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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Students are required to maintain regular and consistent attendance in all classes.  Financial aid disbursements will be calculated on the student’s class attendance.  Students who stop attending class, drop out, or officially withdraw may owe money back to the federal financial aid programs or other scholarship or loan programs.

  • Students should follow the procedures printed in the university catalogs to formally withdraw from the university. 
  • Federal law requires federal aid recipients to “earn” the aid they receive by staying enrolled in college. 
  • Students who withdraw prior to completing 60% of the term for which they received federal aid may be required to return some or all of the aid they were awarded. 
  • Refunds are defined as the portion of maintenance and/or tuition and university housing charges due as a rebate when a student drops, withdraws, or is expelled from the university. The amount of the refund is calculated by the Bursar/Financial Services. 
  • Students are encouraged to use caution in deciding to drop or withdraw from classes.Students may owe funds to the university for the amount of unearned federal financial aid calculated and returned by the U.S Department of Education.
  • Students are encouraged to keep careful student loan records.The university will notify students if loan funds are returned to the U.S Department of Education’s Direct Loan Program on the student’s behalf.
  • Repeating classes, dropping classes, or withdrawing from the university may impact the student’s future financial aid eligibility, including Lottery Scholarships.  Students should be familiar with the ETSU Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
  • Contact your Financial Aid Counselor  BEFORE repeating classes, dropping classes or withdrawing from the university. 
  • Students are billed for any return of federal funds owed to the university which were returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Any unpaid amount will be subject to referral to a collection agency. Additional costs for collection fees and/or attorney fees may be added.
  • A hold is placed on all university records when a student owes a return of federal funds.

Balance of Aid —Funds for Other Expenses

In general, Federal Student Aid Funds may only be used to pay for the student's cost of education for the period for which the funds are provided.  However, a school may use current-year funds to satisfy prior award year changes for tuition and fees, room, or board (and with permission, educationally related charges) for a total of not more than $200.  A school may not pay prior year charges in excess of $200.

  • A Balance of Financial Aid is the money the student receives for educational-related expenses, such as books and commuting expenses, after all direct costs have been paid to the University. 
  • Students wishing to receive their balance of financial aid refund on or before the first day of classes can enroll in direct deposit through self-service at GoldLink

Log into the secure area and select “Student Account” from the menu. Students who do not sign up for direct deposit will receive their balance of aid in the form of a check mailed to the student’s local mailing address on file at ETSU.

  • Upon the parent’s authorization on the Parent PLUS Loan application, loan refunds will be mailed to the borrowing parent by paper check after the student’s ETSU student account is paid in full each term. 
  • Reserving your textbooks at East Tennessee State University is the best way to get the quality used textbooks you want. Simply visit the ETSU bookstore online.  Typically, textbooks must be picked up no later than the first day of classes each semester.

Returning Funds

ETSU Office of Financial Aid will return funds to the lender upon written request from the student or parent borrower.  If a borrower wishes to cancel all or a portion of a loan, he or she must inform the school within 14 days after the date the school notifies the student or parent of their right to cancel all or a portion of a loan. 

The loan funds must be returned with the written request to assure a balance will not be owed to the university.  If a written request is received without the funds, the loan cancellation will not be made until funds are received. 

The request can be made in writing or by completing the appropriate Loan Adjustment Form.

2019-2020 Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Adjustment Form

2019-2020 Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Adjustment Form

A student or parent borrower can choose to repay their current term loan balances to the lender at any time.  If the borrower chooses to repay their loans, please note these loan funds will not be available to be borrowed or disbursed again for payment on the student account.

Disbursement Procedures

After financial aid funds are applied to a student’s account balance of aid refunds are generated and sent either through direct deposit or paper checks, via US mail, within 14 days of the date funds are applied to the student’s account. 

Students can see when funds are applied to their account and when the balance of aid refund is made by viewing their student account on GoldLink. 

Students that have financial aid funds that exceed the charges on their ETSU student account at the time of disbursement will receive a balance of aid refund. The refund may be used to pay other educationally related expenses covered under the student’s cost of attendance. The student is responsible for paying any subsequent charges made to their account.

Budget and spend your money wisely. Your money matters!  Know your limits.


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