Financial Aid

State and Federal Aid Programs

Federal Aid Programs

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a federally funded program based on need as determined by FAFSA. The amount of the actual grant is based upon family contribution as determined by the federal government. You may apply for federal aid on line at www.fafsa.gov.

General Eligibility Requirements:
  • Need Based Program - based on FAFSA data
  • Must be enrolled in Degree or Approved certificate Program
  • Must be U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Undergraduate
  • Meeting SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress)
  • Not in default of student loan or owe a federal repayment

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (FSEOG)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federally subsidized program. FSEOG is awarded based on exceptional financial need as determined by FAFSA.

Federal Direct Student Loan 

A Federal Direct Student Loan is a variable low-interest loan which will help to cover educational cost. There are two types of Direct Student Loans:  Subsidized - the government pays the interest while the student is in school. This loan has deferment and a grace period.  Unsubsidized - the student pays the interest while in school.  This loan also has deferment and a grace period.  The FAFSA application is used in making the determination as to whether the student is eligible for a subsidized loan or an unsubsidized loan.

After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period before repayment begins.  The Federal Government will send you information about repayment.

Annual Loan Limits Per Academic Year

Freshman $3,500
Sophomore $4,500

Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program provides a source of loan funds to the parents of dependent undergraduate students.  PLUS borrowers are required to file a FAFSA application.  Parents can borrow up to the cost of education minus other financial aid for the student.  The interest rate on PLUS loans is at a variable rate not to exceed 9%.  Repayment on both principal and interest begins within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.  There is no grace period for these loans.  Interest will begin to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made.

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)

The Federal Work-Study Program is a federally funded program to provide funds for the employment of students who demonstrate need as determined by FAFSA. To participate in this program, students must be accepted for admission to VSCC and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

The FWS program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses.  Students may work an average of 10 hours per week.

State Aid Programs

Tennessee Student Assistance Awards (TSAA)

The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program 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 post secondary institution in Tennessee. The TSAA is a state-funded grant program and includes funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery.

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

Tennessee Promise Program

The Tennessee Promise Program begins with graduating seniors of the 2015 class.  The students must be enrolled in an associates's degree program, complete 8 hours of community service per term, maintain a 2.0 GPA, work with a mentor, and register for full time enrollment at an eligible institution.  This award is a last dollar scholarship and will pay the tuition and fees that are not covered by Pell grant, HOPE scholarship, TSAA funds or tuition waiver/discounts.  Students must apply for the program online at www.tennesseepromise.gov by November 1st.

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program

The Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program is intended to provide scholarship funds to offset costs associated with pursuing postsecondary education. The Lottery Scholarship program includes the HOPE Scholarship, Aspire Award, General Assembly Merit Scholarship (GAMS), Access Grant and the Non-Traditional Hope Scholarship.  In order to be considered for lottery scholarship funds, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the September 1 deadline date for Fall, or February 1 deadline date for Spring and Summer.

General eligibility requirements for each program include:

HOPE Scholarship

A minimum 21 ACT composite or 980 SAT on a national test date or a final cumulative weighted 3.0 GPA for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high school is required for consideration of the HOPE Scholarship.  GED students must have the  minimum ACT/SAT test score as stated above and an average of at least 525 on the GED test.  TN home school and non-category 1,2 or 3 private high school graduates must have the ACT/SAT test scores stated above AND must have been enrolled in a home school program for 1 year immediately preceding graduation and be registered with a TN local school district.  HiSet recipients must have a minimum 21 ACT or 980 SAT, Minimum HiSet scores will be determined by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2015 legislative session.  The ACT Residual test is not accepted for HOPE Scholarship eligibility determination. 

Applicants must enroll within 16 months following high school graduation at any postsecondary institution.  However, enrollment at an ineligible postsecondary institution during the 16 months will make the student permanently ineligible.
If a student ceases to be eligible for HOPE, except for GAMS or Access Grant, the student may regain HOPE one-time only after they meet the regain requirements.

Aspire Award

Applicants must meet the HOPE scholarship requirements and the parents' or independent student's (and spouse's) adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less on IRS tax form for the appropriate year.  Students may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.

General Assembly Merit Scholarship

Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative weighted 3.75 GPA and 29 ACT composite or 1280 SAT (Math and Critical Reading only) on a national test date or state test date. Home school and non-category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools must have the ACT/SAT test scores stated above AND enroll in at least 4 courses totaling at least 12 semester hours and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at an eligible postsecondary institution while enrolled in a home school program. Students may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.

Access Grant

Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1,2 or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative weighted 2.75 - 2.99 GPA AND 18, 19 or 20 ACT Composite or 860 - 970 SAT (Math & Critical Reading ONLY) on a national test date or state test date AND parent's or independent student's (and spouse's) adjusted gross income must not exceed $36,000 as documented by FAFSA.  This award is non-renewable after 24 attempted hours, however students may become HOPE eligible if they meet the HOPE renewal criteria at the 24 hour benchmark.

Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship

The Tennessee Lottery offers a scholarship for the adult learner. In order to be considered, you must meet the following criteria:

Contact the Volunteer State Community College Financial Aid Office if you feel that you meet these requirements.

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship/Non-Traditional HOPE Renewal Criteria

Eligibility shall be reviewed at the end of the semester in which the student has attempted a total of 24, 48, 72, 96 or any subsequent multiple of 24 semester hours. Additional, at 72 attempted hours and beyond, students may be reviewed at the end of each semester if they maintain the award on a provisional basis.

Information regarding the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship rules and regulations can be found at:


Helping Heroes Grant - This grant is funded by the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program. It is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. The Helping Heroes Grant is designed to serve former members of the armed forces, reserve or National Guard who were called into active duty and have met the following general criteria:

Tennessee Promise

HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant

The Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program provides resources specifically to meet the education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care. This award along with all other available financial aid sources shall be applied towards the student cost of attendance before utilizing awards offered through the HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant. Students must be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship or HOPE Access Grant and have been in the custody of the Department of Children Services for at least 1 year after their 14th birthday in order to be considered for this grant. TSAC will work with the Department of Children’s Services to identify recipients.

Institutional Grants

Diversity Grants - The Diversity Grant is a program for students over the age of 24 with priority given to students of other races and first generation college students. Students receive Diversity Grants in a specified amount based on their enrollment status. The student must submit a FAFSA application for consideration for the Diversity Grant and must maintain Academic Satisfactory Progress standards.

Presidential Scholarships - Requirements are under revision.

VSCC Academic Service Scholarships - Requirements are under revision.

Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) - Eligible WIOA recipients may receive various types of financial assistance as they pursue career training/retraining.  Businesses, government, and schools work together to provide training programs or employability skills to those who are out of work or who need new skills/training to successfully enter the job market.  The Office of Adult Learners and Evening Services works in conjunction with those WIOA agencies that are sponsoring these students.