MTSU significantly increases Presidential Scholars...

MTSU significantly increases Presidential Scholarship [+VIDEO]

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University announced Tuesday, Oct. 2, that it will substantially increase the value and broaden eligibility of its Presidential Scholarship, a move that will more than double the amount awarded to some high-ability freshmen who enroll next fall.

President Sidney A. McPhee announced the scholarship enhancement at the university’s True Blue Tour stop in Franklin, part of its annual admissions road trip to 14 cities in four states. MTSU added the Williamson County visit in 2015 as part of a partnership with the school system to step up recruitment of its top university-bound students.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Grant Hampton.

As MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, announces the expansion of the university’s Presidential Scholarship, Independence High School senior Grant Hampton, 17, of Thompson’s Station, holds a large replica of an $18,000 check representing the new four-year award amount, announced Oct. 2 during the MTSU True Blue Tour visit to Franklin, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The Presidential Scholarship, McPhee said, will increase 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 will guarantee the scholarship to all students who apply to the university before Dec. 1 and meet the eligibility criteria. To apply, visit

“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.

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.

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 competitive and selective full-tuition scholarship offered through the University Honors College.

McPhee said the expanded Presidential Scholarship award will begin with freshmen entering in fall 2019.

The president surprised one such student, Grant Hampton, 17, an Independence High School senior, with the news during the admissions student reception in Franklin, replacing an oversized replica check for $8,000 with a new one for $18,000.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee with Kimberly Hampton and her son, Grant Hampton.

Independence High School senior Grant Hampton, right, hugs his mother, Kimberly Hampton, after MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee announced the expansion of the Presidential Scholarship Oct. 2 during the university’s True Blue Tour visit to Franklin, Tenn. The award will be for students who have a 25 to 29 ACT score and 3.5 GPA or higher. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“It’s mind-blowing,” said Hampton, a Thompson’s Station resident, who’s earned a 3.9 GPA and scored a 25 on his ACT. “It’s everything to me. Now I don’t have to worry about finding financial aid.”

He plans to study computer science.

“I am going to be doing what I want to do,” Hampton added.

Kimberly Hampton called her son “very determined.”

“Grant is a wonderful child. God has blessed us,” she said of herself and her husband, Denny Hampton, before thanking “everybody who put this together.”

MTSU alumnus James Mason, a family friend who works with Kimberly Hampton, said he “can testify to the type of person Grant is. His determination, focus on academics and commitment, coupled with this award, speaks volumes.”

McPhee said the university reallocated existing funds in its budget to pay for the scholarship enhancements. He added that MTSU is exploring more changes that could be in place as soon as fall 2020.

“We feel strongly that MTSU, as a major comprehensive university with a broad array of top-notch majors, is the best choice for these high-ability students,” he said. “Enhancing this scholarship will make it even more practical and affordable for them to pursue their higher education goals on our beautiful campus.”

For more information about admissions, email admissions@mtsu.eduor call 615-898-2233.

— Randy Weiler (

MTSU Honors College associate dean Philip Phillips.

University Honors College Associate Dean Philip Phillips visits with prospective students and their family members during the Oct. 2 True Blue Tour visit to Franklin, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Linda Olsen at the True Blue Tour event in Franklin, Tenn.

Linda Olsen, MTSU undergraduate admissions director, addresses the audience at the Oct. 2 True Blue Tour event in Franklin, Tenn., emphasizing a Dec. 1 deadline to applied for guaranteed scholarships. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)