Rules, Regulations, and Policies

Aid is granted subject to the following conditions:

  1. To receive financial aid from the federal financial aid programs, a student must be enrolled, in most cases at least half time (6 credit hours), as a regular student and must be working toward a degree or certificate.
  2. Tennessee Student Assistance Awards (state grants) are made by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation in Nashville. As we are notified which students will receive the grant, UT Martin awards will be revised to include the grant. Revisions made to include a state grant may sometimes reduce or cancel aid previously awarded. WARNING--state grant recipients who complete requirements for a bachelor's degree must NOT accept further Tennessee Student Assistant Award payments.
  3. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office reserves the right on behalf of the University to review and cancel an award at any time because of changes in financial, marital, or academic status, changes of academic programs, or misuse of federal or institutional program funds. BE SURE TO NOTIFY THE FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS OFFICE IN ADVANCE IF YOU ANTICIPATE ANY OF THE ABOVE CHANGES SO THAT WE MAY ADVISE YOU OF THE STATUS OF YOUR AWARD.
  4. Federal guidelines state that federal aid may be subject to aid received from sources outside the University. You are asked to report any scholarship, loan, grant, or other aid which you will receive from any source not included on this award letter. Failure to do so could result in termination of the financial assistance offered by the University.
  5. For a student to be eligible for Title IV aid the student must be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and be maintaining Office of Admissions requirements; UTM Office of Admissions.
  6. Students receiving financial aid who find it necessary to withdraw from the University for any reason must notify Student Affairs prior to withdrawal. Such students may be asked to repay any appropriate amount of the student aid which they have received.
  7. New recipients of the Federal Perkins Loan are required to sign a promissory note at registration.
  8. If awarded Federal Work Study (FWS), to activate your OFFER, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED to set up an INTERVIEW with the department of your choosing. Employment opportunities will be posted on the Financial Aid website. Upon a successful job interview, to be placed on payroll, you must bring with you to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, your driver's license, your student ID, and Social Security Card or birth certificate. Also, all payroll checks will be automatically deposited to your checking or savings account. Please bring a blank, voided check with you.
  9. Financial Aid is awarded on an academic year (August - July) basis and is subject to change each year.
  10. The University reserves the right to release to the United State Department of Education, state agencies, scholarship donors, and scholarship selection committees any information requested pertinent to this application (i.e. Enrollment status, address, grade point average, and financial need). However, the University believes the application for the receipt of financial assistance is a confidential matter, information will be released only to the officials of the above mentioned offices and committees unless it receives proper authorization for such release.
  11. Financial Aid is contingent on adequate federal appropriations for the student aid programs and receipt by the University of those funds. The University reserves the right to reduce award(s) if anticipated funding is not received.
  12. WARNING — FEDERAL PELL Grant recipients who complete requirements for a bachelor's degree must NOT accept further FEDERAL PELL Grant payments.

Printable Version

Effective July 1, 2011

Previous Version


All institutions that participate in Title IV programs, which include all Federal and State Financial Aid (Loans, grants, Tennessee Lottery/Hope Scholarship, Work Study), must develop, implement, and publish a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. Failure to meet the following requirements for SAP in coordination with Federal SAP Guidelines may result in the loss of financial aid. These standards are for financial aid purposes only and do not replace or override the academic policies of the University of Tennessee at Martin.

SAP for federal and state financial aid programs is based on three measures:  cumulative grade-point average, course completion rate based on hours earned compared to hours attempted, and a maximum timeframe for degree completion. Your SAP status is based on your entire academic record at all schools attended, regardless of whether you received financial aid.

UT Martin will check each student’s SAP annually, after grades post for spring semester, unless student is on an Academic Plan or Graduation Plan due to a prior approved appeal, in which case will be checked at the end of each semester until student is meeting SAP standards.  Students who are suspended due to failure to meet the SAP standards must have an appeal approved before they will receive financial aid. Students will be suspended for not meeting any or all of the following standards:

