Applications from incoming freshmen who are eligible for one of Middle Tennessee State University's guaranteed academic scholarships are up 26 percent as of mid-November, prompted in part by the newly enlarged Presidential Scholarship unveiled earlier this fall.
The surge prompted admissions officials to issue urgent reminders to prospective students and high school guidance counselors about MTSU's Dec. 1 application deadline for those eligible for a guaranteed award.
Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services, said the university has been featuring a digital countdown clock on its website, as well as digital billboards and other signage and advertising throughout the state, to stress the importance of the Dec. 1 deadline.
"We've seen such great interest in our guaranteed scholarships, particularly the Presidential Scholarship," Sells said. "But you'll leave money on the table if you don't submit a completed application to MTSU by Dec. 1."
MTSU in October substantially increased the value and broadened eligibility of its Presidential Scholarship, a move that more than doubled the amount awarded to high-ability freshmen who enroll by Dec. 1 and meet the eligibility criteria.
The Presidential Scholarship increased to $18,000 in total value, paid out to eligible incoming freshmen at $4,500 a year for four years. Students must have a 3.5 high school GPA and score between 25 and 29 on the ACT to qualify for the expanded award.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee announced the increased scholarship during one of the first stops of the True Blue Tour, the 14-city, four-state swing by Admissions to reach out to prospective students. As of Nov. 20, the university has confirmed 986 scholarships to applications, compared to 783 as of the same date last year.
"With these enhancements, the Presidential Scholarship becomes the largest guaranteed academic award given by any public university in Tennessee to students with these credentials," McPhee said.
"For Tennessee residents, when combined with the Hope Lottery Scholarship provided by the state, it will substantially reduce the cost of tuition for these high-ability students to attend MTSU.
The Presidential Scholarship previously only paid $4,000 a year to students with ACT scores of 28 to 29. The expanded award now replaces two of MTSU's previous guaranteed scholarships: the True Blue Scholarship, which paid $3,000 a year to students scoring 26 or 27 on the ACT, and the Provost's Scholarship, which paid $2,000 a year to students with an ACT score of 25.
Meanwhile, MTSU will continue to offer students with ACT scores of 30 and up, along with a minimum 3.5 high school GPA, its guaranteed Trustees Scholarship, which pays $20,000 in four annual installments of $5,000.
And, students scoring 29 and above on the ACT and with a minimum 3.5 high school GPA can apply for MTSU's highest academic award, the Buchanan Fellowship, a highly competitive and selective full-tuition scholarship offered through the University Honors College.
Buchanan Fellows, who must complete a separate application process limited to first-time freshmen, receive a host of special benefits including a full tuition waiver (up to 16 hours) guaranteed for four years (excluding summers), special seminars, priority registration, a book allowance and priority consideration for study abroad. More information can be found at www.mtsu.edu/honors.
Like the Presidential Scholarship, qualified students must apply by Dec. 1 to be eligible for the Trustees Scholarship and or Buchanan Fellowship. To apply, visit www.mtsu.edu/apply.