenses.  The student’s financial aid package cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

For academic purposes, undergraduate full-time status is 12 credit hours; graduate full-time status is 9 credit hours.  Financial aid is awarded with the understanding that students will enroll in 12 or more credit hours.  Awards will be adjusted if students register for less-than full-time.

  • Cost of attendance and awards are based on the traditional fall/spring academic year. Both are adjusted if summer is added. 
  • Students may request to be evaluated for summer term around mid-February each year by submitting an ETSU Summer Aid Application. Read all the information when you receive an emailed or paper award notification.
  • Know your eligibility limits per semester and academic year, especially if summer funding is needed. Awards will be adjusted based on remaining eligibility. 
  • Students have the option of accepting or rejecting any portion of their award. When the award is accepted and electronic authorization of aid is given, the students have given their permission for accepted awards to be disbursed and credited to the students’ account at ETSU. 
  • Students must attend class regularly to receive financial aid.

Financial aid programs, rules, and regulations are subject to change.  Federal funds are conditional upon congressional appropriations.  The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right and is sometimes required to adjust or cancel awards because of changes in financial or academic status, change of academic programs, or other extenuating circumstances.  Awards are contingent upon on the receipt of funds by the university. 

Federal regulations require that schools prevent overawards. 

  • Students’ aid must not go over need or the cost of attendance. 
  • Students must always notify the Office of Financial Aid if any awards such as scholarships, assistantships, or other types of assistance are not listed on the financial aid award screen in GoldLink. These funds must be counted as a funding resource toward the cost of attendance.  Adjustments to the original financial aid award may be required when a student receives funds after receiving the original award notification. 
  • Changing a student’s residency classification from out-of-state to in-state will impact financial aid eligibility and may create an overaward. In some instances, a portion or all of a student or parent loan or other funds may have to be returned to the source due to the overaward.  If the student has already received a Direct Deposit or Balance of Aid Refund Check (student/parent), the student may be required to repay any financial aid funds received due to the overaward.

Students may owe federal income tax on scholarships, graduate assistantships or grant funds received in excess of tuition, fees and books.  Conversely, students and/or parents may qualify for tax credits for college expenses.  Students are encouraged to contact the Internal Revenue Service and their state tax agency with tax questions.

External Scholarships

Donors of external scholarships should submit checks, including student's name and student ID number, to the Bursar's Office at least one month prior to the beginning of classes

Fee Discount Forms

Completed forms should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid prior to the start of each term or session

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