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Financial Aid - FAQs

Looking for an answer to your financial aid question? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can't find what you are looking for, you can email finaid@chattanoogastate.edu or call 423-697-4402.

I probably do not qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families don’t think they qualify for aid and never apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA (Free Application Federal Student Aid) form is Free. You may apply online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov


What do I have to do to qualify for financial aid?

The qualification process is lengthy. In order to determine if someone is eligible, they need to apply.

What is Chattanooga State's federal school code?


What kind of financial aid is available?

Grants, scholarships, student employment and loans are available at Chattanooga State.

What is a Pell Grant?

A Pell grant is a federal grant for education that does not need to be paid back. You must qualify for a Pell grant, which is based upon your income.

How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?

Submit the FAFSA. You can apply online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Pell Grant and need-based aid are based on your income. 

Are photocopies of the FAFSA acceptable?

No. Only the original FAFSA form produced by the US Department of Education is acceptable. Photocopies, Reproductions, Facsimiles and electronic versions are all not acceptable. (See DCL GEN-95-21)

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

No, but to actually receive funds you must have received a High School diploma or GED and be admitted and enrolled at the college/university.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. After your first year, you will receive a "Renewal Application."

You should complete your filing by July for Fall term, November for Spring term, and April for Summer term.


If my parents did not claim me and I do not live with them, why do I have to use their income?

If you are under 24-years-old, are not married, and do not have children, federal guidelines state your are considered a dependent student for federal aid purposes. It does not matter whether your parents claimed you on their federal tax return or whether you live with them. 

Do I have to pay back the financial aid I receive?

Loans always need to be paid back. Pell grant monies need to be paid back if they are awarded and the student does not attend classes.

Where can I get information about Federal student financial aid?
  • Visit the Department of Education School Portal www.studentaid.ed.gov(link is external)
  • Contact your local college Financial Aid Office
  • Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), for hearing impaired call 1-800-730-8913
    Request a free copy of The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education.
    This toll free hotline is run by the US Department of Education and can answer questions about federal and state student aid programs and applications.
  • You can also write to:
    Federal Student Aid Information Center
    P.O. Box 84
    Washington, DC 20044
I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?

Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. Sometimes the college or university will have to adjust your financial aid package to compensate.

Why do I have to have a high school diploma?

It is required by The Department of Education and the federal government that each student who receives financial aid have a high school diploma or equivalent.

If I am in the National Guard or an Active Duty military member, am I considered a veteran for purposes of filling out the FAFSA?

If you were a member of the National Guard or were a Reservist who was called to Active Duty for other than training purposes and can verify that your release from Active Duty was other than dishonorable, you are considered a veteran for FAFSA purposes.

If you are on Active Duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, but will be a veteran by June 30th of the year you are applying for aid, and can verify that your release from Active Duty as other than dishonorable, you are considered a veteran for FAFSA purposes. If your Active Duty will continue past June 30th, however, you are not considered a veteran for FAFSA purposes.

What is the difference between Student Employment and Job Placement?

Student Employment offers part-time jobs that help students gain skills and experience while attending college. These are not usually career oriented positions. The Job Placement service is focused on finding positions for students once the graduate. The service also offers help with resumes and interview techniques. 

What is verification?

The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects students for verification of information submitted on the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office also may select a student for verification. The Financial Aid Office will notify you regarding documentation to submit (tax returns, verification forms, etc.) to verify information on your Student Aid Report.

When should I apply for aid?

You should apply as soon as possible after October 1 each year. You should apply and complete your file by July 15 for fall term, November 1 for spring term, and April 1 for summer term to ensure that you receive aid (if you are eligible) in time to pay your fees. If you complete your file after these dates, you will be expected to pay your own fees and will be reimbursed if you are eligible.

What is a missing information notification?

An email sent to the student from the Financial Aid Office requesting documentation needed to complete the processing of their financial aid file. Respond as quickly as possible in getting the information being requested back to the financial aid office. Be sure all documents are complete and include the student's name and A number. (student ID number) 

Why do you need a copy of my tax returns?

Thirty percent of all financial aid applicants are selected for verification. Applicants are required to furnish income information on the FAFSA application. We will request a Tax Return Transcript. This is NOT the same thing as the 1040 you filed. 

If eligible, you should use the Data Retreival Tool in your FAFSA. Otherwise go to the IRS homepage to request a Tax Return Transcript. 

How does a family decide who should be counted in the household size?

Anyone in the immediate family who receives more than 50 percent pf their support from a dependent student's parents or an independent student and spouse may be counted in the household size, even if that person does not reside in the house, as in the case of a sibling who is over 24-years-old but still in college and receiving the majority of their support from parents. Siblings who are dependent as of the date you apply for aid are also included, regardless of whether they receive at least 50 percent of their support from their parents. Any other person who resides in the household and receives more than 50 percent support from the parents may also be counted, such as an aunt or cousin, so long as the support is expected to continue from July 1, through June 30, of the current academic year. An unborn child who will be born during the award year may also be counted in the household size.

Household size and tax exemptions are not necessarily the same. Exemptions look at the previous year or tax year and household size refers to the school year for which the student is applying for aid.

My brother is 28-years-old and still lives with us. Do we count him in the number in my parents' household?

Include your brother if he receives more than half his support from your parents and will continue to receive more than half his support from July 1, through June 30, of the current academic year.

My parents separated four months ago. I live with my mother. My parents filed a joint tax return and claimed me as an exemption. Do I report both their incomes or just my mother's information?

