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. Remember to submit your FAFSA application by the MTSU priority date of March 1. Do not wait for an admission decision before submitting your FAFSA. We recommend that you use the IRS data retrieval process to automatically populate your tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA.

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 spouse’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 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. For assistance go to the Federal Student Aid PIN website.

Finally, one of the best steps you can take to help make the FAFSA tool go smoothly is to use the IRS data retrieval process to automatically populate your 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 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 information 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 RaiderNet 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 Eligibility section of your RaiderNet account. Further information 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 January 1 to be considered for Federal student aid, but no later than March 1.