Federal Aid


Carson-Newman University processes Federal Stafford, Federal PLUS, and Grad PLUS loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Carson-Newman recommends that students and parents only borrow what is necessary and to limit borrowing when possible. Students will be awarded their eligibility based on their grade level and enrollment status. Students are encouraged to reduce or cancel loans should they not be needed in order to attend Carson-Newman. Financial Aid Representatives are available Monday – Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm, to assist you with any questions regarding student loans.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford & Grad PLUS Loans 

Current Borrowers of the William D. Ford Direct Student Loan Program (Stafford/Grad PLUS) at Carson-Newman will need to make sure that they continue to accept loans through C-N Connect for the current award year. Should you wish to request a lower amount of Direct Stafford Loan, please go to the “MyCN Financial Aid Access” link from your CN Connect and type in your desired amount under the “accept or decline” tab.

Graduate Borrowers: Graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized loans in the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program due to federal regulatory changes removing subsidies for graduate students.

New Borrowers of the William D. Ford Direct Student Loan Program (Stafford/Grad PLUS) at Carson-Newman must complete the following through the website:

  • Complete an Entrance Counseling Session to review your rights and responsibilities under the federal loan programs. If you completed this for another college, add CN to your counseling session. You will need your FSA User ID and password to log in to the website. Plan at least 30 minutes for completion of the process.
  • You will then have to complete a Master Promissory Note for the Direct Loan program before the Department of Education will electronically disburse your funds to Carson-Newman. You will need your Driver’s License to complete this document.

Note: Once a student completes these documents, they remain valid for ten years and do not need to be completed again within that time. However, if you will borrow from both the Stafford and Grad PLUS programs, you will need to complete a separate MPN for each loan program. 

William D. Ford Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Parent Borrowers may apply for a loan through the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) application. The loan amount may be up to the difference between our Cost of Attendance (COA) and the student’s estimated financial aid. Parents on the FAFSA may apply for the PLUS loan beginning April 1st through August 20th preceding the fall semester for timely disbursement of funds to the student’s account and no later than December 1st of the award year. Parents should also list the loan period as August-May dates. If a student will be enrolled for the whole academic year, applying for one term, such as fall only, is not recommended as adverse credit could occur within six months or less, affecting the ability to borrow for the spring term. 

Carson-Newman does not pre-award PLUS proceeds until we have confirmation that you have been approved. We will automatically receive the results of your credit decision and will process accordingly.  Please respond to any additional paperwork requested to avoid delayed processing. If you are denied a Parent PLUS loan, your student will be reviewed for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan eligibility. The increased loan amounts for students from a PLUS denial, however, may not substitute entirely for the amount a parent may borrow under the PLUS program. You may also be able to borrow a Direct PLUS Loan using an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history to become eligible for the Direct PLUS Loan program. Parents apply for the PLUS loan through the website using your FSA username and password (this is unique to the parent and is not the student’s FSA username and password).

  • If a parent’s PLUS Loan or a student’s additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan creates an overage of payment on the student’s account, the Student Accounts Office will process the refund per the standard credit balance refund procedures found here.  As of fall 2020, if a parent is approved for a PLUS Loan amount that results in a credit balance refund, the refund will always go to the parent borrower on the PLUS Loan application.

 As always, if you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 865-471-3247 or


Federal Grants require that each student complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must re-apply for federal grants by completing the FAFSA each year.  The following are eligible federal grants at Carson-Newman:

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant provides grants for students that demonstrate high need and will be enrolled in an eligible undergraduate program. Amounts range from $636 to $6,195 per year depending on enrollment status of full-time to less than full-time.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG program provides supplemental grants to the highest need students enrolled in an eligible undergraduate program as determined by the FAFSA filing.  Students must also be a Federal Pell Grant Recipient.  Should students be awarded FSEOG and subsequently become ineligible for Federal Pell Grant, those students will also become ineligible for FSEOG. Amounts range from $1000 to $4000. Students may not qualify to receive from year to year based on funding levels awarded to Carson-Newman and the number of high need applicants each year.

Federal TEACH Grant

The Federal TEACH Grant program provides grants for graduate and undergraduate students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families.  Students must enroll in an eligible teacher education program (not all education programs at Carson-Newman have been designated as eligible programs for this grant): Special Education, Math, Biology, Chemistry, French, and Spanish; M.A.T. in English as a Second Language and in previously mentioned subject areas.  Amounts are $4,000 per year for full-time enrollment; $3,000 for three-quarter-time enrollment; $2,000 for half-time enrollment; $1,000 for less than half-time enrollment (minus a processing fee for each amount).  Total awards are subject to an aggregate limit over the course of a student’s education.  Failing to complete the four year teaching obligation will convert the grant to an unsubsidized loan, retroactive with interest.