You’re juggling marriage, kids and a job, but that can’t keep you from your education any longer! With determination and a few steps in the right direction, your education is more affordable than you may imagine. Here is how you can cut the cost of your life-changing degree or certificate from Cleveland State.
Now that you’ve decided to go back to school, you will need to plan on how to pay for it. In the state of Tennessee, there are many options that can help. Take a look at your options to help you create the best plan to pay for college.
Tennessee programs to help adults pay for college include…
…Non-traditional HOPE and Reconnect Grants
Use the Tennessee College Pays at website http://www.tn.gov/collegepays to find information on financial aid in Tennessee. For additional assistance or questions, contact the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) help desk toll free at 1.800.342.1663.
Cleveland State offers a variety of scholarships to aid adult students…
…including Adult Promise, Diversity, and Foundation Scholarships
Find out if your employer will support your education
Some local employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement, flextime, and college savings plans. Check with your employer to see if you may be eligible for any educational benefits or support in scheduling work around your classes.
WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act)
WIOA is specifically for dislocated workers, unemployed, and underemployed individuals. Contact any TN Career Center to see whether you are eligible for WIOA funding to pay for or assist with tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc.
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
There are federal funds offered to eligible students in the form of grants, work-study, and loans. Grants do not have to be repaid. Work-study is earned through a job on or near campus. Loans are borrowed to be repaid after college. You will need your income and tax return information to fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA is completed for each aid year, which runs fall, spring, then summer.
What kind of state aid is available for adult students?
Non-traditional HOPE Scholarship
The state of Tennessee has a HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students who meet the following qualifications: have been a Tennessee resident for one year by September 1 of the application date for fall (by February 1 as of application date for spring and summer); have an adjusted gross income of $36,000 for student and spouse on IRS tax return; be over age 25; be an entering freshman or have not been enrolled in a postsecondary institution for two years; have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 after 12 attempted hours (or required GPA at subsequent benchmark); be continuously enrolled fall and spring semesters and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students should speak to the Financial Aid Office to determine if they are eligible for this program.
For the 2016-2017 aid year, the state of Tennessee has a last dollar ReConnect Grant for non-traditional students who meet the following qualifications: have been a Tennessee resident for one year by September 1 of the application date for fall (by February 1 as of application date for spring and summer); meet the FAFSA definition of independent student; have already earned at least 30 hours toward completing an associate of applied science degree; have an adjusted gross income of $36,000 for student and spouse on IRS tax return; have not been enrolled in a postsecondary institution for two years; be able to earn the GPA required for graduation at the time of enrollment; enroll in at least 9 credit hours toward associate of applied science degree.
Students will apply to this grant through http://www.tn.gov/collegepays starting January 2016. Awards will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
What scholarships are available for adult students?
This last dollar scholarship pays the remaining tuition and mandatory fees after federal and state aid is applied. Open to independent students 19 years of age or older; not eligible for TNPromise or TNReconnect, VA benefits or workplace tuition programs covering full tuition; student cannot have a degree (certificate students are eligible); student must complete the FAFSA and CSCC Scholarship application and have financial need, as determined by the Financial Aid Office.
Diversity Scholarships are $1,000 per semester and designed to increase the diversity of students on campus. In order to qualify, students must have minimum GPA of 2.5 from high school or previous college course work. Students must meet qualifications based on the current Diversity plan, which are listed in the scholarship application. Recipients must enroll in a Service- Learning course.
How do I apply for aid to pay for college?
- Apply for financial aid as soon as possible if you are applying for spring; as soon as possible after January 1 for the upcoming fall semester. When applying, use your federal income tax return or estimated federal income tax information, as well as your parents’ if the tax returns have not yet been completed and submitted.
- Apply for an FSA ID at http://www.fsaid.ed.gov
- Complete the FAFSA application at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov Cleve.land State’s federal code is 003999.
How do I apply for scholarships?
- Log in to AcademicWorks online scholarship application.
- Use the Username and password you use for your CougarNet account.
- Complete the General Application.
- Click “Finish and Continue.”
- The application will automatically match you to some scholarship opportunities. Others require that you answer additional questions. AcademicWorks will generate a list of scholarships you may be interested in. You can find these under “Opportunities” at the top of the page, select “Recommended” from the pull-down menu. You can then click on individual scholarships to read details and answer additional question.