Graduate Financial Aid

We believe financial aid for graduate education is a partnership between student and institution, one that utilizes every available resource to make the cost of graduate studies more manageable. 

Here are the basics for receiving financial aid for graduate studies at MTSU:

Step 1: Apply to an MTSU graduate program

Apply for graduate studies now or contact your degree program to inquire about scholarship and assistantship opportunities.

The MTSU Financial Aid Office does not award MTSU institutional grants or scholarships to graduate level students. However, your specific degree program may offer a merit-based award after reviewing your application. In addition, if you are interested in a federal loan program to help support your education, the MT One Stop will assist you with the application of the loan.

Step 2: Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

If you’re planning to attend graduate school, you are probably very experienced at submitting the FAFSA. At the graduate level, the FAFSA is required in order for you to be considered for assistance through federal student loans. Do not wait for an admission decision before submitting your FAFSA. 

  • You should apply for a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at The FSA ID is used to login to certain federal websites to access financial aid information and to electronically sign federal student aid documents such as the FAFSA.
  • For the 2017-18 award year (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, and Summer 2018), you can complete the FAFSA at beginning October 1, 2016.
    • The 2017-18 FAFSA income information is based on prior-prior year (2015) income, which eliminates the need to estimate tax information.
    • On the FAFSA, enter the MTSU school code of 003510 so that we get the results.
    • The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not unavailable for the 2017-18 FAFSA. You will need to use a copy of your 2015 Tax Return to complete requested tax information on the FAFSA.

    • The 2017-18 MTSU FAFSA filing priority date is January 17, 2017.
  • For the 2018-19 award year (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019), you can complete the FAFSA at beginning October 1, 2017.
    • The 2018-19 FAFSA income information is based on prior-prior year (2016) income, which eliminates the need to estimate tax information.
    • On the FAFSA, enter the MTSU school code of 003510 so that we get the results.
    • If eligible, you are strongly encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your 2016 IRS tax information into the FAFSA. Doing so will reduce the chance that MTSU will be required to verify the accuracy of your information. 
    • The 2018-19 MTSU FAFSA filing priority date is January 16, 2018.

Step 3: Carefully review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

Once you have filed your FAFSA, you will receive a paper or electronic response from the FAFSA processor called the Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will give you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and will also list your answers to questions on the FAFSA. It is very important that you review the SAR carefully and make sure that all information is correct as listed!

Your SAR will also include a number called the EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. Based on a federal formula, the EFC is the amount of support the federal government expects you to contribute toward your educational expenses. The EFC is in the upper right corner of the Student Aid Report (SAR).

Review your SAR carefully and follow the directions provided to make corrections to any information that is incorrect. Your SAR may also direct you to supply additional or supplementary information to the MTSU Financial Aid Office. Please plan to follow those instructions as quickly as possible, so that we may get your financial files in order well in advance of the semester you plan to attend. Our office will also be reviewing an electronic version of your SAR to see if additional or supplementary information is needed. If additional information is needed, MTSU will contact you via your MTSU email account,

Please respond promptly to all requests from the Federal FAFSA Processor on your Student Aid Report (SAR) and/or to requests directly from MTSU. Unsatisfied requirements can be viewed in the Financial Aid Eligibility section of your Pipeline MT account. Further Instructions can be found here.

Financial aid can't be awarded or paid to your student account unless all requested information and documentation has been submitted and reviewed by the Financial Aid Office. 

Step 4: Set up your MTSU email account and PipelineMT accounts

Registered students will have a computer account generated automatically. To activate the email account, follow the instructions at Student Account Information. The MT One Stop and our Financial Aid office, as well as many other MTSU departments will send important communications to your MTMail email account. Check your inbox regularly for important and time sensitive messages. Again, it is very important that you respond promptly to all requests from the FAFSA Processor and from MTSU. Unsatisfied requirements can be viewed in the Financial Aid Requirements & Holds section of your PipelineMT account. Further Instructions can be found here.

Step 5: Search for private scholarships

Private scholarships may be another way to reduce the cost of your MTSU graduate degree. Search early and often – deadlines will vary so it’s important to stay organized. Here are a few resources to help you get started:

For more information regarding private scholarships, search our private scholarship site.

Step 6: Apply for a loan

If you think you may need additional funds to cover the full cost of your academic year, there are several federal and private loan options available for graduate students. Visit our Loans section to learn more about Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

Step 7: Investigate graduate assistantships

A limited number of graduate administrative assistantships, graduate teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships are available. Graduate Assistantships provide a monthly stipend and a waiver for tuition. Out-of-state residents also receive a waiver for out-of-state fees.

Persons interested in applying for a graduate assistantship should also contact the individual department as additional application materials and references may be required. Some departments may also have specific deadlines for assistantship applications.

Step 8: Financial aid refunds

Financial Aid refunds occur when the amount of your financial aid totals more than your bill. For the fall and spring terms, the earliest you can receive a Financial Aid refund is the first week of classes. For the summer term, Financial Aid refunds will not be given until the start of your classes. The most common way to receive your Financial Aid refund is by Direct Deposit. If you have questions after reviewing the online instructions on setting up your Direct Deposit account, contact us at (615) 898-2111. 

Step 9: Re-apply for financial aid every year

You must reapply for aid before the start of each academic year. Resubmit your FAFSA application as early as October 1 to be considered for Federal student aid, but no later than March 1.