If you plan on filing taxes the year you want to attend school, you have to add that information to your FAFSA form. However, you can go ahead and file the FAFSA before you have submitted your taxes. If you apply online, you can go back later and update your tax information once you file. When you file an incomplete FAFSA, the government will contact you via email or mail to let you know there are still some missing items on the form.
One thing to consider when you decide if you will apply before you file your taxes is deadlines. If you have your FAFSA submitted in time, you will be eligible for more grants and scholarships. In Tennessee, the deadline for state grants has already passed, but you can still apply for the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship. Just submit your FAFSA before February 15, 2010. Once you receive the award, you must reapply for it every year through the FAFSA and maintain the requirements.
To keep your TELS award, there are several simple things you must do.
- You must have been a Tennessee resident for a year by September 1 of the application date.
- You are also eligible if you are the dependent child of someone in the U.S. military, the Tennessee national guard on active duty, a Department of Defense employee, or a fulltime religious worker with a Tennessee residency, even if they live outside the country.
There are also grade requirements to meet.
- After attempting 24 and 48 semester hours, you must maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA.
- After 78 hours, there are two options. Either have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, or between a 2.75 and 2.99 cumulative GPA and a semester GPA of 3.0. You also must be enrolled fulltime in school, which is registered for 12 semester hours.
If you need to drop below fulltime or need to drop a class at all, talk to your financial aid counselor. He or she will be able to tell you how this will affect your award, if at all, and how you can get it back if you lose it. There are also details listed on the Tennessee Education lottery scholarship website. Just go to http://www.tn.gov/CollegePays/mon_college/lottery_scholars.htm.
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