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Getting the MTSU Experience During the Pandemic

Getting the MTSU Experience During the Pandemic

Picking where you’re going to spend the next four years of your life is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. With so many choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, and wrapped up in the excitement that surrounds picking a school and packing up for a new adventure.

But what if the place you’re looking for is right here in Middle Tennessee at MTSU? While COVID-19 has complicated the process of deciding where to go to college, many students and parents have decided it may be best to stay closer to home.

With more than 300 programs and eight colleges at MTSU, there’s something for everyone. And if you don’t know what your thing is, that’s ok. We’ve got the best of the best here to answer your questions, offer guidance and help you with that decision.

In 2019, The Princeton Review named MTSU as one of the best places to earn an undergraduate degree in the country, calling the University “a go-to for those wishing to receive a quality and affordable education.”

The University’s recording industry program was called a “Grammy Factory” on national TV during a special on NBC Nightly News. In 2020, Billboard Magazine named MTSU as one of its top music business schools, and the University’s online master’s program in supply chain management was ranked nationally for affordability. 

Affordability and Aid

When choosing a college, there are many factors at hand. One that’s often at the top of most people’s list is affordability.

Out of the 75 four-year colleges here in the Volunteer State, MTSU’s tuition and fees remain the lowest among the state’s three largest universities. For many students, the cost to attend MTSU is no more expensive than choosing to go to a community college.

Thousands of students at MTSU qualify for some kind of assistance and/or scholarships, including the HOPE Scholarship, which provides students up to $2,250 each semester if they maintain a certain GPA. Pell Grant recipients often have little to no tuition fees or costs at MTSU. Read more about scholarships here.

Around 40 percent of our students graduate with little or no debt because of scholarships and other programs.

Spring 2020 graduate, Angele Latham is one of those students.

“Scholarships were absolutely vital to my education. I did not have any financial support to make it through college, and as a high school graduate from a very small town, I didn’t have enough money saved up to even get me through one semester. If it weren’t for scholarships–both private and institutional– I would never be where I am today. Scholarships are definitely an underutilized resource that students need to take better advantage of,” Latham said.

Could you attend MTSU tuition-free?

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, first-time freshmen paying in-state tuition and attending the University full-time could attend MTSU tuition-free.

With the lowest tuition and greatest value of the state’s three major comprehensive universities, tuition and fees at MTSU can be covered by federal aid and other scholarships for students who fall within the income and academic criteria set by state and federal governments.

Enrollment Coordinators in the MT One Stop work with current and incoming students to make sure they are connected with the appropriate aid and scholarship offerings based on eligibility. Learn more.

New Scholarships for Freshmen

MTSU also recently unveiled three new guaranteed scholarships for qualified freshmen.

Dr. Sidney McPhee previously said the scholarships were designed for “prospective freshmen in our region who are now considering higher education options that are closer to home due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Applications for the three awards – the Lightning Scholarship, the Blue Raider Scholarship and the Future Alumni Scholarship – will be accepted until August 14. The Fall semester begins 10 days later on Monday, August 24. Last month a task force made up of faculty, staff, students and community members recommended a “modified” reopening for the University in the fall. A mix of on-campus, hybrid and online courses will be offered. Read more about  the task force’s recommendations here.

Close-knit, community feel

Even with more than 20,000 students enrolled and around 3,000 employees, there’s something special about MTSU that gives it that close, community feel. At MTSU you’re not just a number in a huge lecture hall, you’re family.

Choosing a four-year university experience also allows you to build stronger relationships with our top-notch faculty members who are among the best of the best in their fields.

Many of the University’s programs offer a hands-on experience that students wouldn’t find anywhere else. Students have the opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, assist in faculty-led research, work at top events like Bonnaroo and Nashville Fashion Week and help milk the cows at the dairy farm where our famous chocolate milk is produced.

So many majors and extracurricular activities

With more than 300 programs – many of which are nationally recognized – there is something for everyone, and we mean everyone.  And you’ll be learning in top-notch facilities. In the last five years, the University has added a new science building, and a new psychology, criminal justice, social work building will be finished in the near future. A new building for concrete and construction management has also been approved by the State with construction expected to begin soon.

Students majoring in recording industry, journalism, media arts, or fashion merchandising all have access to state-of-the-art equipment and award-winning professors. And undergraduate research opportunities aren’t only available to students but also encouraged.

Besides our programs, MTSU also has hundreds of clubs and organizations you can get involved in. Everything from writing for the student newspaper to being part of the Blue Zoo and cheering on the Blue Raiders to victory to everything in between. Campus is also home to hundreds of concerts, shows, plays and lectures each year. Learn more about student organizations here.

MTSU video and film production students pose with President Sidney A. McPhee, third from left, and Department of Media Arts professor Bob Gordon, right, in front of the university's $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab on Day 2 of the 2019 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Student multimedia teams have covered Bonnaroo each summer since 2014 as a real-world classroom and hope to do so again when the pandemic-rescheduled event opens in September. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU video and film production students pose with President Sidney A. McPhee, third from left, and Department of Media Arts professor Bob Gordon, right, in front of the university’s $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab on Day 2 of the 2019 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Student multimedia teams have covered Bonnaroo each summer since 2014 as a real-world classroom and hope to do so again when the pandemic-rescheduled event opens in September. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Is it wise to take a gap semester or year?

Many high school graduates and currently enrolled college students may be wondering with the devastation caused by COVID-19 if now is the time to take a gap semester or year.

Studies have indicated that a gap year, or semester, decreases the likelihood of college completion. Besides that, it will delay graduation, your entry to the workforce and it may impact eligibility for some valuable scholarships.

Notable graduates in the Middle Tennessee area

With more than 130,000 local alumni, chances are you will find yourself working with other True Blue graduates.

And who doesn’t want to say they went to the same school as country artists Chris Young andHillary Scott, or music producers Tay Keith and Luke Laird, or Titans’ player Kevin Byard, and Nashville radio personality Savannah Grimm?

And while life looks a little different than it did last year this time on campus before the novel COVID-19 pandemic, we promise you that the University will do everything to keep its students, faculty and staff safe. We’re here to help you find your True Blue path. We’re here to help you stay on course.

For information on how to apply, click here.


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