I want to apply for Financial Aid. How do I start?

You can learn what type of Financial Aid you can receive by completing a FAFSA form. You can fill out an application on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov or call 1-800-433-3243 to receive a paper application. We suggest that you fill it out the FAFSA online because it will takes less time for the Central Processing Office to complete the review process. If you do not have Internet access you may come to the Financial Aid and Scholarships office and you may use our student computer. Once our office receives the information from the Central Processing Office, we will begin to review your eligibility.

What is UTM's Federal School Code?

UT Martin's Federal School Code is 003531.

Do I have to wait until I am admitted before I apply for financial aid?

Students do not have to be admitted to UTM in order to file the FAFSA. However, a financial offer will not be made until you have been fully admitted.

What is a U.S. Department of Education PIN?

The Personal Identification Number (PIN) allows you to access personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the Personal Identification Number that you can get from a bank that enables one to access an account. You can use the PIN to electronically sign your submitted FAFSA, access and complete your Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submit corrections to your processed FAFSA, obtain a copy of your processed FAFSA information or sign your Master Promissory Note. Since the PIN serves as your electronic signature, you should NEVER give it to anyone.

Note: The U.S Department of Education PIN is different from your UTM PIN.

I only want a loan. Do I have to file a FAFSA?

Yes. The FAFSA is essential in determining what type of loan you are eligible to apply for. However, there are outside miscellaneous loans that do not require FAFSA information. It is important to note that some of these outside loans have significantly higher interest rates and fees. All students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA so that we can determine what type of loan would be in your best interest.

Where do I fill out my MPN (Master Promissory Note) or Entrance Loan Counseling?
I pay my own rent! I buy my own food and clothes! Why do I have to claim my parents on the FAFSA?

Students are classified as dependent or independent because federal student aid programs are based on the principle that students and their parents are considered the primary source of support for postsecondary education. For the current paid year, you're an independent student if at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You will be age 24 on or before December 31;
  • You're married;
  • You are in a graduate or professional program;
  • You have children who receive more than half their support from you;
  • You have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you and will continue to receive more than half their support from you through June 30;
  • You're parents are deceased or you were a ward of the court until age 18; or
  • You're currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for other than state or training purposes;
  • You're a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces ("veteran" includes students who attended a U.S. service academy and who were released under a condition other than dishonorable).
I have Financial Aid at another school, but I want to transfer to UTM. Can I transfer my aid?

Yes. You will not have to fill out a second FAFSA. If you included UTM on your FAFSA application then our office will receive your information once you are accepted by the university. If any additional information is needed we will notify you as soon as possible. If you did not included UTM on you FAFSA application our school code is 003531. You can update your information by going to FAFSA website and accessing your application using your US Dept. of Ed. Pin number.

My FAFSA was rejected because it is missing a signature. What do I do?

When you file the FAFSA you can sign the form by using your US Dept. of Ed. PIN number or by printing off the signature page and mailing it to the address listed on the printed page. If you (or your parents, if you are a dependent student) failed to sign the FAFSA you can go back to the FAFSA website and sign the form electronically.

I am an International Student. Can I apply for Financial Aid?

The following information is from the Department of Education's publication "The Student Guide."

You must be one of the following to receive federal student aid:

  • U.S. citizen
  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island)
  • U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Receipt Card)
  • If you're not in one of these categories, you must be an eligible noncitizen, and you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
  • "Refugee"
  • "Asylum Granted"
  • "Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending"
  • "Conditional Entrant" (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
  • "Parolee" (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a citizen or permanent resident.)
  • If you have only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you aren't eligible for federal student aid. If you're in the United States on certain visas, including an F1 or F2 student visa, or a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, you're not eligible for federal student aid.
  • Also, persons with G series visas (pertaining to international organizations) are not eligible. For more information about other types of visas that are not acceptable, check with your school's Financial Aid and Scholarships office.
  • Citizens and eligible noncitizens may receive loans from the FFEL Program at participating foreign schools. Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau are eligible only for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, or Federal Work-Study. These applicants should check with their schools' Financial Aid and Scholarships offices for more information.
I was selected for Verification. What is that and what do I have to do?

Some students’ FAFSA’s are selected for a process referred to as Verification. It is the federal government's way of making sure students are correctly reporting their information on the FAFSA. If you are selected, we will notify you via email (returning students) or mail (new students) with directions on completing this process. The forms you need to complete this process are on our website under Financial Aid Forms.

