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Applying for college scholarships can make paying for higher education much more affordable. The University of Tennessee Knoxville myutk offers a variety of merit-based and need-based scholarship opportunities to incoming freshman, transfer, and current students. By taking the right steps to prepare, you can maximize your chances of earning free money for college.

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Complete the FAFSA

The first key step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This form determines your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, including grants, loans, work-study programs, and scholarships.

UT Knoxville’s myutk FAFSA priority deadline for incoming freshman is February 15. Meeting this deadline will ensure you are considered for all available financial aid and will also allow you to meet early scholarship application deadlines.

To complete the FAFSA, you will need to create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website. Gather the required documents, including your social security number, federal tax returns and W-2s, bank statements, and driver’s license. Be sure to list UT Knoxville with school code 003534 to receive your financial information.

Submitting the FAFSA early maximizes your opportunities for the best aid packages. Try to complete it as soon as possible after it opens on October 1 for the next academic year.

Submit Admission Application and Scholarship Questions

To be considered for myutk UT Knoxville’s competitive freshman scholarships, you must complete a few key steps:

  • Submit your admission application by November 1 for early action or February 1 for regular decision. The application can be completed through the myutk applicant portal.
  • Self-Report your Academic Record (SRAR) through myutk by November 15 for early action or March 1 for regular decision. This provides details on your academic achievements.
  • Answer the Competitive Scholarship questions in the UT Admission application. The questions allow you to apply directly for scholarships.

Meeting these deadlines will ensure your scholarship candidacy as a priority applicant. Academic criteria like GPA, test scores, curriculum, and class rank are required for most merit-based scholarships.

Apply for Freshman Scholarships

Incoming freshman should apply for scholarships directly through the UT Admission application before November 1. This serves as your application for all available freshman scholarships, as long as you also submit the FAFSA before February 15.

Some popular merit-based awards for incoming freshman include:

  • Volunteer Scholarship for in-state students
  • Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship for non-residents
  • Chancellor’s Scholarship for students with outstanding academics
  • Lists Scholarship for arts and humanities achievements
  • SimCenter Scholarship for computational science talents

There are also numerous college and departmental scholarships available. You can browse these by college on the One Stop website.

Explore Other Scholarship Opportunities

While the freshman application serves as your main scholarship application, students are also encouraged to explore other opportunities:

  • Departmental scholarships – Some academic departments, like business, engineering, arts & sciences, and agriculture, offer their own scholarship programs with separate applications. Review each college’s website for details.
  • Study abroad scholarships – There are various scholarships available for study abroad programs, such as the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) Scholarship. The timeline and process differs from general UT admissions scholarships.
  • ROTC scholarships – Students planning to participate in the Air Force, Army, or Navy ROTC programs can apply separately for ROTC scholarships, which often cover full tuition costs.
  • External scholarships – There are many scholarship opportunities through private organizations, companies, non-profits, community groups, and more. Use external scholarship search platforms to find options relevant to your background and interests.
  • Graduate scholarships – Current UT students planning to attend graduate school at UT can apply for graduate school scholarships and fellowships. Timelines vary by program.

Taking initiative to search for scholarships beyond the freshman application can really pay off. You never know what additional funding you may be eligible for.

Consider Specific Scholarship Programs

While applying through general admission serves as the main application, also consider these specific scholarship programs if you meet the criteria:

UT Tri-Star Scholarship Program

This program provides special scholarship opportunities for Tennessee residents pursuing undergraduate degrees at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, or any UT Health Science Center campus.

Awards include:

Full Tuition Scholarship Covers tuition and fees for 4 years 
Half Tuition Scholarship Covers half of tuition and fees for 2 years 
ThreeQuarter Tuition Scholarship Covers 3/4 of tuition and fees for 4 years

To qualify, students typically need at least a 3.0 GPA and ACT composite score of at least 17. The priority deadline is November 1.

Tennessee Explore Scholarship

Non-Tennessee residents can reduce out-of-state tuition costs through the Explore UT Scholarship for out-of-state students. It covers about half of the out-of-state tuition costs over 4 years.

To be eligible, students typically need at least a 3.0 GPA and minimum ACT/SAT scores. The admission and scholarship application deadline is November 1.

Continuing Scholarships

Once enrolled at myutk, current students can apply for renewable scholarships to help cover ongoing tuition and expenses. These include scholarships like:

  • Continuing Volunteer Scholarship for in-state students
  • Continuing Out-of-State Scholarship for non-residents
  • Research Internship Award for students conducting research
  • Study Abroad Scholarships for overseas programs

Applications open in early spring for returning students. Eligibility is based on meeting certain GPA, enrollment, and other requirements.

Maintain Eligibility

Once awarded a scholarship, be sure to meet all requirements to maintain and renew it each year. Typical criteria to keep a scholarship include:

  • Maintaining full-time enrollment of at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • Earning a minimum cumulative GPA, typically 2.0 or higher
  • Making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the scholarship
  • Meeting any other expectations outlined for renewals

If you fail to meet renewal criteria, you may lose scholarship funding for upcoming semesters. Be sure to understand the requirements for each scholarship program.

Submit Application Materials On Time

Perhaps the most vital criteria is submitting all application materials by each scholarship’s defined deadlines. Scholarships often have firm due dates, so be mindful of these:

  • Admission application – November 1 for early action freshman applicants or February 1 for regular decision
  • FAFSA – February 15 priority deadline
  • SRAR – November 15 for early action or March 1 for regular decision
  • Competitive scholarship questions – Same deadline as admission application
  • College or departmental scholarships – Varies by scholarship
  • Tri-Star, Explore, continuing scholarships – November 1 or April 1

Put the dates in your calendar and request transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, and other materials well in advance. Rushing to meet the deadline causes errors and omissions that can disqualify you.


With some preparation and attention to deadlines, prospective UT students can maximize their opportunities to earn scholarship funding. Make sure to complete the FAFSA, admission application, and any other required materials before their due dates. Research all the scholarship options available through UT Knoxville and external organizations. If awarded a scholarship, be diligent about meeting the requirements to maintain it each year. With focus and dedication, you can reduce the cost of attending your dream college.

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