If you are a veteran or active duty military, you could qualify for several different kinds of aid:

Veterans Benefits

The amount of financial aid you qualify for is dependent on the nature of your military service. Some service members may qualify for a percentage of their educational expenses to be covered, while others qualify for all of their expenses to be paid. If you are fully qualified, it means the GI BillĀ® will cover all tuition and expenses. Read: GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill: Determining Qualification and call the VA certifying official, or Veteran One-Stop office at the institution you want to attend

If you are still serving in active duty or currently serving in the reserves, you may be able to pay for classes with Education assistance. Read: About Tuition Assistance by Military Branch.

Federal Aid

You can qualify for Federal Pell Grants independent of your eligibility for Veteran Benefits. In fact, almost everyone is eligible for some type of federal student aid. Close to 60% of adults attending TN schools receive federal aid from the government in the form of Pell Grants. Students who demonstrate need can receive up to $5730 per year in federal aid. Learn more about Pell and other Federal grants you may qualify for.

Don’t miss your chance to receive these grants – fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) here.

Helping Hero Grant

This grant provides awards up to $1000 per semester for qualifying veterans and service members in Tennessee completing 12 hours, or $500 per semester during the academic year in which the student completes 6-11 hours.


  • Be an honorably discharged veteran who had formally served the armed forces of the United States, or a former or current member of a reserve or Tennessee National Guard unit who was called into active military service of the United States
  • Be a Tennessee resident for one year preceding the date of application for this grant
  • Be awarded the following:
    • Iraq Campaign Medal;
    • Afghanistan Campaign Medal; or
    • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, on or after Sept. 11, 2001
  • Enroll at an eligible 2-year or 4-year postsecondary institution (Click Here for a listing.)
  • Have not earned a baccalaureate degree
  • Not be in default on a federal Title IV educational loan or Tennessee educational loan
  • Not owe a refund on a federal Title IV student financial aid program or a Tennessee student financial aid program
  • Be in compliance with federal drug-free rules and laws for receiving financial assistance
  • Not be incarcerated
  • Meet each qualification relating to this grant and applicable to the student
  • Not be required to meet any academic standard at the time of enrollment in order to be eligible for this grant
  • Award of a Helping Heroes Grant shall be made after the completion of a semester, so long as the student successfully completes the course with a non-failing grade as the final grade for the course.

Tuition Assistance

If you are still serving in active duty or currently serving in the reserves, you can pay for classes with Education assistance. Each military branch maintains a system for applying for tuition assistance as a benefit to their service members. To access this benefit, start by checking out, About Tuition Assistance by Military Branch.

The awards and requirements vary by branch, so after some research, you may want to contact education representatives with your branch. Tennessee Army and Air National Guard members, may contact the Joint Forces Education Office, for more information Tennessee Army and Air National Guard. Other branches may want to explore more options.

In-State Tuition

If you are not a Tennessee resident, you can still qualify for in-state tuition based on your veteran status. Check the qualifications to see if this applies to you, and be sure to discuss with the financial aid officer or admissions at the school you are interested in attending. An eligible veteran:

  • Must not have been dishonorably discharged from a branch of the United States armed forces or the national guard;
  • Is eligible for Post-9/11 Gl Bill benefits or Montgomery Gl Bill benefits; and
  • Enrolls in a public institution of higher education, after satisfying all admission requirements, within twenty-four (24) months after the date of discharge as reflected on the veteran's certificate of release or discharge from active duty, Form DD-214, or an equivalent document

GI BillĀ® is a registered trademark of the Department of Veterans Affairs(VA).