Scholarship & Financial Aid
How will your family pay for college?
More than 98 percent of FACS students enroll in postsecondary education. Families utilize a variety of funding sources, including:
- College savings (it's never too soon to start)
- The HOPE Scholarship in the State of Tennessee
- Academic scholarships offered by colleges and universities
- Specialized college and university scholarships (departmental/athletics/fine arts)
- Outside scholarships from churches and community orgainzations
- Financial aid (limited but available to some)
- Employment during college (either on or off campus)
- Cost-saving enrollment at a junior college for the first two years of a four-year academic program
- Creative arrangements (live at home or with extended family and commute to campus)
To qualify for the HOPE Scholarship, students' families must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before February 1 of the student's high school senior year. Students must be Tennessee residents for a full year prior to application, must graduate from an eligible Tennessee secondary school, and must enroll in a public or private institution in the state of Tennessee within 16 months of high school graduation. Students must score a 21 or better on the ACT (980 or better on the SAT) and graduate with at least a 3.0 grade point average, which must be maintained for continued scholarship eligibility throughout college. As of the fall of 2015, the HOPE Scholarship amount is $1,750 per semester for freshmen and sophomores ($2,250 per semester for juniors and seniors) at a two- or four-year college or university with on-campus housing, and $1,500 per semester at a two-year college with no on-campus housing. In addition to the HOPE, Tennessee offers a supplemental General Merit scholarship of $1,500 for studnets who graduate with a 3.75 or better grade point average and score 29 or better on the ACT (1280 or better on the SAT).
Institutional Academic Scholarships
Colleges and universities want to enroll students who plan to succeed, so they give academic and leadership scholarships to students who are showing early signs of success. The best way to get the most money is to keep the grade point average high, prepare for success on the ACT/SAT, demonstrate student leadership, and participate in community service activities. Students will also want to develop resumes that showcase their strengths.
Athletic, Fine Arts, and Departmental Scholarships
While academic scholarships are usually the most generous, some colleges and universities offer additional funds for athletics or fine arts, or for those pursuing specific majors. Keep in touch with college representatives and make contact with coaches, directors, and department chairs. It never hurts to ask where more funds may be available.
Many organizations offer college scholarships for various reasons. Students who take initiative often find some interesting opportunities. FACS has developed a handout on outside scholarships to help students jump-start their searches.
The completed FAFSA is the vehicle used to determine eligibility for financial aid programs. To be eligible for financial aid, the student's family must have a relatively low adjusted gross income. Remember, however, that regardless of family income, the FAFSA must be completed before February 1 of the student's senior year to retain eligility for the HOPE Scholarship.