Tennessee Student Assistance Awards: (Promulgated Rules) (FAFSA Application)

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.  The TSAA is a state-funded grant program and includes funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery.


To be eligible, the applicant must:

  • complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and
  • have a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 2100 or less, and
  • be a Tennessee resident, if a dependent student, parents must also be a Tennessee resident, and
  • be enrolled at least half time at an eligible Tennessee postsecondary institution, and
  • maintain institutional satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of the institution, and
  • not be in default on a loan or owe a refund on any grant previously received at any institution, and
  • who have not received a baccalaureate degree.

To receive priority consideration, students are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 each year.

Starting with the 2014-2015 academic year, prior-year recipients (renewals) will receive the award if they meet all eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA on or before March 1. After March 1, remaining funds will be awarded to the neediest applicants who apply by March 1 based on the availability of funds.  Awards are made until funds are depleted.

Maximum award amounts are determined by the TSAC Board of Directors prior to the beginning of the fall term.  The amount of the award is based on the institution indicated on the student’s FAFSA.  Award amounts for an academic year are:  

Four-year/two-year private $4,000
Four-year public $2,000
Two-year public $1,300
Career Schools $2,000
TN College of Applied Technology $1,000

The final amount is determined by the institution.  The financial aid office may revise the amount of the award for one of the following reasons:

Overaward - the TSAA is one of several government-funded programs of financial aid for students.  A variety of privately funded programs are also available as well as the assistance many parents are able to provide their children.  TSAC policy requires the institution to certify that each recipient’s aid, when combined with other resources, does not exceed the cost of attending the institution.  If a situation arises in which a student’s aid and resources exceed the cost of attendance, the financial aid office at the institution must reduce or cancel the award to prevent an overaward.

Part-Time Enrollment – TSAA’s initial award is based on full-time enrollment. The student’s institution will certify each term of enrollment and if a student is enrolled less than full time the institution must adjust the award accordingly.

Early Withdrawal – award recipients who withdraw prior to the completion of a term may have a portion of the award reduced in accordance with the institution’s published refund policy.

Award recipients must use the TSAA for educational expenses.  Funds are disbursed to the institution on behalf of the recipient and will be credited to the student’s account in accordance with the institution’s published policy. 

Award recipients may receive awards until the program of study is complete or for the following, whichever comes first:

  • 4-Year Program up to 8 semesters or 12 quarters/trimesters;
  • 3-Year Program up to 6 semesters or 9 quarters/trimesters;
  • 2-Year Program up to 4 semesters or 6 quarters/trimesters;
  • 1-Year Program up to 2 semesters or 3 quarters/trimesters; or
  • 6-Month Program up to 1 semester or 2 quarters/trimesters.

Eligible Institution – award recipients must attend an eligible Tennessee school, college or university and be enrolled at least half time.  You must list the eligible institution as your first choice when you initially complete your FAFSA. 


Transfer – to change your institution, you can complete a Change of Institution Request by clicking here or go to www.tn.gov/TSACstudentportal and select your institution choice from the drop down menu.  If you change your institution choice through the TSAC Student Financial Aid Portal the change is made immediately.  For a list of eligible institutions, please click here.


Because available funding is insufficient to reach all eligible applicants, early filing of the FAFSA is strongly encouraged as soon as possible after January 1.  Awards are made until funds are depleted. First priority is given to U.S. citizens.

Thank your Legislator for TSAA here.