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Is It Too Late to Apply for College Scholarships?

Is It Too Late to Apply for College Scholarships?

Maybe you're a high school senior or a recent graduate and you've just started thinking about how you're going to pay for college. You might be wondering, is it too late to apply for college scholarships?

The simple answer is, no, it's never too late! And, it's not too early either. The sooner you start applying, the sooner you'll have your finances ready to go so you can focus on achieving your academic goals. Hopefully, you can have some fun along the way, too.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about college scholarship deadlines!

When You Should Apply

According to the Department of Education's website, a great time to apply for college scholarships is in the summer between your junior and senior years of high school. If you're sitting in that sweet spot, then now is the ideal time to start applying!

Here's the good news if you're worried it's too late:

  • Scholarships have different application windows for when you can apply.

  • You can still apply for some scholarships if you're already in your senior year of high school, have graduated high school, or even started college.

  • Take a look at each scholarship's guidelines and see which ones are still accepting applications.

College Scholarships Timetables

Each scholarship has a slightly different timetable. But, if you compare different colleges and scholarship providers, you'll start to see overlapping application windows. College scholarship deadlines will also vary depending on which semester you're enrolling in: spring or summer.

For example, take a look at these timetables for freshman or undergraduate scholarships from some of the best colleges in Alabama and Tennessee. Click the college name for more details!

Alabama Colleges

Auburn University

  • If you're an incoming freshman accepted for admission by mid-January, you get automatic consideration for Freshman Scholarships.

  • For General and Department Scholarships, you need to complete the application by February 1.

  • ​​To be considered for Need-Based Scholarships, you need to submit your applications to Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 1.

The University of Alabama

If you're enrolling in the spring semester:

  • The scholarship application deadline for automatic Merit and Competitive Scholarships is October 1.

  • The deadline for Competitive Scholarships is November 1.

  • The deadline for automatic Merit and Alabama Advantage scholarships is December 15.

If you're enrolling in the fall/summer:

  • The Priority Deadline for Financial Aid is December 1.

  • The deadline for Competitive Scholarships is January 15.

  • The deadline for automatic Merit and Competitive scholarships is March 1.

  • The admission deadline for automatic Merit and Alabama Advantage scholarships is May 1.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • The priority deadline for Merit-Based Scholarships is March 1.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

  • Applications for Competitive Scholarships open on August 1.

  • The deadline for Competitive Scholarships is December 15.

The University of North Alabama

For students enrolling in the fall semester:

  • The deadline for Excellence scholarships is around mid-April.

  • The deadline for Scholarships of Distinction in Accounting and Computing is June 30

  • The deadline for Scholarships of Distinction in Engineering and Technology is February 1.

  • The application process for Endowed Scholarships begins on December 1 and ends on February 1.

  • UNA Early College Scholarships are awarded on a per-semester basis for one year to students who enroll at UNA for the fall semester directly following high school graduation.

  • High school seniors who have actively participated in a FIRST Robotic Competition or FIRST Tech Challenge during their high school career need to submit an application for a FIRST scholarship by April 1 of their senior year in high school.

In addition, UNA offers numerous scholarship opportunities for those admitted to the Honors College – applications are accepted throughout the year and interested prospects may apply at any time. Once you're in Honors College, you don't need to apply separately for scholarships.

Tennessee Colleges

Middle Tennessee State University

For first-time incoming freshman:

  • The deadline for Freshman Guaranteed Scholarships is December 1.

  • The deadline for National Merit and National Achievement and National Hispanic Program Semi-Finalist Scholarships is February 15.

  • The deadline for the Buchanan Fellowship is December 1 of the year prior to fall enrollment.

  • The deadline for the DREAM Scholarship is February 15, with applications opening the previous October 1.

  • The deadline for Foundation and Departmental Scholarships is February 15.

  • Tennessee residents may also apply for the Hope Lottery Scholarship. Applications close on September 1 for the fall semester and February 1 for spring and summer.

University of Tennessee Chattanooga

For entering first-year students:

  • If you apply for admission by December 15 of your senior year in high school, you will be automatically considered for the Volunteer Scholarship program. In some cases an on-time FAFSA is also required.

  • The Flagship Scholarship is granted automatically to students who graduated from 38 designated high schools with no separate application needed, but you need to complete your FAFSA by February 1.

  • For Competitive Scholarships, you must apply by November 1.

  • Tennessee residents may also apply for the HOPE Lottery Scholarship. Applications close on September 1 for the fall semester and February 1 for spring and summer.

  • The UT Promise scholarship is available to students who qualify for the HOPE Scholarship and whose family household income is under $60,000. Applications close on November 1.

  • For students with a family household income of under $40,000, the deadline for the Tennessee Pledge Scholarship is December 15.

When Are Decisions Released?

Once you've submitted your scholarship application, the waiting begins to see if you're awarded any aid! The date for when you get a decision will depend on when you applied, but you can expect an answer within one to two months.

Note that the first step to apply for many scholarships is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Below are guidelines about when a college may release scholarship and financial aid funds. Be sure to double-check the college’s website for the most up-to-date and accurate deadline information.

Alabama Colleges

  • Auburn University: If you apply for your scholarship by February 1, you will be notified in early March.

  • The University of Alabama: Notifications for 1st Round scholarships are in mid-December for students admitted by October 15. Notifications for 2nd Round scholarships are sent in early February for students admitted by November 30. Notifications for the 3rd Round are in early March for students admitted by January 15.

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham: For questions about the payment of student financial assistance, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at (205) 934-8223.

  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville: Scholarship applications close on December 15 and the review of competitive scholarships is from January to April.

  • The University of North Alabama: Scholarship funds will be credited to your UNA student account and/or applied toward the payment of tuition and fees, on-campus room and board, and textbooks at the UNA bookstore – you can review your award letter for scholarship guidelines.

Tennessee Colleges

  • Middle Tennessee State University: The Financial Aid Office begins authorizing financial aid about three days before your first class begins each term. The disbursement date for scholarships will depend on which scholarship you receive.

  • University of Tennessee Chattanooga: Your scholarship funds might arrive at different times. Your federal financial aid is automatically applied toward your tuition and fees for the year you receive it.

If you're still wondering if it's too late to apply for college scholarships, the answer is still no! Now that you've seen the deadlines, you can plan ahead for next year. And if you've missed the freshman deadlines, there are plenty more opportunities for you.

How to Achieve Financial Wellness During College

College scholarships are one amazing way to help pay for college so you have more money to enjoy during this exciting time of your life. Other things you can do to keep expenses down include attending school in-state, getting a roommate, and cooking at home instead of grabbing takeout.

It's never too early to start thinking about your whole financial picture and your goals for each stage of your financial journey through life. Luckily, Listerhill Credit Union is here to offer students tips and tricks through our free financial wellness workshops led by our Certified Financial Counselors (FiCEP).

Learn more about our Listerhill Works Financial Wellness Workshops for students, and secure your bright future today!

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