Overawards and Return of Funds
Every student at UTC has a pre-set budget (or cost of attendance) based on their enrollment, residency, and housing status. These budgets include estimated costs of the student's tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation, food, rent, personal expenses, and other expenses if applicable. For example, an in-state undergraduate student living away from their parents (either on- or off-campus) would have a standard budget of $18,794 for the fall-spring terms, but an out-of-state full-time graduate student would have a budget of $32,986.
In many cases, students are awarded scholarships, grants, and other financial aid up to the cost of attendance. Under no circumstances may a student receive aid beyond this pre-set limit. However, in the example shown below, a student was awarded (and received) aid up to their budget only to be awarded a scholarship later in the semester. The existing aid is substituted with the new scholarship, resulting in a return of funds to the relevant entity. This process begins with the return of funds that were non-need-based if possible (i.e. alternative or unsubsidized Stafford loans), and would continue with the return of need-based aid, Subsidized Stafford loans and/or Federal Work Study. As a general rule, loans are returned before Federal Work Study is reduced since repayment of the loan(s) is required first.
The following example is of a full-time, dependent, sophomore student living on-campus. Her Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is $2100 and she is eligible to receive the base HOPE Scholarship.
|$18,794||Cost of attendance|
|- 3,500||Pell Grant|
|- 2,000||TSAA Grant|
|- 4,000||HOPE Scholarship|
|- 3,045||Federal Work Study|
|- 4,149||Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan|
|- 1,100||Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan|
Factoring in the EFC, the student has $1,000 left in their Budget
All of the student's aid has been released to her. Then, she is given a $4,500 scholarship check from a local organization. Less the $1,000 of her remaining eligibility, the student's aid must be reduced by $3,500. Because she has loans that must otherwise be repaid, we will return $3,500 to the Direct Loan Program- $1100 from her Unsubsidized Stafford loan, and $2,400 from her Subsidized Stafford loan. She will not receive a new refund check from the Bursar's Office, because the funds are equally substituted. However, she will owe less money to her lender once she graduates.