An untold number of private scholarships are offered by corporations, clubs, civic groups, and other organizations. These awards amount to billions of dollars in scholarship funds to American students each year! Criteria for private scholarships may be academic in nature, such as a certain GPA or ACT score, or they may be based on characteristics of you or your family. For example, you may be able to win a scholarship for being active in a certain club, choosing a particular major, or for participating in community service activities.
Beware of Scams! In your search for money for college, be careful to watch for people who just want your money. If someone asks you to pay for scholarship information, just say no. The information should generally be available without charge through other sources, such as a high school guidance office or free scholarship search websites (listed at the bottom of this page).
Did you win a scholarship? Congratulations! Please be aware that if you do receive a private scholarship, not administered through MTSU, you are required to notify the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office at MTSU. Regardless of the amount of the award, or whether or not the award is paid to you directly by a donor or through the university, you are responsible for insuring that your MTSU Financial Aid file reflects all scholarship funds that your receive.
This is important to insure that you—and we!—don’t inadvertently violate any federal regulations regarding your total eligibility for other forms of financial aid. When you receive notification of any award from a donor other than MTSU, please immediately notify the MT One Stop.
If you receive a private scholarship check, please submit the scholarship check to us immediately upon receipt by the donor. Checks should be submitted no later than August 1 for the fall term, December 15 for the spring term, and April 15 for the summer term in order for them to be processed by the first Fee Payment Deadline. Checks submitted after those dates may not be applied in time to assist you with bill payment. If the donor will not be able to provide payment by these suggested deadlines, please refer to the “Requesting a Scholarship Deferment” section below.
Do you have a check that was sent to you by the scholarship donor?
- Make sure that the scholarship check has your name and MTSU ID number listed on the Memo at the bottom of the check. If you go by a nickname or your middle name, be sure to provide your legal first name.
- Check to see whether the check is written just to MTSU, or to both MTSU and you. If your name is included in the "Pay to the Order of" line, you will need to endorse the check by signing the back of it.
- Make a copy of your award letter or any information included with the scholarship check (such as a check stub). We will need a copy of this information, but you should also keep a copy for your records.
- Mail the scholarship check and any accompanying paperwork or information to MTSU to be applied to your account. Send it to us at Financial Aid, SSAC 260, 1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro, TN 37132. If you plan to deliver a scholarship letter or check in person, bring it to the MT One Stop located in the Student Services and Admissions Building, across from the Student Union.
What happens next?
- We will generally apply the scholarship to your account within two business days. If we experience delays due to issues such as a missing signature, we will notify you via your MTSU email address. Cost of Attendance (COA) over-award issues may also delay the processing time.
- Through the last day of the fall term: We will divide the scholarship into two equal portions for fall and spring, unless the scholarship donor provides alternate instructions in an accompanying letter.
- After the last day of the fall term: We will apply the full scholarship amount to the spring semester, unless the scholarship donor provides alternate instructions in an accompanying letter.
- We will add a message to your RaiderNet account, so that you can see which scholarship has been applied.
Does the donor wish to mail your scholarship check directly to MTSU? Please ask the donor to follow these directions to ensure efficient processing of your award.
- Please ask the scholarship donor to note your name and MTSU ID number listed in the Memo section at the bottom of the check or in an accompanying letter. If you go by a nickname or a middle name, ask the donor to be sure to use your legal first name.
- The check should be made payable to MTSU. If the check is made to both MTSU and the student, you will need to endorse the check by signing the back of it. This may delay your award, as we will have to contact you and ask you to come to campus and sign the check. If the donor must make the check out to you, please follow the instructions above for sending the check to MTSU.
- The donor should include a copy of the award letter, or a cover letter with any instructions we must follow. For example, is the scholarship intended to be applied entirely to the fall semester, or be split between fall and spring?
- The donor should include a contact person's name, phone number, and email address in case we have questions about the scholarship or its requirements.
- The scholarship check and any accompanying paperwork or information should be mailed to MTSU to be applied to your account. Financial Aid, SSAC 260, 1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro, TN 37132. If the donor would prefer to deliver the scholarship check in person, it should be brought to the MT One Stop located in the Student Services and Admissions Building, across from the Student Union.
