Qualifying Students Can Attend MTSU for Little or No Tuition


University launches web portal to help students assess options

Can you attend Middle Tennessee State University tuition free? For many students, the answer is yes.

MTSU launched Friday, July 1, an effort to help students navigate several scenarios and options that could eliminate, or greatly reduce, the cost of tuition.

“MTSU’s tuition was already the lowest of the state’s three major universities,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “So our decision to hold it flat for the coming academic year, plus recent increases by the state in the HOPE Lottery Scholarship, means many can attend our university at no tuition cost.”

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president

Admissions recruiters and academic advisors are encouraging students to go to a new website, www.mtsu.edu/mtfree, and engage with an enrollment coordinator via a Zoom virtual portal. Coordinators will review various scenarios with students to determine eligibility.

MTSU’s Board of Trustees voted June 14 to keep tuition and program services fees flat for the coming academic year this fall. A full-time, in-state undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours in both the fall and spring semesters will pay $7,704 in tuition and $1,888 in program service fees, for a total of $9,592 for the academic year.

Also, the state recently increased the amount of its Tennessee Education Lottery (HOPE) Scholarship, raising what it pays the eligible freshmen and sophomores to $4,500 a year from $3,500, while juniors and seniors will receive $5,700 a year instead of $4,500. Students need a 21 on the ACT or must graduate with a 3.0 GPA, while meeting other state requirements, to qualify for these awards.

For HOPE-eligible students, the difference between MTSU’s tuition cost (about $5,100) and the scholarship payout could be mitigated by a variety and combination of means — including federal Pell Grant monies, last-chance academic scholarships from MTSU, and tuition discounts afforded to teachers and state employees.

“Even students who receive a partial Pell Grant can still attend very inexpensively,” said Debra Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services. “We want to make sure students and families who might be sitting on the fence for attending the fall, and those who have already committed, know whether they qualify for any combination of these programs.”

Dr. Debra Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for academic and enrollment services.

The scenarios outlined on the MTFree website apply only to first-time freshmen who are Tennessee residents and would be attending as full-time students. Although MTSU’s highest value guaranteed scholarship have a deadline of Dec. 1, the MTFree website shows a range of scenarios that include last-chance academic scholarships that are still available for first-time freshmen. These scholarships are still available for late applicants, and require a minimum of 23 on the ACT and a 3.5 GPA in high school.

One such scenario on the website: Sally is an incoming marketing major with a high school GPA of 3.1 and a 21 on the ACT test. She wants to start in the fall of 2022 but did not get her application in before Dec.1, 2021. Her family income level allows her to receive the maximum Pell Grant. In this case, as illustrated in the chart below, she would enroll tuition-free, plus see a surplus of about $1,800 in her student account.

MTSU Tuition Example

“We realize that everyone’s situation is a little different,” Sells said. “These scenarios are generalizations. That’s why it’s important that you speak with an enrollment coordinator. We want to help you find the answers specific to you.”

In addition to the virtual portal, those interested in discussing their options can also contact an enrollment coordinator via email at [email protected].

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