10 Tennessee Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
Tennessee is known for many things, from music (Nashville) to food (Memphis-style BBQ) to whiskey (Jack Daniels). Another notable thing about Tennessee is its great colleges and universities, which include Vanderbilt, Sewanee, and the University of Tennessee. Helping students attend these excellent institutions are numerous Tennessee scholarships.
10 Tennessee Scholarships
Amount: $1,000 to $2,000
Deadline: April 15
Eligibility: High school seniors from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas who are affiliated with a bird dog club, organization, or association
Application Requirements: Essay
Although not specifically a Tennessee scholarship (it’s open to students from three states: Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas), this is an excellent opportunity for Tennessee students interested in wildlife conservation and writing. Students are tasked with composing a 900- to 1,000-word essay from a list of topics provided by the scholarship organizers. Three scholarship recipients are selected, with the first-place finisher receiving $2,000, the second-place finisher receiving $1500, and the third-place finisher receiving $1,000. The Bird Dog Foundation Essay Contest is a one-time award paid to an accredited college or university.
Deadline: January 15
Eligibility: AQHYA or AQHA member from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Tennessee who competes in AQHA-approved shows enrolled, or enrolling, in a four-year undergraduate program
Application Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA, transcript, and three letters of recommendation
This scholarship offered by the American Quarter Horse Foundation (AQHF) is available to students from Tennessee, as well as from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Ideal candidates will have been a member of the AQHF—or their youth organization, the AQHYF—for at least a year and have competed in AQHA-approved shows. Recipients are chosen based on a variety of criteria, including academic achievement, financial need, Quarter Horse involvement, as well as attributes like leadership and communication skills.
Deadline: February 25
Eligibility: College-bound high school senior from a Nashville or Middle Tennessee area high school
Application Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA (from sophomore year of high school) and essay
This scholarship is provided by the NHL’s Nashville Predators and is named after the first president of the team. Typically, four winners are chosen and, in the past, have been honored at a Predators home game. Recipients are chosen based on the leadership they’ve shown in the classroom and on the athletic field, community outreach they’ve performed, the value they place on education, and their work ethic. Applicants are also judged on their academic achievement by their essay—a two- to three-page composition about their community involvement and how it has impacted them.
Deadline: May 13
Eligibility: Undergraduate juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in an accredited college or university in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia
Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, and three letters of recommendation
This scholarship is awarded by the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A). Recipients are selected on the following criteria:
- Financial Need
- Education and GPA
- Volunteer work with the elderly
- Connection to the SE4A
As part of the application, students must submit a maximum three-page-long essay detailing their interest in the fields of gerontology or geriatrics, their future interest in the field, and how they will benefit by winning the award. Three SE4A Scholarships are awarded annually.
Deadline: December 15
Eligibility: College-bound Middle Tennessee residents who are high school seniors or undergraduates planning to pursue a business or STEM degree
Application Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA and minimum 21 ACT score
Since 2006, this Tennessee scholarship has provided 650+ awards totaling more than $16 million to students with demonstrated financial need who plan to pursue, or are pursuing, a business or STEM degree. Scarlett Family Foundation Scholarships are renewable—recipients can receive them for up to four years, provided they maintain a positive academic performance, continue to attend a four-year business or STEM undergraduate program full-time, and financial need persists.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
Eligibility: Graduating high school senior from any Hamilton County school
Application Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA and FAFSA
This great Tennessee scholarship is a need-based award that provides financial assistance to low-income, first-generation college students. Awards range from between $1,000 and $3,000 and are renewable for up to eight semesters of full-time enrollment at any regionally accredited technical, community, or four-year college/university.
Deadline: February 15
Eligibility: Tennessee high school seniors who are Tennessee residents and attend an eligible Tennessee college or university full time
Application Requirements: Minimum 3.5 GPA and a minimum 29 ACT score
The Ned McWherter Scholars is an awesome scholarship in Tennessee aimed at academically excellent high schoolers. To qualify, applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and a minimum 29 ACT score (or equivalent score on the SAT). The scholarship is renewable up to three times for a total of four years, provided the applicant maintains a 3.0 or higher GPA and continues to attend school full time.
Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
Deadline: March 20
Eligibility: Female high school senior or graduate pursuing a degree in STEM or an automotive field attending school in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, or West Virginia
Application Requirements: Transcript, resume, essay, and two letters of recommendation
This scholarship is provided by the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum (SAWF), an organization dedicated to female achievement in the automotive industry. Though not specifically a Tennessee scholarship, it provides an excellent opportunity to female students intending to pursue a STEM career or job in the automotive industry. Recipients must maintain a minimum overall 2.5 GPA and a minimum 3.0 GPA in their major to receive the full award.
Deadline: March 31
Eligibility: High school senior over the age of 13 who plans to attend college the year following high school and from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas
Application Requirements: 500-word or less written essay or maximum three-minute-long video essay
Regions Bank provides 30 $5,000 scholarships annually to students in states where they have full-service branches—15 scholarships are given to essay writers and 15 are given to video creators. Applicants are asked in their essay and video submissions to share a Black individual—whether they’re a famous icon, trailblazer, or local mentor—who has been important in their life and to discuss the contributions of the individual chosen.
Deadline: April 1
Eligibility: High school senior who played Dixie Boys Baseball and is planning to pursue an undergraduate education at a college or university
Application Requirements: Transcript, statement of participation in Dixie Boys Baseball, SAT/ACT scores, essay, two letters of recommendation, and photo
Dixie Boys Baseball, a youth baseball league, might not be recognizable to students across the country, but it’s well known in the eleven southeastern states where it has leagues and to its more than 20,000 players. Despite the organization’s ugly underpinnings—it was originally formed to escape integration and no minorities were allowed—it integrated in 1964, young girls were welcome to join in 1972, and it celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2021. One good thing Dixie Boys is doing today is providing a scholarship program to help participants with substantial need and proven leadership fulfill their college dreams.
3 Tips for Applying to Scholarships
As college costs continue to rise, so does competition for scholarships. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to up your odds of winning an award.
1. Institutional Merit Aid
Colleges and universities award substantially more scholarship dollars than other organizations. Institutions of higher education grant $175 billion in scholarship money annually compared to more than $11 billion in scholarship money granted by other organizations. Students serious about earning a scholarship should focus their attention on earning as much merit aid (awards given based on academic, athletic, or artistic talent and accomplishments) from colleges and universities before moving on to outside scholarships.
2. “Safety” Scholarships
Many of the nation’s best colleges, such as the schools of the Ivy League, do not award merit aid. These colleges simply receive more highly qualified applicants than they have openings and do not need to attract top students. That said, many less-selective schools use impressive awards to lure top students to their campuses. Consider applying to one or two “safety” schools where your profile is especially strong and you have a good chance of winning a significant scholarship.
3. Look at Private Colleges
The high sticker price of private colleges keeps many students from considering them, however, private colleges are often very generous when awarding aid. For example, every college on our list of the top 50 colleges that award merit aid is a private institution. Need another compelling reason to add a few private colleges to your list of schools to apply to? On average, students receiving a scholarship or grant from a private 4-year college will get $7,834 more than a student at a public 4-year college.