•     Course Completion Rate (CCR) – Students must earn (pass) a cumulative 67% of all hours attempted to remain eligible for Financial Aid. Grades of A, B, C, D, & P count as attempted and earned credit hours. Grades of F, I, W, WP, & WF count as attempted but not earned credit hours. For example, a student with 100 cumulative attempted hours must have earned a passing grade in at least 67 of those attempted hours.
•     Minimum Cumulative GPA – All students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
•     Maximum Time Frame – The maximum time limit for a student to receive financial aid is 150% of the published program length. Most undergraduate degree programs at UTM require 120 credit hours to complete. For a student to be placed on unsatisfactory progress due to the maximum time frame, they would either meet or exceed 180 attempted hours. All grades, A, B, C, D, F, I, P, W, WP, & WF count as attempted hours. Students who exceed 225 cumulative attempted hours WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to receive financial aid, OR appeal their status.  The Financial Aid Coordinator or Director may override this limit under special circumstances.
•     *Graduate programs; the maximum time frame is determined as 150% of the required hours for the degree as published in the Graduate Catalog.
Please be aware that a student may only submit a total of THREE appeals at UT Martin.
(This applies to appeals filed after July 1, 2011. Appeals filed prior to July 1, 2011 are considered under the past policy and will not be included when counting the total of appeals filed. The Financial Aid Coordinator or Director may override the limit of three appeals under special circumstances.)
Transfer students’ course completion rate, minimum GPA, and maximum time frame requirements will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress based on the transfer credits and grades accepted by UT Martin.
Hours for which an incomplete grade is received will count toward attempted but not earned hours in the calculation of the course completion rate. The final grade for the incomplete hours will be calculated into the GPA when the course is graded. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when the course is graded.

Types of Financial Aid Progress Status
•     Academic Plan – If a student has a SAP Appeal approved and it is NOT possible for them to maintain the required Course Completion Rate and GPA after one semester of enrollment; they will be placed on an Academic Plan which is to maintain a SEMESTER Course Completion Rate of 80% and a 2.0 GPA. If a student on an Academic Plan fails to meet the semester goals of their plan, they will be suspended from their financial aid for the upcoming and subsequent terms until they are in compliance with the SAP standards or have an appeal approved. Students can not file more than three (3) appeals during their time at UT Martin.
•     Graduation Plan – If a student’s appeal is approved for Maximum Timeframe, the student will be placed on a Graduation Plan. This Graduation Plan should consist of the classes and number of hours left to graduate as well as the signature of the student’s advisor. The Graduation Plan will be reviewed at the end of each term. If a student’s appeal for Maximum Time Frame, or exceeding
150%, is approved, they will ONLY be approved for the number of hours indicated on their Graduation Plan, but NOT EXCEEDING 225 attempted hours. Progress will be checked at the end of each semester until the student graduates or reaches 225 attempted hours. 

Notification of Status and Right to Appeal
Students who have been suspended from financial aid will be notified of changes to SAP status via US Mail. Changes in SAP status can also be viewed by the student by logging in to Banner Self-Service.
Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid reinstated.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Process
Students appealing their Satisfactory Academic Progress status are required to submit an appeal for review. The following are to be included with the SAP Appeal: • Financial Aid Appeal Form • Signed Statement indicating rationale for appeal. Statement must include an explanation of unusual
circumstances that led to financial aid suspension.
•     Sufficient documentation to support claim of unusual circumstance. Lack of documentation may lead to the denial of appeal. Supporting documentation might include medical records, police reports, obituaries, or legal records.
•     Graduation Plan, if applicable.

Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Review Committee once a week. Students are notified of the
committee’s decision via US Mail.
A student who has an appeal approved will be placed on an Academic Plan or a Graduation Plan status for the following semester of enrollment. The appeal approval notification may list restrictions or requirements to be followed by the student. Failure to follow restrictions or requirements may result in immediate forfeiture of financial aid.


Printable Version


Please take note of the following policy regarding financial aid and enrollment hours:

Students' enrollment hours may fluctuate during the week of drop/add (the first week of classes). At the end of drop/add week, faculty will report attendance, and enrollment level will be determined based on any courses added to or dropped from the original registration.

Financial aid and fee assessment will be recalculated based on the final enrollment level and will be adjusted accordingly.

In order to continue to serve the needs of students, The Office of Business Affairs will continue to deliver excess aid funds (refunds) beginning the second day of classes. The amount of excess aid will be based on your ORIGINAL enrollment level.

Please be aware that if you drop courses during drop/add week (and this causes a change in your enrollment status) both your financial aid and your fees will change and you may owe a portion of your excess aid back.

Students must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to remain eligible for financial aid (with the exception of Pell Grants in certain instances).

Students who fail to begin attendance in any class for which they register (and do NOT officially drop) will be reported to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office as a "no show" and financial aid recipients will have their aid adjusted accordingly.

Students are liable to repay financial aid for any class(es) they do not attend and do not officially drop.

TSAC grants and Pell grants are adjusted to less than full time award amounts at the time of disbursement. Students who drop to less than 12 hours during the first week of classes will have their fees and grants adjusted accordingly. Students who pick up an excess aid check prior to dropping enrollment will be required to repay any funds for which they are not entitled. Please feel free to call The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships if you have any questions (731) 881-7040.

