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East Tennessee State University officials encourage area residents to use virtual – and free – resources aimed at helping students and families complete the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“In a time of economic uncertainty for so many, it is more important than ever to complete the FAFSA accurately and quickly,” said Catherine Morgan, ETSU director of Financial Aid and Scholarships. “Families who choose not to file the FAFSA usually think they won’t qualify for aid. That is often not true, and the last thing you want to do is miss out on an opportunity for financial assistance to attend college.”

The FAFSA is the student’s gateway to all federal financial aid, and is also the starting point for a range of state and school funding. From the Tennessee HOPE (Lottery) Scholarships to the federal Pell Grant, there are many funding opportunities that will not be available without a completed FAFSA.

At ETSU, current and prospective students have access to the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC). The EOC provides an array of free services, including filing the FAFSA.

To be eligible, students must live in Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi or Washington county in Tennessee. New EOC participants must complete a short application.

The application and other information may be found at etsu.edu/academicaffairs/trio/eoc. Those interested may also call 423-392-8041.

In addition to the EOC, ETSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers a 24/7 “chatbot” service named Bucky, as well as Financial Aid TV.

Bucky answers general questions, such as “How do I file the FAFSA?” and “What will I need to fill out the FAFSA?” Financial Aid TV is home to dozens of short videos covering topics from FAFSA tips to how to determine household size.

These resources and more are available at etsu.edu/financial-aid-and-scholarships.

Further, ETSU assigns students a personal financial aid counselor who is able to field questions via email and phone. Students may also meet with their counselors over Zoom. To find an assigned counselor, visit etsu.edu/financial-aid-and-scholarships/counselors.php.

“At East Tennessee State University, we are focused on providing expert-level customer service to those who are currently enrolled as Buccaneers, as well as anyone who is considering attending ETSU,” Morgan said. “Some funding opportunities are first come, first served, so we encourage students to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities.”

Contributed to the Press