Eligibility Verification

What is EVEA?

The State of Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act (EVEA) requires state institutions of higher education to verify that anyone seeking a “state public benefit” is either a “United States citizen”, a “qualified alien”, or otherwise “lawfully present” in the United States.

A state public benefit includes in-state tuition, lottery scholarships, academic scholarships, common market, or any other form of tuition assistance or waiver supported with funds from a Tennessee government entity. State public benefits do not include tuition assistance funded privately, such as a scholarship from the institution’s foundation or a privately endowed scholarship.

In short, if you do not verify your residency, you will not be eligible to receive in-state tuition rates or most ETSU scholarships.

What students are not subject to EVEA verification?

ETSU does not have to verify citizenship or lawful presence of students who:

  • Are under 18 years of age and have not graduated from high school and are applying as dual enrollment students, joint enrollment students, or academically gifted and talented students
  • Have not applied to receive in-state tuition, or a scholarship, grant, loans, tuition or fee waiver, or other financial assistance which is subsidized or paid in whole or in part with state funds
  • Are employed by ETSU and have had their lawful presence verified through the federal E-Verify program or have completed a valid I-9
  • Have had their lawful presence verified through the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) (e.g., M-1 and F-1 Student Visa Holders

Verification Procedures

For all other students seeking a “State Benefit” the following documentation must be submitted to ETSU and must be valid and unexpired to verify lawful presence:

  • Tennessee Driver’s License or Identification License (temporary versions are not acceptable).
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) with ID picture.
  • U.S. Passport.
  • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N560 or N561).
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization. (N550, N570, or N578)
  • U.S. citizen identification card (I-197, I-179).
  • Foreign passport with visa stamped “Processed for I-551”.
  • Non-Resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card.
  • Permanent Resident Re-Entry Permit (I-327).
  • Refugee Travel Document (I-571).
  • Foreign passport with valid visa in category that permits study at an institution of higher education.


One of the following documents together with a valid, government issued picture ID including a regular driver’s license, temporary driver’s license, government issued DL/ID card from any U.S. state, or Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766):

  • Permanent Resident card without ID picture (I-551).
  • Official birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, or territory; except for Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010.
  • U.S. government-issued certified birth certificate.
  • U.S. certificate of birth abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545).
  • Reprint of birth abroad of a citizen of the U.S (FS-240)
  • Arrival/Departure Record (I-94).
  • Notice of Approval of status with bottom I-94 portion attached (I-797).

Submission Procedures?

For many students, the quickest way to meet these requirements is listed below.

Tennessee Residents:

Out-of-State Residents:

  • Submit copies of both your out-of-state driver license and your birth certificate; OR submit a copy of your passport.

The ETSU Admissions Office will accept verification documentation in the following ways:

  • Email a scan or a clear photo to
  • Fax to 423-439-4630
  • Hand deliver to 106 Burgin Dossett Hall
  • Mail to:

     Office of Undergraduate Admissions
     East Tennessee State University
     P.O. Box 70731
     Johnson City, TN 37614

How does Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals affect EVEA?

Those who are granted "deferred action" status are eligible for work authorization. They can also obtain social security cards, work authorization cards and, in some states, driver licenses. This deferred action status does NOT confer "lawful presence" status under federal law or Tennessee state law. Specifically, "deferred action status" does NOT satisfy the requirement of "lawful presence" under the EVEA.