(April 17, 2012) As a result of recent legislative changes, you should be aware of a number of new requirements or the federal student aid programs. Most of these changes are effective with the 2012-13 school year.


New Provision to the Direct Loan Statutory Requirements

On July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Public Law 112-141) was enacted. MAP-21 added a new provision to the Direct Loan statutory requirements (see HEA section 455(q)) that limits a first-time borrower’s eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of the borrower’s educational program. Under certain conditions, the provision also causes first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150 percent limit to lose the interest subsidy on their Direct Subsidized Loans.


Note: Only first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the new provision. Generally, a first-time borrower is one who did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or on a FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013.


Please read the attached information regarding this new regulation.

Federal Pell Grant Program - Duration of Eligibility

Once you have received a Pell Grant for 12 semesters, or the equivalent, you will no longer be eligible for additional Pell Grants.

You are eligible to receive a Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters or the equivalent. If you have exceeded the 12-semester maximum, you will lose eligibility for additional Pell Grants beginning in 2012-13 school year. Equivalency is calculated by adding together the percentage of your Pell eligibility that you received each year to determine whether the total amount exceeds 600%.

Direct Student Loan Changes

Direct Subsidized loans will not be eligible for an interest subsidy during the six-month grace period.

Subsidized loans are loans for which the borrower is not responsible for the interest while the student is enrolled in college on at least a half-time basis, when the loan is in the six-month grace period after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time, or if the loan is in a deferment status. This provision eliminates the interest subsidy provided during the six-month grace period for subsidized loans for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2012, and before July 1, 2014. If you receive a subsidized loan during this timeframe, you will be responsible for the interest that accrues while your loan is in the grace period. You do not have to make payments during the grace period (unless you choose to) but the interest will be added (capitalized) to the principal amount of your loan when the grace period ends. This provision does not eliminate the interest subsidy while the borrower is in school or during eligible periods of deferment.

All subsidized loans made to undergraduate students will have a fixed interest rate of 6.8%.

Subsidized loans for which the first disbursement is on or after July 1, 2012, will have a 6.8% fixed interest rate. Note: In the President's FY2013 budget request, the Administration has proposed maintaining the interest rate on subsidized loans at the current rate of 3.4% for the 2012-2013 school year.

Graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans.

Effective for loans made for payment periods that begin on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans. However, if you are a graduate or professional student, you may still qualify for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans each year.

The U.S. Department of Education can no longer offer borrowers repayment incentives.

Effective for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012, the Department of Education is prohibited from offering any repayment incentives to Direct Loan borrowers, except interest rate reductions to borrowers who agree to have payments automatically electronically debited from their bank account).

Eligibility of Students Without a High School Diploma

If you are enrolling in higher education for the first time on or after July 1, 2012, in order to be eligible for federal student aid, you must have either a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (such as a General Educational Development certificate (GED) or have been home schooled).

You will no longer have the option of becoming eligible for federal student aid by passing an approved test or completing at least six credit hours or 225 clock hours of postsecondary education.

Expected Family Contribution

The lower a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the higher the student's federal student aid eligibility. A change has been made to the income amount that is used to determine if a student qualifies for an automatic EFC of zero.

When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA), you receive an Expected Family Contribution, which is a number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility. For the 2012-13 school year, you will automatically qualify for an Expected Family Contribution of zero if your family income does not exceed $23,000. This is a reduction from the previous maximum income of $32,000.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), legislating that now, for purposes of federal programs, a marriage is no longer exclusively between one man and one woman. In addition, for purposes of the Title IV HEA programs, a student or a parent is considered married if the student or parent was legally married in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes the relationship as a valid marriage, regardless of where the couple resides. The Department of Education is applying a “place of celebration” rule. Accordingly, it has determined that any legal marriage that is recognized by the jurisdiction in which the marriage was celebrated will be recognized for Title IV HEA program purposes without regard to whether the marriage is between persons of the same sex or opposite sex, and without regard to where the couple resides. This determination applies only to marriages. It does NOT apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.


If you have any questions about how these changes could impact you, please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships office or call 1-800-4-FED-AID.

Financial Aid and Scholarships employees:

  • refrain from taking any action for our personal benefit
  • refrain from taking any action we believe is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interest of the students and parents we serve
  • ensure that the information we provide is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain
  • maintain objectivity in making decisions and in advising the institution regarding relationships with any business partner involved in any aspect of student financial aid
  • do not accept or solicit anything of other than nominal value from our business partners involved in making, holding, consolidating or processing student loans
  • do not receive any form of reimbursement for serving on the advisory boards of our lending business partners
  • disclose any involvement with our business partners to the institution

Our office adheres to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' "Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals."