How to Apply for Financial Aid

Types of Financial Aid and How to Apply

Memphis College of Art Institutional Awards

To apply for Memphis College of Art scholarships, a student need only submit all required application materials to be considered for scholarships and grants. Students will be notified of portfolio scholarship awards along with their acceptance replies. MCA institutional awards are determined by admissions review rankings.

Students can also qualify for Memphis College of Art work-study awards, transfer grants, and/or Governor’s Honors Grants. Students should contact their admissions counselor for more information regarding eligibility and the application process.

Federal Financial Aid

Eligibility for federal and state government aid is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Memphis College of Art’s required federal code is 003507.

Click here to complete the FAFSA online. MCA Admissions is offering a FAFSA workshop session with a short College Affordability presentation. Click here to register!

Student and parent information is required on this form if the student is dependent (usually younger than 24 years of age). Only student information is needed if the student is considered independent (usually 24 years of age or older). Student loans, Tennessee state grants and scholarships, and MCA need-based grants are based on FAFSA information as well. Additional information about federal aid programs is available at

Graduate students working on a master’s level degree will only be eligible for student loans from the government. They cannot receive federal or state grants. They can receive veteran’s benefits and work-study as described below.

International students are not eligible to receive federal or state aid.

The FAFSA form information provides the financial aid office with an Expected Family Contribution number (EFC). This is the number used to calculate the student’s aid eligibility for need-based grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study awards.

Federal Financial Aid

Pell Grants

The federal government offers Federal Pell Grants of up to $5,775 (for the 2015-16 school year) per year. Pell grant eligibility is based on FAFSA information and added to the student award letter if qualified.

SEOG Grants

The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are federal grants awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional need as based on FAFSA information, and at Memphis College of Art are awarded at $400 annually.


Students who qualify can be awarded a federal work-study allotment to be earned by working a part-time job for the college. The average work-study award at MCA is $800 per academic year averaging five hours per week each semester. Student workers are paid $8 per hour ($9 per hour for graduate students) bi-weekly during the semesters.

Federal Direct Student Loans

All students who complete the FAFSA form can borrow student loans from the federal government through the direct loan program. These loans do not require a credit check and are offered as the need-based Subsidized Loan or the non-need-based Unsubsidized Loan. Loan amounts for students to borrow are limited according to credits earned each year.

Freshmen (0-29 earned hours): $5,500 annually

Sophomores (30-59 earned hours): $6,500 annually

Juniors and Seniors (60+ earned hours): $7,500 annually

Graduate Students: $20,500 unsubsidized annually (or up to the student’s cost of attendance budget)

Repayment of student loans begins six months after graduation, leaving college for any reason, or dropping below half-time enrollment. Interest rates and repayment options for student loans can be discussed with the Financial Aid Office and are available through the Department of Education at and

Parent PLUS Loans/Graduate Student PLUS Loans

A parent (biological or custodial parent whose information was provided on the student’s FAFSA) can borrow to help their dependent undergraduate student pay for college. Graduate students may also apply for additional loan funds through the credit-based PLUS loan program. An approved credit check, which can be run by the college, parent or graduate student, is required for eligibility. If the parent loan is denied, the student will have increased unsubsidized loan eligibility in the amount of $4,000 per year for a freshman/sophomore level student or $5,000 per year for a junior/senior level student. Credit approval for PLUS loans must be renewed annually.

Repayment of the Direct PLUS loan begins 60 days after the loan is disbursed.
Interest rates and repayment options for student loans can be discussed with the Financial Aid office and are available through the Department of Education at

How to apply for Student loans:

Applying for student loans will require completing a series of forms/applications. These only need to be completed the first time borrowing from the Department of Education.

Student borrowers will need to complete the following three steps:

  1. Determine the amount to borrow—maximum eligibility is indicated on the financial aid award letter, but can be reduced to any lesser amount
  2. Complete the Master Promissory Note for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans at (you will need your FSA ID)
  3. Complete the Loan Entrance Counseling at

Parents or Graduate Student Borrowers of the PLUS loan will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Determine the amount to borrow—maximum eligibility is indicated on the student’s financial aid award letter, but can be reduced to any lesser amount
  2. The parent or graduate student must complete the Master Promissory Note for Federal Direct PLUS Loans at (you will need your FSA ID)
  3. ***NEED LINK Complete a credit check for the PLUS loan (a link is available under “Financial Aid>Forms”) at


The Department of Education randomly selects FAFSA applications that the Financial Aid Office is required to “verify” specific information. Verification is a process that requires the student and/or parents to submit household and tax information to verify the information provided on the FAFSA application in order to receive federal and state aid. There are four different verification forms (each focuses in on different tax information provided). The forms are also divided for dependent students (which require parent information) and independent students (which do not require parent information). These forms are available under “Financial Aid>Forms>Verification.” Verification must be completed to receive federal and state aid.

Alternative Student Loans

Private loans are available to students who have additional need for funding. More information on these loans can be found by contacting the Financial Aid Office.

Veterans Benefits

Students who are eligible for veteran’s benefits should submit their application (form 22-1990) through the Veterans Administration’s (VA) website at The VA will produce a Certificate of Eligibility. Students can submit this document to the Financial Aid Office. Students with questions about benefit eligibility and coverage can call the VA Educational Benefits information line at 888-442-4451.

Tennessee State Financial Aid for Tennessee Residents

The state of Tennessee has grant/scholarship money available to eligible residents. Completion of the FAFSA is required to determine eligibility.

TSAA Award

The state of Tennessee offers a state Tennessee State Assistance Award (TSAA), a $4,000 annual need-based grant to qualifying residents. There is a February 1 FAFSA priority deadline for first-time recipients of this grant.

TELS Lottery Scholarship

The Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarship (TELS)— also known as the Hope Lottery award—is based on merit with a need-based award Aspire Award available to eligible students as determined by the FAFSA form. An additional merit award (GAMS) is available to eligible students based on high school credentials. The TELS awards require a FAFSA completion deadline of September 1.

Special Circumstances

If you have a unique financial situation, please contact the financial aid office at 901-272-5136 or at 800-727-1088.

Financial Aid Policies

Memphis College of Art’s financial aid policies and regulations can be found in the annual Student Handbook.

Memphis College of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Additional Information