The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is a supplement to the HOPE scholarship administered by the TN Higher Education Commission & Student Assistance Corporation.
In hope of giving students a head-start in colleges after they have completed high school, the body funds the General Merit Scholarship with the net proceeds of the state lottery. The funds are therefore forwarded to the qualified candidates.
If you are a high school senior graduating from a Tennessee public school or category 1, 2,3 private school and you have a minimum of 3.75 GPA, this wonderful opportunity is for you.
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship was founded to increase the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary credentials. Since the establishment of the founder of the General Assembly Merit Scholarship in 1974 by the Tennessee General Assembly, the body has seen an increase in the number of financial aid it runs. As of now, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) runs as many as twenty (20) different state student financial aid programs.
It should be noted that the General Assembly Merit Scholarship is not an independent scholarship program. Rather, it is a supplement to the HOPE Scholarship. Only students who have won the HOPE Scholarship will be considered for the General Merit Scholarship.
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for you as a Tennessean to pursue a postsecondary school credential. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the scholarship, the benefits of the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, and tips to assist you in getting the scholarship. Kindly read on.
ALL INFORMATION ABOUT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP EXPLAINED
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship, together with the TN HOPE Scholarship, promises Tennesseans who are willing to pursue a postsecondary school credential a smoother education.
Through the net proceeds of the state lottery, the runner of the scholarship, TSAC, ensures students who are qualified are picked to receive the $1,500 grant. Together with the fund from the HOPE Scholarship, recipients receive as much as $3,000 or more in an academic year.
To qualify for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, an applicant must be a HOPE Scholar beforehand. The highest-ranking HOPE Scholars who fulfill certain criteria which will be talked about extensively are selected for this General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
ABOUT THE HOST STATE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
The state of Tennessee, the host state of the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, is the 36th largest state by area in the United States and the 16th most populous. As of 2020, the population of residents in the state of Tennessee was recorded to be 6.9 million.
Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, with the Mississippi River forming its western border.
Endowed with great scenery and tourist attraction centers, Tennessee is the 11th most visited state in the United States with a record of 126 million tourists in 2019.
To further improve the state of things in Tennessee, the TSAC founded as many as twenty (20) financial aid programs to cater to the needs of Tennessean students. As a result, more Tennesseans now have postsecondary school credentials, owing to these financial aids, one of which is the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
The state of Tennessee is the foundation of as many as 107 private universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 campuses of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. Public higher education in the state is overseen by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
WHO RUNS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP?
The General Assembly Scholarship is administered by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Student Assistance Corporation. Founded in 1974, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation receives funds from the Federal Government for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
TSAC is committed to compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from the Federal Government.
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is open only to citizens of the United States who reside in the state of Tennessee. The objective of the program is to ensure more Tennesseans pursue postsecondary education, either in public colleges, universities, or private colleges in Tennessee.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE FUND?
The program was founded to ensure more high-performing high school seniors, after completion of their secondary school education, proceed to study at a higher level. Since the General Assembly Merit Scholarship is an annex to the HOPE Scholarship, the same rules as for the HOPE Scholarship apply to the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
With the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, you can study at an accredited public college, university, or private college of your choice. You should, however, take note you can only study in universities and colleges in Tennessee with the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
To qualify for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, you must meet a list of requirements, each of which has been explained extensively below.
- You must graduate from a Tennessee public school or category 1, 2, or 3 private schools. Other than this, you must have a minimum of 3.75 GPA and 29 ACT or a minimum 1330 SAT. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is for students who have shown to be the best among their peers. After recipients of the HOPE Scholarship have been selected, a handful is picked among them to receive the General Assembly Merit Scholarship. This makes it a harder program to get into. If you have a minimum of 3.75 GPA, and in addition to this a score of 1330 SAT or its equivalent in ACT, you are better positioned to receive the scholarship.
- You must take ACT/SAT exams on a national test date or state date prior to the first day of college enrollment after high school graduation. Students who meet the 3.75 GPA mark but have not sat for the ACT/SAT may write the exam no later than 16 months after completion of high school. When they sit for this examination, it must be on a national test date.
- Should you be Homeschooled, you are required to achieve a minimum score of 29 or above on a single test date for the ACT test or its equivalent in SAT. In addition to this, you must take two advanced placement exams (AP exams) and make a score of at least 3, or take one College-Level Examination Program test and make a score of at least 55.
HOW MUCH IS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP?
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is an additional $1,500 over the payment of the HOPE scholarship fund.
A HOPE Scholar who did not qualify for the General Assembly Scholarship would receive $1,750 if he is enrolled full-time in a four-year university and $1,500 if he is enrolled in a two-year university.