I have an outside scholarship. Do I need to report it to the Financial Aid and Scholarships 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 and Scholarships Office. The university will adjust your financial aid package to compensate; however, the outside scholarship helps to reduce your need, which reduces or eliminates your need to take out loans.

Where are my Stafford Loan funds?

The following must be on file and complete for a loan to release:

  • Apply for and have an "Official" FAFSA on file with our office.
  • Complete the Verification process if you were selected.
  • Be awarded the loan.
  • Accept the loan.
  • Loans disburse after classes begin.
  • Refunds are processed beginning the first week of classes. Loan funds will apply to any outstanding balance and any excess will be issued with a refund check. See the Bursar Website for more information on obtaining your refund.
  • If this is your first Stafford loan, sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete Entrance Loan Counseling at https://studentaid.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. After you submit those requirements, allow 24-48 hours for the school to receive notification and update your records.
  • You must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hrs for undergraduates as well as graduates.
  • First-time freshmen must wait 30 days after classes begin to receive their refunds.
  • If you have completed all these requirements and your loan disbursement has still not posted to your account, please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.
When do I get a refund check?

Once you have completed all the required steps, the funds will be disbursed to the Bursar's office. Their office will review your account and once your balance is paid a refund check will be processed. Checks may either be picked up at a scheduled date or electronically deposited into your bank account. Click here for more information on refund schedules and setting up an e-refund account.

I didn't get the all of the Stafford Loan I requested. What happened?

Scenario One

All loans must be split equally into two disbursements. If you are attending during the Fall and Spring semesters you will receive half the loan in Fall and the second half during the Spring semester. If you are only attending during the Spring semester you will receive one disbursement at the beginning of the semester and the second disbursement at the mid-point of the semester. If you are graduating in December and only attending during the Fall semester you are only entitled to borrow half our of your eligible amount.

Example of a Senior borrowing $5,500 of a Stafford Loan

Fall and SpringFall - $2750 Spring - $2750
Spring OnlyJanuary - $2750 Mid March - $2750
Fall OnlyFall - $2750 Spring - $2750 would be canceled

Note: First-time Freshmen must wait 30 days after classes begin to receive their first loan disbursement.

Scenario Two

Processing fees take between 1 and 3 percent of the loan. For example, if you borrow $3500 our office will split the loan into two equal amounts.

Fall - $1750 Spring - $1750

The Department of Ed will take up 3% as a processing fee. 3% of $1750 is $52.50

When the funds are disbursed to your Bursar's account you will actual receive $1697.50 each semester

Who is my lender?

For loans taken July 1, 2010 and beyond, your lender for Direct Stafford loans is the US Department of Education. For loans prior to July 1010, refer to www.nslds.ed.gov.

I'm coming back to school. How do I defer my Stafford loans?

You should contact your lender and ask them to send you a deferment form. This form will be completed by UTM's Registrar's Office, which will provide your lender with documentation showing that you are enrolled at least halftime. If you apply for a deferment you must continue to make payments until you are notified that the request has been granted. If you don't, you may end up in default. You should keep a copy of any request form you submit, and you should document all contacts with the organization that holds your loan. You must be attending school at least halftime to be eligible to receive a deferment for your Stafford loans.

Financial Aid Acronyms

Financial aid has its own vocabulary. To help you speak the language, here are the most commonly used terms and acronyms used in our office.


ACTAmerican College Testing Program
IRAIndividual Retirement Account
AFDCAid to Families with Dependent Children
IRInternal Revenue Service
APAdvanced Placement
ISIRInstitutional Student Information Report
CLEPCollege-Level Examination Program
MDEMultiple Data Entry
COACost of Attendance
PHEAAPennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
CPSCentral Processing System
PJProfessional Judgment
EDUS Department of Education
PLUSParent Loan for Undergraduate Students
EFCExpected Family Contribution
PSATPreliminary Scholastic Assessment Test
EFTElectronic Funds Transfer
RAResearch Assistantship
FAAFinancial Aid Administrator
ROTCReserve Officer Training Corps
FAFSAFree Application for Federal Student Aid
SAPSatisfactory Academic Progress
FAOFinancial Aid and Scholarships Office
SARStudent Aid Report
FDSLPFederal Direct Student Loan Program
SATScholastic Assessment Test
FFELPFederal Family Education Loan Program
SEOGSupplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
FSEOGFederal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
TLSTennessee Lottery Scholarship
FWSFederal Work-Study
TATeaching Assistantship
GPAGrade Point Average
USEDUS Department of Education
HHSUS Department of Health and Human Services
VAVeterans Administration