NOTICE: New Tennessee Law requires TSAC to verify citizenship status of financial aid applicants.
The Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act requires the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) to verify that students 18 years of age or older who obtain a state public benefit are a United States citizen or otherwise lawfully present in the United States. Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will not be required to submit additional documentation to confirm their U.S. citizenship or lawful presence. Students applying for financial aid that does not require use of the FAFSA may be required to submit documentation to the eligible postsecondary institution of behalf of TSAC verifying U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States.
An applicant that knowingly and willfully makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation regarding citizenship or lawful presence shall be reported to the Tennessee Attorney General for violation of the Tennessee False Claims Act, Tennessee Code Annotated 4-18-101 et seq. and the United States Attorney General for criminal violation of Title 18 of the United States Code Â§ 911.
A student's U.S. citizenship or lawful presence shall be verified in one of two ways:
1. The student completes a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for which the student's U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship status has been confirmed by the federal government. Note: This option is only available for the following individuals:
i. U.S. citizens;
ii. U.S. permanent residents (with an I-151, I-551, or I-551C permanent resident card); and
iii. Individuals who have an Arrival/Departure Record (I-94) showing one of the following designations:
- Asylum Granted;
- Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending);
- Conditional Entrant (Valid only if issued before April 1, 1980);
- Victims of Human Trafficking (T-2, T-3, or T-4 visa); or
- Parolee (who meets certain conditions)
2. If the applicant is 18 years of age or older and the grant or scholarship for which the student is applying does not require use of the FAFSA, then:
a. Students claiming U.S. citizenship shall provide a copy of one (1) of the following documents:
- A valid Tennessee driver license or photo identification license;
- A valid driver license or photo identification license from another state (except for Utah and New Mexico);
- An official birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, or territory, except for Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010;
- A U.S. government-issued certified birth certificate;
- A valid, unexpired U.S. passport;
- A U.S. certificate of birth abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545);
- A report of birth abroad of a citizen of the U.S. (FS-240);
- A certificate of citizenship (N560 or N561);
- A certificate of naturalization (N550, N570, or N578); or
- A U.S. citizen identification card (I-197, I-179).
b. Students claiming to be an alien lawfully present in the U.S. must verify their Alien Registration Number (A#) or I-94 Admission Number by presenting two (2) forms of documentation establishing lawful presence in the United States. Examples of acceptable documents include:
- Valid Tennessee driver license or photo identification card;
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551);
- Valid, unexpired Foreign Passport with visa stamped â€œProcessed for I-551â€;
- Permanent Resident Re-Entry Permit (I-327);
- Refugee Travel Document (I-571);
- Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766);
- Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94);
- Valid, unexpired Foreign Passport with valid visa;
- Notice of Approval of Status with bottom I-94 portion attached (Form I-797);
- Certificate of Eligibility for Student Status (Form I-20);
- DS-2019 or IAP-66 for J-1 status holders;
- Non-Resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card;
- Any other document determined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be acceptable through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program created pursuant to the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
If a student who has claimed to be an alien lawfully present in the United States is unable to present two (2) forms of documentation establishing lawful presence in the United States, then the student may use other forms acceptable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. More information on the SAVE program can be found at www.uscis.gov/SAVE.
If the student is not using the FAFSA to apply for financial aid, the eligible postsecondary institution, on behalf of TSAC, will notify him/her if documentation is needed to complete the verification process.