With the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, a candidate will receive as much as $3,000 in a two-year program and $3,250 in a four-year program.
It should be noted that when recipients enter their third and fourth year in a four-year program, they receive up to $2,250 as a junior and senior. With the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, that adds up to $3,750.
Over the course of four years for recipients in a four-year program, the recipients are paid $14,000.
HOW TO APPLY
Application for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship is by applying for the Tennessee HOPE scholarship. To do this, you can proceed to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) official website through this link.
You may find the following walkthrough about applying for FAFSA invaluable.
- Create a Federal Student Aid ID
This is the first step if you want to apply for FAFSA. Through the link provided above, you can proceed to the official website and generate your Federal Student Aid ID – username and password for your account.
If you are a dependent student, you may want to create an FSA ID for one of your parents. This will allow them to electronically sign on your application. When you generate an FSA ID for them, you will be required to provide their Social Security number, a separate email address from the one you registered your account with.
- Add your list of schools
One of the pieces of information you will be required to fill in when applying for FAFSA is your list of schools. In this section, you can list as many as 10 colleges you would like to join.
If you plan to apply for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, it is essential the colleges you fill are located within the borders of Tennessee. Choosing or enrolling in a college outside the state of Tennessee nullifies the scholarship, before or after you have received it.
- Get your financial documents ready
To make your applicant as seamless as it can get, ensure you request the driver’s license of one of your parents beforehand. Other documents you will need to provide when filling out the financial information of yourself and your parent are the Federal income tax returns, nontaxable income records, and bank statements showing the most recent asset information. This includes checking, savings, business records, and investment farms.
Please note that you can always update any piece of information in this section.
- Fill out FAFSA
When filling out this section, ensure you select the correct FAFSA year. To do this correctly, you are to choose the next academic year and NOT the current. This is because your application is for the following academic year.
Check the box that says you want to be considered for work-study. This gives you the chance to get a job should you be offered one.
- Go through your application before submitting
Before filing your FAFSA for review, ensure you go over it one more time to be sure you did not make an avoidable mistake.
In case you think it would take time or you deem it unnecessary, you may remind yourself it will not take more than a few minutes.
Application for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship is through FAFSA. For the 2022-2023 school year, the application opened on October 1, 2021. The deadline for filing FAFSA is June 30, 2023.
Application for FAFSA is open for 21 months.
TIPS TO WIN THE GENERAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
- Be sincere when filling out your financial status on FAFSA official website. You might think exaggerating your condition gives you an advantage over the other applicants. The bitter truth is that dishonesty disqualifies you.
The Federal Student Aid will research the information you provided and any glimpse of what appears to be a lie will automatically disqualify you.
- Have a strong academic performance. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship, as the name says, is a merit-based award. In a 4.0 grading system, applicants are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.75 to qualify for this scholarship.
If you are a sophomore or a junior, you may want to buckle down even more. If you are a senior and you meet the requirement, you are good to go.
- Give your best in the ACT or SAT. If you read the basic requirements section, you probably see already that ACT and SAT performances are vital when applying for the scholarship. Although you do not have to sit for the two examinations. It is however pertinent that you have a minimum of 29 ACT scores or an equivalent in SAT which is a minimum of 1330.
When you sit for the exam, ensure you give it your best as it might be the deciding factor whether or not you get the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
- Ensure you pick a college inside Tennessee. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is only tenable in the state of Tennessee. When you fill out your FAFSA, ensure you pick colleges and universities in Tennessee if you hope to win the scholarship.
- Avoid mistakes when filling out your information on FAFSA. This is crucial – about 9 out of 10 crucial. You may make a mistake, a costly one, when applying for the scholarship. To prevent this, ensure you go over your application as many times as you want to after you have filled in your information.
This way, you spot mistakes that, should you not have gone over the application, would probably come back to bite you.
- Be involved in your community. While this is not a requirement on the official website of the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, you may want to strongly consider it. It would not hurt to be involved in pro bono activities in your community. If you have not been involved, it is not too late. There are many scholarships out there that require you to list the activities you are involved in. While the General Assembly Merit Scholarship is currently not one of those scholarships, the policy may change in the future.
- Be involved in extracurricular activities. This includes sports, NGOs, one-time seminars, and leadership positions. Involvement in extracurricular activities gets you to a greater height when scholarship-awarding foundations rank their applicants.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WINNING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
- The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is highly revered in Tennessee. As a result, you get an advantage when you job-hunt later on. Moreover, winning the scholarship might get you several job and internship offers while you study as it beautifies your resume.
