A law called the Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act (EVEA) requires state public institutions of higher education to verify that anyone seeking a “state public benefit” is a United States citizen or otherwise lawfully present in the United States.
These requirements must be completed to receive state or institutional grants or scholarships.
If you do not comply, you will be charged out-of-state tuition.
Institutions must verify the US citizenship or lawful presence of students who have:
- Accepted an offer of admission, confirmed their attendance AND
a. Have applied to receive in-state tuition
b. Have applied for a scholarship, grant, loan, tuition or fee waiver, or other financial assistance which is subsidized or paid in whole or in part with state funds.
Students Excluded from EVEA
Institutions do not have to verify the US citizenship or lawful presence of students who:
- Are under 18 years of age
- OR Have not applied to receive in-state tuition, or a scholarship, grant, loan, tuition or fee waiver, or other financial assistance which is subsidized or paid in whole or in part with state funds
- OR Have been offered and have accepted a scholarship, grant, loan, tuition or fee waiver, or other financial assistance which is subsidized or paid in whole or in part with state funds, prior to October 1, 2012.
How UT Confirms the Applicant’s Status
A student’s US citizenship or lawful presence is verified by:
- Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for which your US citizenship or eligible noncitizenship status has been confirmed by the federal government (Citizenship-Confirmed FAFSA).
- OR Presenting documentation verifying your claim of US citizenship or lawful presence in the United States.
- Fax documents to the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 865-974-1182 or the Graduate Admissions Office at 865-974-6541.
- OR Bring documents in person to Undergraduate Admissions at 320 Student Services Building. Graduate documents will be sent to the appropriate office.
For students claiming US citizenship, the institution ensures they have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) OR requires them to provide a copy of one 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 US state, jurisdiction, or territory, except for Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010
- A US government-issued certified birth certificate
- A valid, unexpired US passport; A US certificate of birth abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545)
- A report of birth abroad of a citizen of the United States (FS-240)
- A certificate of citizenship (N560 or N561)
- A certificate of naturalization (N550, N570, or N578)
- A US citizen identification card (I-197,1-179)
Students Claiming Alien Status
Students claiming to be an alien lawfully present in the United States must verify their Alien Registration Number (A#) or 1-94 Admission Number by:
Completing a FAFSA. Please note that this option is only available for the following individuals:
- US permanent residents (individuals with an 1-151, 1-551, or 1-551C permanent resident card); and
- Individuals who have an Arrival/Departure Record (1-94) showing one of the following designations: Refugee; 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).
Presenting two forms of documentation establishing lawful presence in the United States. Examples of acceptable documents include:
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form 1-551)
- Valid, unexpired Foreign Passport with visa stamped “Processed for 1-551;” Permanent Resident Re-Entry Permit (1-327)
- Refugee Travel Document (1-571)
- Employment Authorization Document (Form 1-766)
- Arrival/Departure Record (Form 1-94)
- Valid, unexpired Foreign Passport with valid visa
- Notice of Approval of Status with bottom 1-94 portion attached (Form 1-797); Certificate o f Eligibility for Student Status (Form 1-20); and
- DS-2019 or IAP-66 for J-1 status holders;
- Non-Resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card; and
- Any other document determined by the US 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 forms of documentation establishing lawful presence in the United States, then the institution will verify lawful presence through the SAVE Program.
No Additional Documentation Required
The following students are not required to submit additional verification documentation to the institution:
- Students who are employed by the institution and have had their lawful presence verified through the federal E-Verify program (valid 1-9 on file with the institution)
- Students who have had their lawful presence verified through the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) (e.g., J-1 and F-1 student visa holders).
Deadline for Confirmation
- Submission of the FAFSA or receipt of other documentation listed above shall be presumed to be proof of a student’s eligibility until final verification is received. An institution shall not delay award of benefits based only on pending of final verification.
If a Student’s Status Cannot be Confirmed
- Upon receipt of a final verification that indicates that an applicant is not a US citizen or an alien lawfully present in the United States, the institution must terminate any recurring benefit.
In addition, the institution must notify the Office of the General Counsel in writing if there is a good faith belief that either:
- An applicant has knowingly and willfully made a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation concerning his/her citizenship or lawful presence on the United States;
- OR A person has conspired to defraud the institution by securing a false claim allowed or paid to an applicant.
The institution will retain a copy of all documentation submitted by a student for verification for at least as long as applications for in-state tuition or financial aid are kept.