As stated in Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid published by the U.S. Department of Education, all financial aid awards are based on the cost of attendance (COA.) COA is the total amount it will cost you to go to school. It is determined using rules established by federal law. The COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (on-or off-campus); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses. A student’s financial aid package cannot exceed the total COA.
For academic purposes, undergraduate full-time status is 12 credit hours and graduate full-time status is 9 credit hours. However, all financial aid awards are prepared with the understanding that the student will enroll in 12 or more credit hours. If students enroll in less than 12 credit hours in any term, they must notify the Office of Financial Aid prior to the first day of classes. Cost of attendance and awards are based on the traditional fall and spring school year unless there is non-attendance for a term or if summer is added. Students may request to be evaluated for summer aid around mid-February each year by submitting a Summer Aid Application. It is advisable to read carefully all the information and follow the links when you receive an emailed award notification or a paper award notification. Discuss award amounts if necessary with the Office of Financial Aid so you will know your eligibility limits per semester and academic year, especially if summer funding will be needed. Awards will be adjusted accordingly. Students have the option of accepting or rejecting any portion of their awards. When the award is accepted and electronic authorization of aid received, the student has given his/her permission for accepted awards to be disbursed and credited to the student account at ETSU.
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. Each award is contingent on the receipt of funds by the University. Students must regularly attend classes to receive financial aid.
Students should 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. When a student receives funds after being notified of or receiving the original financial aid award, adjustments to the original financial aid award may be required. Federal regulations require the university to prevent overawarding a student’s financial aid need and/or cost of attendance.
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’s 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 owe funds back to the university. The student will be required to repay any financial aid funds received in error.
Students may owe federal income tax on scholarship, graduate assistantship, or grant funds received in excess of tuition, fees, and books. Conversely, students and/or parents may qualify for tax credits such as the HOPE Scholarship tax credit or Lifetime Learning tax credit for college expenses. Students are encouraged to contact the Internal Revenue Service and their state tax agency with tax questions.