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Cost and Financial Support

The cost of the FUTURE program is the standard University of Tennessee tuition and fees plus an additional $5,000 per semester to cover the services that FUTURE provides. This comes to approximately $11,500 per semester in-state and $15,500 per semester out-of-state, excluding housing and food. There are many financial support options available to assist with FUTURE payments. Click the tabs below to learn more.

The US Department of Education awards more than $120 billion a year in grants, work–study funds, and loans to more than 13 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. We recommend every applicant fill out a FAFSA application by January 16. If you do not complete it by then, you can still fill it out before June 30, for the upcoming academic year. To apply, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

In order to be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The federal government provides grant funds for students attending colleges, career schools, and universities. Grants, unlike loans, are sources of free money and do not have to be repaid. These are awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

The Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship is a program designed to assist students with intellectual disabilities who have completed high school and enroll in an individualized program of study of up to four (4) years at an eligible postsecondary institution. Students will receive $1,750 per semester. Students and parents must complete the STEP UP Scholarship application and mail the completed application to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC). In addition, recipients must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) once per academic year. For more information, visit the Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship website.

Tennessee Promise is a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college. It provides students a last-dollar scholarship, covering part of the cost of tuition and fees not covered by Pell Grants, the STEP UP scholarship, or Tennessee Student Assistance Award. Each participant will be assigned a mentor to help them navigate the college admission process. In addition, participants must complete and submit eight (8) hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress while in college. Below you can find this year’s checklist for an idea of what to expect. 



November 1

Apply to the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. A local partnering organization will contact you to help you complete your requirements.

February 1

File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Attend a mandatory meeting coordinated by your assigned partnering organization. Additional details will be sent in the future regarding these meetings. Find your meeting date by high school.


Apply to a community or technical college.

July 1

Complete and report your first eight hours of community service.


If selected, provide requested documentation to complete FAFSA verification.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) provides a variety of individualized services to persons with disabilities in preparation for their employment in the competitive labor market. VR advocates employment outcomes for clients that are consistent with their individual strengths, resources, abilities, capabilities and informed choice. Most of our students receive this funding through Transitional Services.

Established to benefit students of any age seeking post-secondary education who have a permanent intellectual or developmental disability and/or functional impairment. This may include but is not limited to brain injury, musculoskeletal impairment, multiple traumas, neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, or stroke.

Scholarship amount: $1,100 one-time award for one year

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Residency Requirement: East Tennessee Foundation 25-county service area​
  • Post-Secondary Requirement: Enrollment at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, vocational program, trade school, or programs that help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain skills, and make a successful transition from high school to adult life and/or empower students to achieve gainful employment in the community. Post-Secondary institution must be located in Tennessee.
  • Additional Requirement: Permanent intellectual or developmental disability and/or functional impairment
Ruby’s Rainbow is a scholarship program for individuals with Down Syndrome who are pursuing postsecondary education. The program serves students from all over the country who have a desire to be lifelong learners.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Individuals living with Down Syndrome in the United States who are 18 years of age or older
  • Desire and intent to attend postsecondary education program or class
  • High school diploma, transcript, or something of the equivalent nature
  • Can apply for multiple school years

To apply, visit the Ruby’s Rainbow website.

The Laurette Scholarship fund is a one-time $500 scholarship to high school students diagnosed with autism. This scholarship ca be applied toward any college/university, vocational or postsecondary program.

In order to qualify for this scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:

1. The applicant must be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
2. The applicant must be accepted to the college/vocational/certificate program of their choice.
3. The applicant will need to complete the application and await to be selected for the one-time $500.00 scholarship.

Any questions can be sent to To apply, visit the Advocates for Autism website.

While FUTURE does not provide transportation services for students, there are many options available. Many of our students drive themselves or get dropped off by their parents/guardians. To see other transportation options, check the list below.

  • East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA)—You may schedule one-time or reoccurring rides with ETHRA. It should be noted that these rides do require a payment. An application is available on their website.
  • Knoxville Trolley—The Knoxville Trolley is a free program that serves downtown Knoxville and the UT area. Check the different routes to see if they could fit your needs.
  • Knoxville Area Transit Disability PassThe KAT bus system will also provide one-time or occasional pickups. You must fill out an application and pay for this service.