Report only your mother's income and asset information because you lived with her the most during the past 12 months. Use a W-2 Form or other record(s) that show her share of the income reported and taxes paid on the tax return.

I am entering financial information for my mother and stepfather on the FAFSA. Should I list my father's Social Security Number (SSN) and last name, or my stepfather's information?

You should provide the SSN and last name of the same person or people for whom you are reporting financial information. In this case, provide the SSNs and names of your mother and stepfather.

What are these requirements? (Title IV Authorization, Terms and Conditions.)

Title IV Authorization must be accepted in order for a student to have access to purchase books in the bookstore with their financial aid. Also, it allows your financial aid to pay your $10 orientation fee (if applicable).

Terms and Conditions must be accepted to show you understand your awards and what they mean. 


What is a Federal Direct Stafford Loan?

A loan backed by the federal government awarded to a student. You do have to pay this loan back. 

When do I have to pay loans back?

Your payments will start after the 6 month grace period. The grace period begins after you graduate, drop below 6 credit hours in one semester, or withdraw from the institution. 

How many hours do I have to be registered for to receive a student loan?

You must be registered in at least 6 credit hours to receive a loan. NOTE: a third attempt of a previously passed class will not count as an eligible credit hour for a loan. 

Can I receive a private student loan?

Chattanooga State does not certify private student loans. We only offer Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans. Students must fill out the FAFSA first to qualify. 

What is the difference between a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan and a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

A subsidized loan does not start accruing interest until your graduate, drop below 6 credit hours during the semester, or withdraw from the institution. 

An unsubsidized loan starts accruing interest immediately while you are in school. Once your grace period ends, you will begin full repayment on the principal and accrued interest.  

Check out the Student Aid website for more information. 

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

No they are not responsible for your student loans. The student loans are in your name even if you had to report parent information on the FAFSA. They are responsible for the Federal Parent PLUS loan if they decide to take that option. 

What is Entrance Counseling?

First time borrowers will be required to complete Entrance Counseling online before their loan can be disbursed. You will need your FSA ID to log on to http://studentloans.gov. Entrance Counseling is a short online session to explain the student loan, interest rate, and different ways to set up a repayment plan. 

What is the Master Promissory Note?

First time borrowers will be required to complete the Master Promissory Note online before their loan can be disbursed. You will need your FSA ID to log on to http://studentloans.gov. MPN is a legally binding document between you and the Department of Education. By signing the MPN, you are taking full responsibility for your loans and understand that you will have to pay them back. 

What is Exit Counseling?

Exit Counseling will be required for a student who graduates, drops below half-time in a semester, or withdraws completely. Exit Counseling is not always a one time session. It tells you about the repayment options available to you along with interest rates. You will need your FSA ID to log on to http://studentloans.gov.

How do I defer my previous student loans?

Your attendance in 6 or more credit hours will be reported to the National Student Loan Clearinghouse by the Record's Office after attendance has been recorded. You can also print off an Enrollment Verification form in your TigerWeb account and send that to your loan servicer. 

  1. Once logged onto TigerWeb, click “Self Service Banner.”
  2. Click “Student”
  3. Click “Student Records”
  4. Click the next to last link “National Student Clearinghouse (Enrollment Verification)”
  5. You will be redirected to the studentclearinghouse.org website. The first bullet point says “Obtain an enrollment certificate to print and mail to a health insurer or other company that requests proof of my enrollment.”
  6. Click on the hyperlink “Obtain an enrollment certificate.”
  7. You can then print off the Enrollment Certificate that shows their enrollment as full-time, half-time or less than half-time.
How do I confirm my enrollment?

If you have enough financial aid to cover your tuition, you will be automatically confirmed for the upcoming semester. If you do not have enough financial aid to cover the tuition, you will have to pay the remaining balance to be confirmed. You must drop your classes yourself in TigerWeb before the first day of class begins in order to not owe any type of balance to the institution. 

How do I get my excess financial aid?

You have the choice of receiving the excess financial aid as a direct deposit into your bank account or in the form of a check. You can set up the direct deposit in your TigerWeb account. If you do not choose direct deposit, you will automatically receive a check in the mail. All refunds are made after the 14th day of classes. First time loan borrowers must wait 30 days after the beginning of classes to receive their disbursement. For direct deposit, it may take 2-3 days depending on your bank account and how quickly they make it available. For a paper check, those will be mailed in 2-3 days. Attendance must be reported for you to receive your disbursement of excess aid.

Steps to Direct Deposit (also called eRefund):

  • Log into your Tigerweb
  • Click to enter into TigerWeb Self-Service
  • Click "Log Into Self Service Banner"
  • Click "Pay My Fees"
  • Click the “Continue” to be directed to our Secure Payment Site.
  • Click on "Refunds"
  • Click on “Set up Account”
  • Enter required information. Click on “example” for details regarding required bank information.
  • Click “Continue”.
  • Click checkbox “I Agree” to allow Chattanooga State to direct deposit funds to your bank account.
  • Click "Continue"
How do I check my attendance?

You can check your reported attendance in TigerWeb. Click on Student -> Student Records - > Attendance Reporting. Then choose the term. You will be able to see what classes have reported your attendance.

How do I get books, student ID, and parking permit?

If your financial aid exceeds your tuition, you are able to use up to $600 of the financial aid in the bookstore. Bookstore charges start a week to two weeks before classes begin. Check the Important Dates on the website for the exact days of Bookstore charges. You would also be able to have a Student ID made and pick up a parking permit. NOTE: You must have accepted the Title IV Authorization requirement in your TigerWeb account.