Bucky's Financial Aid Treasure Map
Reference and Resource Guide
East Tennessee State University awards degrees in dozens of programs, including distinctive interdisciplinary programs and distance education offerings that serve students from the region and beyond. A student to faculty ratio of 15:1 means you'll get the personal attention you deserve. ETSU offers students a total university experience that includes cultural and artistic programs, diverse student activities, a variety of residential opportunities, and outstanding recreational and intercollegiate athletic programs.
Making an investment in higher education can lead to great opportunities. But the first step to making your dreams come true is understanding how to finance a college education. In the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, we are here to make sure you and your family have the answers you need. Our main website is full of helpful resources, providing information for future students, current students, and transfer students. Bucky’s Treasure Map serves as a more in-depth Financial Aid reference and resource guide for you and your family.
- 1) Getting Started: The Financial Aid Process
Finding financial aid can seem overwhelming. That’s why your first step needs to be completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is your gateway to all federal financial aid, as well as the starting point for many state and school-aid programs. Put simply, there are funding opportunities – such as the Tennessee HOPE (Lottery) Scholarship and the Federal Pell Grant – that will not be available to you without a completed FAFSA. Students need to file a FAFSA each year they wish to receive aid.
The FAFSA is available October 1 for the upcoming school year. Use prior-prior tax data when filing. For example, in order to complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA, you will need your 2019 Federal Tax form and your 2019 W-2 forms. Some funding opportunities are first come, first served. That means that the earlier you file the FAFSA, the greater access you may have to funding.
Students should also submit the University Scholarship Application, which also opens October 1. Doing so will automatically place you in consideration for a range of scholarships. Scholarships – money that does not have to be paid back – are available to first-time freshmen students, transfer students, veterans, international students, currently enrolled undergraduate students, and graduate students.
Not sure you can afford college? Think again. At ETSU, 92% of students receive financial assistance, and ETSU students earned $33 million in scholarships.
The Financial Aid Process: What is verification?
About 30% of all students who file a FAFSA are selected for verification, a process to confirm that the information reported on your FAFSA is correct. If you are selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will request additional documents from you. These documents may include the Verification Worksheet, Asset Information Form, Tax Returns, and W-2 Forms. Documents can be submitted via fax, mail, in person, or through a personalized drop box link that is emailed to you. Be sure to follow all instructions. Do not send any personally identifiable information via email.
If you are selected, don’t panic. We are here to assist you. Contact your personal Financial Aid Counselor if you have questions.
- 2) Types of Aid
Financial aid is money set aside by the federal government, state, ETSU, and private agencies to help you pay for college.
Financial aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, or loans. Before you accept your Financial Aid offer, make sure you understand what you are reviewing. The FAFSA is the only way to apply for federal financial aid. Don’t forget: ETSU provides a broad spectrum of programs to assist in financing your college education. The most up-to-date information, including eligibility requirements, is available online.
- 3) Cost of Attendance
Your cost of attendance is an estimate of what it will cost to attend East Tennessee State University for one year. This estimate includes the following:
- Course fees
- Miscellaneous expenses
Your estimated cost of attendance is the figure that the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships uses to process your aid eligibility and award package. Remember, your cost of attendance is not the actual bill that you may get from ETSU. Your estimated cost of attendance is based on the total of your direct costs (tuition and fees, on-campus housing, a meal plan, or a housing and food allowance if you live off-campus) and your indirect costs (allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and loan fees).
In the example below for in-state students, tuition and course fees are estimated and based on 15 credit hours for Fall/Spring semesters and do not include online fees. All awards are subject to change pending the availability of federal, state, and institutional funding and regulatory verification.
Your Estimated Annual Cost of Attendance
Direct Cost: Tuition $9,494 Direct Cost: Estimated Course Fees $550 Direct Cost: Room/Meal Plans
Indirect Cost: Books $1,350 Indirect Cost: Transportation $3,120 Indirect Cost: Miscellaneous $2,400 Total Esimated Annual Cost $25,849
- 4) The FAFSA Is Complete. Now What?
You have filed your FAFSA. You have completed verification if you were selected. You have submitted the University Scholarship Application.
Congratulations – those are some of the biggest steps toward receiving Financial Aid at ETSU! But you are not done. There are a few more steps you need to complete, including monitoring your ETSU Email and GoldLink and confirming your registration.
What if I have more questions about affordability?
ETSU is proud to offer a Tuition and Fees Estimator. Take a look at this resource here.
What if I need additional assistance?
Students may consider alternative loans if they have additional financial need. It is best to explore all options to meet individual educational costs. Compare rates and consider their repayment terms.
How long before my refund processes?Grants, scholarships, and loans administered by ETSU are first applied to your billing account to pay tuition, fees, housing and other university charges. Students whose financial aid exceeds the charges on their university student billing account will receive a refund. After financial aid funds are applied to a student’s account balance, refunds are generated and sent either through direct deposit or paper checks, via US mail, within 14 days of the date that funds are applied to your student account. Students are encouraged to have their refund deposited directly to their personal bank account.