Loans, Work, and Other Programs

Your options for financial support

Need help funding your education? Here are a number of options to consider. If you are a veteran, review your eligibility for the special veterans benefits listed.

At the bottom of the page, we’ve included additional resources that all students might find useful. And when you’ve finished reviewing this information, make sure to visit our Scholarships page.

Federal grants, loans, and work options

The federal programs available to our students include Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study, federal direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans for undergraduate and graduate students, and the Direct Plus Loan (PLUS) for parents of undergraduate and graduate students.

State grant and scholarship programs

These options are available to eligible residents of Tennessee: TN Student Assistance Awards (TSAA), Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Aspire Award, HOPE Access Grant, HOPE Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students, HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant. Learn more about these state grants and scholarships.

Other state grants and scholarship programs

You must submit additional information or a separate application for these options: Dual Enrollment, Helping Heroes Grants, Ned McWherter, and Dependent Children Scholarships. Learn more about these state grants and scholarships.

Institutional grants, scholarships, and work programs

The Watkins Financial Aid Office automatically considers you for a Watkins Grant when we review your complete application package. We give first consideration to student need as determined by your FAFSA.

The Watkins Admissions Office awards Institutional Scholarships based on your academic merit and/or application portfolio. Contact Admissions for information on how to apply.

Each Watkins academic department awards Institutional Work-Study opportunities. Contact the department of your intended major for details (FAFSA not require).

Private loans

If you are interested in pursuing additional forms of financial support, ask us about non-federal private loans.

Veterans Affairs education benefits

Watkins degree programs are approved for veterans’ education by the Tennessee State Approving Agency for the training of veterans and their eligible dependents.

  • Start the process by submitting an application online on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
  • Certification of eligibility. Watkins certifies to the Veterans Administration (VA) information about your enrollment or changes in your enrollment if you apply for educational support. In response, the VA will mail a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to you or your dependent disclosing the chapter and level of benefits available to you.
  • Additional forms. The certifying official at Watkins will ask you or your dependent to provide a copy of the COE along with the Certificate of Other Colleges Attended form and the VA Enrollment Verification form. These forms allow us to release your records for certification. Drop by the Business Office to pick up copies of these forms.
  • Other enrollments. If you are a veteran and you wish to apply for aid through the VA, you must disclose all enrollments at other colleges or universities before your first semester at Watkins.

Post 9/11 and Yellow Ribbon Program

Every year, Watkins offers Yellow Ribbon benefits to five qualified students (full-or part-time) on a first-come/first-served basis.

To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program:

  • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  • You must not be on active duty or be a spouse using transferred entitlement.
  • Your school must certify your enrollment to the VA.

You also may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program if you fit the following circumstances:

  • You served an aggregate period of 36 months on active duty after September 10, 2001.
  • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001.
  • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Have questions about this program? Read the Yellow Ribbon FAQ. [pdf]

VetSuccess on Campus

If you are a veteran, you may qualify for benefits under the VetSuccess on Campus Program.

Other benefits for eligible members of the U.S. Armed Forces

Learn about scholarships and loan repayment assistance for veterans.

Helpful tools for all students

Scholarship scams are unfortunately all too common, so we’ve compiled a list of safe and reliable websites for researching scholarship opportunities:

Financial aid planning tools

Scholarship search

State higher education agencies


Financial aid can be complicated, but we’re here to help you navigate the process. Reach out and set up a time to talk if you have questions or need additional information or applications for certain scholarships or student employment opportunities.