8 Scholarships for Students in Tennessee

The Volunteer State is home to over 70 colleges and universities, and if you’re planning to attend one, you’re probably also looking for ways to cover the costs. Luckily, a number of scholarships are available to students in Tennessee, both from the state government and from independent organizations.

Foggy mountains at sunrise in Tennessee.

Ned McWherter Scholars Program

Amount: $6,000 (renewable)

Deadline: February 15

The Ned McWherter Scholars program was created to encourage high-achieving Tennessee residents to attend college in-state and is funded half-and-half by the State of Tennessee and Tennessee colleges.

To be eligible, students must score 29 or higher on the ACT (1280 SAT) and have a GPA of at least 3.5. Students must submit official transcripts, an official standardized test score report, as well as an application. Scholarships are competitive and funds are limited.

Tennessee Student Assistance Award

Amount: $1,000 – $4,000 (renewable)

Deadline: File the FAFSA

This scholarship is awarded by the state of Tennessee to needy students who attend Tennessee institutions of higher learning. To be eligible, students must be Tennessee residents and have an expected family contribution (according to the FAFSA) of less than $2,100.

If you think you qualify and hope to receive this scholarship, be sure to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible.

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,750 per semester for freshmen and $2,250 for upperclassmen

Deadline: September 1 (Fall); February 1 (Spring and Summer)

If you’re a Tennessee resident and you’re planning on going to college in-state, you don’t want to miss out on the HOPE scholarship. Funds for this scholarship come from the Tennessee Lottery, and are awarded to students who have been residents for at least one year, graduated from a Tennessee high school with at least a 3.0 GPA, and scored a 21 or higher on the ACT (or 980 on the SAT).

To remain eligible, students must enroll in college no more than 16 months after graduating from high school. Students are automatically considered when they submit a FAFSA to a Tennessee college or university. Satisfactory academic progress is required to continue receiving the HOPE scholarship.

General Assembly Merit Scholarship

Amount: $1,500 (renewable)

Deadline: Supplement to HOPE Scholarship

This merit scholarship is awarded to students who meet the residency requirements for the HOPE scholarship, but scored at least a 29 on the ACT (1280 on the SAT) and achieved a high school GPA of at least 3.75.

The scholarship amount is yearly and added on top of the HOPE scholarship amount. Students at Tennessee colleges and universities are also automatically considered for the GAMS by submitting the FAFSA by the deadline.

Aspire Award

Amount: $750 per semester (renewable)

Deadline: Supplement to HOPE Scholarship

Needy students who qualify for the HOPE Scholarship may receive additional assistance through the Aspire Award. To be eligible, students must meet all the residency and academic requirements of the HOPE Scholarship, and their parents must make less than $36,000 per year (according to IRS forms).

Students attending college in Tennessee are automatically considered by submitting the FAFSA by the deadline.

Tennessee HOPE Access Grant

Amount: Up to $1,375 per semester (renewable)

Deadline: September 1 (Fall); February 1 (Spring and Summer)

The HOPE Grant is a government-funded scholarship awarded each semester to needy students who may not have met the requirements for the HOPE scholarship. To be eligible, you must have been a Tennessee resident for at least one year and plan to attend a Tennessee college or university. In most cases, you also must have graduated from a Tennessee high school, and your parents also have to be residents and make less than $36,000 per year (according to IRS forms).

Students must have achieved a high school GPA of at least 2.75 and an 18-20 on the ACT (or 860-970 on the SAT). Submit your FAFSA by the deadline and you’ll be automatically considered. To renew the grant, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Dependent Children Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: File the FAFSA

For students who have a parent who was a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician and was either killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty, the Dependent Children Scholarship Program helps take off some of the financial burdens of college.

To qualify, students must have Tennessee residency and file the FAFSA.

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 15, 2020

Technically this isn’t just one scholarship. Instead, this shared application opens the door to 100 scholarships provided by members of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Eligibility differs depending on the scholarship. Luckily, the foundation’s site allows you to search for scholarships that are relevant to you. In addition to the application, students must submit two letters of recommendation.

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