MTSU brick column signage
This June 2020 file photo shows the Blue Raider Drive entrance to Middle Tennessee State with blooming flowers. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Middle Tennessee State University announced that it will again offer a set of three academic scholarships for qualified freshmen entering Fall 2021 who are applying to the university after the traditional Dec. 1 deadline for such awards.

The three awards — the Lightning Scholarship, the Blue Raider Scholarship and the Future Alumni Scholarship — were first introduced last March, as concerns about COVID-19 prompted many high school seniors to delay their college choices for the Fall 2020 semester.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said he decided to again make freshman scholarship dollars available for the Fall 2021 semester, noting that precautions at high schools due to the pandemic may have created obstacles for students to connect with high school counselors or university recruiters before the traditional Dec. 1 deadline.

“We understand the ongoing financial pressures families are facing surrounding the pandemic and hope these new scholarships and expanded deadline will again encourage prospective students to make our True Blue campus their top choice,” McPhee said.

Qualified high school seniors can apply for admissions through Aug. 13, 10 days before the start of the Fall 2021 semester, and become eligible for the awards. Eligibility details include:

  • Lightning Scholarship: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 30 and 36 can receive $3,000 a year for four years.
  • Blue Raider Scholarship: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 25 and 29 can receive $2,000 a year for four years.
  • Future Alumni: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 23 and 24 can receive $1,000 a year for four years.

MTSU already awarded its usual array of guaranteed academic scholarships, which are larger, to incoming freshmen who applied by the Dec. 1 deadline. Those students have until May 1 to confirm the awards.

Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services, said prospective students should go to the Admissions website,, and begin the enrollment process in order to be eligible for the awards. The awards will be automatically applied to eligible students, she said.

McPhee announced Dec. 15 that MTSU is planning to resume its pre-pandemic academic and activity operations by the Fall 2021 semester. MTSU, in late April, was among the first in the nation to announce it would resume some on-campus classes and operations for fall 2020.

Limited capacity in-person campus tours are available this spring by registering at; or prospective students can take advantage of a variety of virtual options, such as self-guided tours, informational webinars and college adviser consultations by registering at

Also, prospective students can text Admissions at 615-492-9553 with questions about the awards, Sells said.

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