Almost every student attending Cumberland receives some form of financial aid. Some you have to pay back, but others are outright free. The information you need to apply for them is all here. You have to re-apply for most loans and grants every year – it’s not a one-time process.
Also, don’t think of scholarships as something you can only get as an incoming freshman. Cumberland offers a full variety of scholarships available to sophomores, juniors, specific majors, community-based awards – it’s quite a long list. Financial aid can help open many doors.
Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that generally doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based. They can be awarded by the federal or state government, your school, or a private or nonprofit organization.
The Federal Pell Grant Program is the largest Federal student aid program. The purpose of the program is to ensure that all eligible students have at least a portion of the necessary money to meet college expenses. The amount of each Federal Pell Grant depends on the student’s financial need, the cost of education, and the enrollment status of the student.
A Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is an award to help undergraduates pay for their education. The amount that a student receives depends upon financial need, the amount of money the school has for the program, and the amount of aid the student receives from other programs. Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority in FSEOG awards.
The Tennessee Education Lottery or HOPE Scholarship is a state scholarship awarded to first time freshmen who meet the eligibility requirements. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application for the HOPE scholarship.
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program (TSAA) was established to provide non-repayable financial assistance to financially-needy undergraduate students who are residents of Tennessee. Applicants must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment, at least half time, at a public or an eligible non-public post-secondary institution in Tennessee. The TSAA is a state-funded grant program and includes funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery. Students must submit a FAFSA to apply and are encouraged to do so as soon after January 1st as possible.
Athletic Grants at Cumberland University support intercollegiate athletic teams in various sports for men and women. Athletic Grants are available for some, but not all, of the sports depending on the division in which the University participates. Awards are based on need and/or talent and are awarded by the Head Coach under the discretion of the Athletic Director. Students must meet the NAIA requirements, as well as the Cumberland requirement of a 2.00 cumulative GPA.
Fine Arts Scholarships support several areas of fine arts. Areas include band, chorus, art, theatre and dance. Scholarships are awarded by the directors of the area of interest with the direction of the department chairperson. Awards are based upon need and/or talent and participation.
Loans are often included in the award package. Loans are financial resources that allow students to defer the cost of their education by borrowing now and paying later. Students are not required to accept the loan portion of their financial aid award packages. Cumberland University is a borrower-based institution and participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program.
The Federal Perkins Loan is a federally funded, low-interest loan program. Awards are based on calculated financial need as demonstrated by the information students provide on the FAFSA and the availability of funds. The current interest rate is 5%. Interest does not accrue while the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. Repayment begins nine months after the student leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. Schools are given a very limited amount of funding for this program. Preference is given to students who receive a Federal Pell Grant and demonstrate exceptional need. Students must sign a promissory note before these funds can be credited to their account. All Perkins Loan recipients must participate in an exit interview if they do not plan to return to Cumberland University the following academic year.
The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan Program is a need-based program that allows undergraduate students to borrow money to help pay for college expenses. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (ED) rather than a bank. No interest is charged on subsidized loans while the student is in school at least half-time and during deferment periods. Repayment does not begin until six months after the student ceases to be enrolled as at least a half-time student.
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan allows students who do not qualify for Federal interest subsidies under the Federal Stafford Loan Program to borrow money for college expenses. Eligibility for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not based on a family’s demonstrated need. The Department of Education is the lender under this program. The government does not pay the interest on behalf of borrowers under the Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. The combination of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal loans for a borrower may not exceed the annual and aggregate limits for loans under the Federal Stafford Loan Program.
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program offers creditworthy parents of dependent students another option in financing their students’ education. Federal PLUS loans are not based on demonstrated need and may be used to replace all or portions of the calculated family contribution for students who completed a FAFSA. Repayment begins once the loan has been fully disbursed. Borrowers may contact their loan servicer to discuss deferment options that are available while their student is enrolled at least half-time.
Alternative or Private Loans can provide the student and their family with another avenue for meeting remaining costs and covering expected family contribution. Many banks and lending institutions offer student loans privately to creditworthy borrowers. The loan will be in the student’s name, but most lenders also require a co-signer. These loans generally do not require the completion of the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), may be based upon ability to repay and may carry a higher rate of interest than Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Terms, fees and interest rates vary.
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