- We will mail a receipt letter to the donor, confirming that the scholarship was applied. During particularly busy times of the year such as the months of July, August, and January, the receipt letter will be sent approximately one month after the scholarship check is applied. During other months, the receipt letter will generally be sent within two weeks after receipt of the scholarship check.
What happens next?
- If you don't see the scholarship applied to your MTSU account as quickly as you expect, please check with the donor to determine when the check was mailed. Allow at least two weeks from this date for the check to arrive and be processed. (Please note that many scholarship donors do not release scholarship checks until after the semester begins!)
- We will generally apply the scholarship to your account within two business days after receiving it from the donor. If we experience delays due to issues such as a missing signature, we will notify you via your MTSU email address.
- Some donors require enrollment verification or an official copy of your billing statement
before they will issue payment; any such requirements are your responsibility to complete.
There are self-serve functions available on RaiderNet for the purpose of fulfilling
these common donor requests.
- Enrollment Verification can be accessed through the Student Records tab. If the most current term’s data has not yet been uploaded by the National Student Clearinghouse, this function may not work as intended. If you receive an error message, contact the MT One Stop.
- A copy of your official billing statement, which includes financial aid details as well as your class schedule, may be accessed through the Student Accounts tab. Select the “Pay current term account balance or payment plan installments” option. When you are redirected to the TouchNet website, go to the eBills tab to view and print your billing statement.
- If the donor gives you a form (asking for financial aid data, enrollment verification, etc) that needs to be completed by an MTSU staff member, please submit to the MT One Stop and allow up to 2 weeks minimum for processing. Any financial aid data requests must include a release signed by you.
- We will generally divide the scholarship into two equal portions for fall and spring, unless the scholarship donor provides alternate instructions in an accompanying letter.
- We will add a message to your RaiderNet account so that you can see which scholarship has been applied.
We recommend that all scholarships for an upcoming aid year be submitted by July 1, if possible, so that the award can be applied before bills are calculated for the fall term. However, many private scholarship donors simply do not issue payments until much later; some well after the semester has begun. We ask that you notify us of an expected scholarship award as early as possible so that we may apply a scholarship deferment to your financial aid package. This temporary placeholder will help reduce the amount of money you need to pay out-of-pocket by the Fee Payment Deadline if payment has not been received from the donor by then. It will also help us insure that you are not over-awarded in accordance with federal rules pertaining to the estimated Cost of Attendance (COA). If an expected scholarship is not reflected on your financial aid package by the time your bill is calculated, please submit the official scholarship award notification to us. To request a deferment, please complete the following steps:
- Make a copy of your award letter or award certificate. The letter or certificate must include the scholarship name and/or donor's name, as well as the expected scholarship amount.
- Write your full name and MTSU ID number on the letter or certificate, if this information is not already included. If you go by a nickname or your middle name, be sure to provide your legal first name.
- You may fax the letter or certificate to the scholarship staff at 615-494-7770 or mail it to Financial Aid, SSAC 260, 1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro, TN 37132. If you plan to deliver a scholarship letter or check in person, bring it to the MT One Stop located in the Student Services and Admissions Building, across from the Student Union.
- We will generally apply the scholarship deferment to your account within one week of receipt.
- We will generally divide the scholarship deferment into two equal portions for fall and spring, unless the scholarship donor provides alternate instructions in the award letter.
- We will add a message to your RaiderNet account, so that you can see which scholarship has been accounted for.
- When we receive the actual scholarship check and apply it to your account, we will cancel the deferment. If we receive only the fall award but are expecting a spring portion also, we will leave the spring deferment on your account until the spring scholarship funds are received.
During your junior year in high school, begin searching for scholarships. You may want to register with a free scholarship search Web site to find information about awards that match your profile. When thinking about where to search for scholarships and what to search for, think outside the box. Yes, the internet is a great resource, but so are high school counselors, professors, church youth coordinators and pastors, college financial aid web sites, and local community organizations. Don’t forget to use your contacts!
There are a number of websites devoted to connecting students to potential scholarship opportunities. You might begin your search by looking at any of the following: