Undergraduate Financial Aid

The decision to invest in your future through a college degree is a serious choice requiring a sizeable commitment of your personal resources. We get it. At MTSU, we will work hard to help make the costs as manageable as possible, and will provide support as you navigate all possible avenues for financial aid from the state and federal government. 

Generally, financial aid may include a combination of scholarships, grants (which do not require repayment), loans, and/or employment opportunities. Aid may come from several sources, including MTSU scholarships, federal and state government grants or loans, employers, or other private donors. 

Here’s how the financial aid process works at MTSU:

Step 1: Apply to Middle Tennessee State University

Your admitted GPA and SAT or ACT scores will help our Admissions office determine if you are eligible for the University Honors program or an MTSU academic merit scholarship. Your degree program may also offer other merit-based awards once you’ve been accepted.

Apply for undergraduate admission now.

The priority deadline for incoming freshmen students wishing to be considered for MTSU academic merit scholarships is December 1. No scholarship application is required; all incoming freshmen who apply for admission and meet the MTSU academic merit scholarship requirements will be considered. Scholarship award letters for priority applicants will be sent between November and March. Students who establish eligibility for a scholarship (such as applying for admission or submitting missing transcripts or test scores) between December 2 and February 15 may be considered if funding is available after eligible priority applicants have been awarded

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

Once you have applied for admission, your next step in applying for MTSU financial aid will be to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is required in order for you to be considered for assistance through grants, Federal Work-Study, need-based scholarships, and student loans.

We encourage you to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible in the calendar year in which you are applying for admission. This generally means that you’ll want to begin the FAFSA process as early as January. Some aid programs are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and an early application receives priority consideration!

You may initially complete the FAFSA in January based on estimated tax information—this will help ensure consideration for maximum financial aid assistance. However, if you do so, please remember to return to your FAFSA once you have filed your federal tax returns and make a correction to your FAFSA information by using the IRS data retrieval tool (if you qualify) or else by making manual corrections. Using the IRS data retrieval took will streamline later processes if you are selected by the federal government for FAFSA verification.    

You may begin filling out the FAFSA, save it online, and return to it later. You must include the MTSU School Code of 003510 on your FAFSA in order to insure that your results are shared with us.

The FAFSA application is available in three formats:

  • FAFSA on the Web - This easy, quick and secure method automatically checks for errors. Be sure to have all your information you’ll need with you when you start the process. You’ll want to have your tax returns and W-2’s (and your parent's tax returns and W-2’s, if applicable) on hand when you begin. 
  • Renewal FAFSA on the Web - Students who applied for aid last year can use their U.S. Department of Education PIN Number to access the renewal FAFSA. Most of your information is already in the system. All you need to do is update the information!
  • Paper FAFSA - You are encouraged to complete the FAFSA on the Web to decrease errors and increase timely processing. However, you can request a paper FAFSA at https://fafsa.gov/options.htm.

Regardless of which format you choose, be sure to list the MTSU school code (Title IV Code: 003510) to ensure that we will receive your FAFSA information for award processing.

You’ll need a PIN number to file and access your online FAFSA. Parents must also request a PIN number so that they can sign the student’s FAFSA. For assistance go to the Federal Student Aid PIN website.

Finally, one of the best steps you can take to help make the FAFSA process go smoothly is to use the IRS data retrieval process to automatically populate your and your parents’ tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA. This will be very helpful to you later, if you should be selected for verification and required to document the accuracy of your FAFSA.

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 and your family 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 RaiderNet 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 your RaiderNet account

Registered students will have a computer account generated automatically. To activate the email account, follow the instructions at Student Account InformationThe 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 Federal FAFSA Processor and from MTSU. Unsatisfied requirements can be viewed in the Financial Aid Status section of your RaiderNet account (hotlink instructions for setting up RaiderNet financial aid. Further instructions can be found here.

We won’t be able to award your aid or pay aid to your student account unless all requested information and documentation has been provided.

Step 5: Search for private scholarships

Private scholarships may be another way to reduce the cost of your MTSU undergraduate 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: Review your award notice and accept your aid

After your FAFSA application is complete, our Financial Aid Office will determine your award eligibility. Awards are based on an established cost of attendance (COA) and your expected family contribution (EFC).

Your award notice will be sent by email to your MTSU email address. The award notice will provide step-by-step instructions regarding how to log into RaiderNet to view your awards.

The award notice will also contain instructions for completing the MTSU Financial Aid Terms and Conditions. You must agree to the Terms and Conditions via your RaiderNet account before you can accept your awards. The Terms and Conditions document informs students of policies, eligibility requirements, and other important information. 

Your financial aid awards will be posted on your RaiderNet account for you to accept or decline. Please check student requirements and active messages frequently on your RaiderNet account.

Step 7: Complete requirements for any Federal Student Loans

Did you accept a federal student or Parent PLUS Loan? Follow the instructions in the Financial Aid Eligibility section of your RaiderNet account to complete any outstanding loan requirements. This will mean completing the Master Promissory Notes and loan entrance counseling for federal loans, as well as any other outstanding requirements for aid. 

Step 8: Financial aid refunds

Financial Aid refunds occur when the amount of your financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) total more than your MTSU 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. Click here for more information on setting up your Direct Deposit account or contact the MT One Stop 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 January 1 to be considered for Federal student aid, but no later than March 2.