- If you are on a four-year program, the General Assembly Merit Scholarship gets you $14,000. This makes education easier for you. You find it easier to pay tuition fees. Since the fund can be used for literally anything, you could even travel to states you have never been with the money from the scholarship.
- This brings us back to the previous point. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship allows you to travel to any country of your choice. Doing this teaches you new cultures and values. You get experiences you have never had.
- With the General Assembly Merit Scholarship, you may not need to work part-time should you be from a relatively middle-class family. The fund from the scholarship can dispense your need to work; Hence, you perform better in your academics.
WHERE CAN I STUDY WITH THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
You can use the General Assembly Merit Scholarship in a postsecondary institution that is situated in the state of Tennessee. We have compiled the list of those institutions for easier navigation.
- Aquinas College
- Austin Peay State University
- Baptist Health Sciences University
- Belmont University
- Bethel University
- Bryan College
- Carson-Newman University
- Chattanooga State Community College
- Christian Brothers University
- Cleveland State Community College
- Columbia State Community College
- Cumberland University
- Dyersburg State Community College
- East Tennessee State University
- ETSU – School of Pharmacy
- Fisk University
- Freed-Hardeman University
- Hiwassee College
- Jackson State Community College
- John A. Gupton College
- Johnson University
- King University
- Knoxville College
- Lane College
- Lee University
- LeMoyne-Owen College
- Lincoln Memorial University
- Lipscomb University
- Martin Methodist College
- Maryville College
- Memphis College of Art
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Milligan College
- Motlow State Community College
- Nashville State Community College
- Northeast State Community College
- Pellissippi State Community College
- Rhodes College
- Roane State Community College
- South College
- Southern Adventist University
- Southwest Tennessee Community College
- Tennessee State University
- Tennessee Technological University
- Tennessee Wesleyan University
- Trevecca Nazarene University
- Tusculum College
- Union University
- University of Memphis
- University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- University of Tennessee, Martin
- University of Tennessee Health Science Center
- University of the South
- Vanderbilt University
- Volunteer State Community College
- Walters State Community College
- Watkins College of Art and Design
- Welch College
Apply for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship website: Visit here.
The official website of the sponsor of the General Assembly Merit Scholarship: Visit here.
Other scholarships offered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation: Visit here.
To register a Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation Student portal account: Visit here.
Contact information: TSAC.AidInfo@tn.gov, (800) 342-1663, (615) 741-1346.
Fax number: 1.615.741.6101
Administrators: TN Student Assistance Corporation.
Departments: All departments.
Renewable: Yes. You can renew it throughout your four-year or two-year undergraduate program.
Language requirement: Applicants must have a sufficient understanding of the English Language.
Do I have to reapply every year to receive my General Assembly Merit Scholarship?
Yes. You must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year and it is the only recognized application for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.
How do I review my eligibility status?
To review your eligibility status, you must register for a Tennessee Student Aid Corporation Student Portal account. You can proceed through this link to do that. However, ensure you have your social security number available and use your legal name as displayed on your Social Security card.
How long can I receive the General Assembly Merit Scholarship?
Eligible students may continue receiving the General Assembly Merit Scholarship until the student has either earned a baccalaureate degree or five (5) years have passed from the date of the student's initial enrollment at any post-secondary institution within the state of Tennessee.
If I enroll less than full-time, will my General Assembly Merit Scholarship award be reduced?
Yes. General Assembly Merit Scholarship recipients who are enrolled less than full-time at the beginning of the semester will receive a reduced amount.
Where can I enroll and use the General Assembly Merit Scholarship?
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship can be used at an eligible postsecondary institution in the state of Tennessee. Kindly scroll up to see the list of tenable schools that we have provided.
If I change schools, how do I transfer my awards?
If you transfer to another eligible postsecondary institution, you can transfer your award by accessing the Student Financial Aid Portal here or by completing a Change of Institution Request form.
How do I correct a misspelled name or other incorrect information on my Student Portal account?
To make a correction to student information on the Student Portal account, send an email to TSAC.Aidinfo@tn.gov
I have not graduated from high school yet, but I meet the high school GPA requirement for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship. Why is my scholarship status displaying an ineligible reason?
If a high school student falls short of the minimum ACT/SAT requirement 29/1300, final grades are not calculated until they complete the minimum requirements for graduation.
Is it true the General Assembly Merit Scholarship award increases when I become a college Junior/Senior?
The General Assembly Merit Scholarship award is a fixed amount of $1,500 that is paid on top of the HOPE Scholarship. When you become a college Junior/Senior, your HOPE Scholarship award increases but not the General Assembly Merit Scholarship. Because the two are paid together, your overall award increases.