Incoming students

Watkins offers numerous scholarships to incoming students based on reviewing completed applications for admission and portfolio submissions. These range from the Commissioners’ Scholarship, which awards full-tuition for four years to one applicant each year, to smaller, individual recognition of excellence in scholarship and/or portfolio work.  An institutional scholarship is determined through portfolio reviews and/or application materials, including artistic work submitted, the required essay, the recommendation, and prior academics.  Watkins provides additional scholarships to winners of various regional arts awards and film festivals we sponsor, as well as to graduates of the Watkins Pre-College Program and the TN and KY Governor’s Schools for the Arts.  Scholarship consideration is automatic for all qualified applicants; no separate application for institutional scholarships is required.

Recipients will be informed within their letters of acceptance if they have been awarded an institutional scholarship.  The amount indicated in the acceptance letter is only this scholarship.  It does not reflect a full financial aid package amount.  The applicant will receive a full award letter from the financial aid department which will include the scholarship being offered, as well as any federal and state aid which the applicant is entitled to receive.  Please see the section on Financial Aid for additional information.

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is designated as a recipient of the Hope Scholarship offered by the State of Tennessee to eligible Tennessee high school graduates and nontraditional Tennessee students (age 25 and older).  Receipt of the Tennessee Hope Scholarship is confirmed in the incoming student’s Financial Aid Package, not in the acceptance letter.  Questions about qualifications to receive these awards should be directed to

Out-of-State Matching Lottery Scholarships. If an out-of-state applicant is eligible for a financial award from a state lottery education scholarship and will lose that award if attending a college out-of-state, Watkins will match the award up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. Recipient must submit details of the state lottery award, including award criteria to the Director of Admissions at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester. The award will be renewed for up to four years as long as the recipient maintains a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher and registers for twelve or more credits a semester.

Unless otherwise stated, all awards are based on full-time enrollment of 12 to 15 hours per semester and are prorated for part-time enrollment. The annual amount is divided equally between the fall and spring semesters. Some awards are given over a period of years and may be dependent upon maintaining a certain cumulative GPA for continuing eligibility. This will be indicated in the award letter. All scholarships offers are dependent upon successful application, registration and completion of the semester of the year of the award. If a student withdraws during the award period, the scholarship will be forfeited.

Deadlines for scholarship consideration for incoming students

For scholarship consideration, applicants must submit a completed application for admission by:

Fall Entry – March 1st

Spring Entry – October 15th


Continuing students

Watkins rewards talent and scholarship achievement in our continuing students.  Trustee and Presidential Awards are given based on the cumulative grade point average at the end of the spring semester.  If the cumulative GPA is 3.25 to 3.64, the student receives the Trustee Award in the amount of $500 towards tuition and fees in the coming year.  If the cumulative GPA is 3.65 or above, the student receives the Presidential Award in the amount of $1,000.  The amount is split evenly between the fall and spring semesters and the amount is based on full-time registration of 12 or more credit hours per semester.  The award is pro-rated for the semester if the student registers for less than full-time.

The individual departments can also award merit scholarships to continuing students.  The amount, application procedure and deadline to apply can vary so the student should check with his or her advisor for more information.