Scholarships

Scholarships for incoming students

At Watkins, we offer a variety of scholarships to incoming students. These range from the Commissioners’ Scholarship, which awards full tuition for four years to one applicant each year, and to smaller awards in recognition of excellence in scholarship or portfolio work.

Institutional scholarships

Most institutional scholarships at Watkins range from $4,000 to $24,000 and are dispersed evenly over the course of four years of attendance. We provide additional scholarships to winners of the regional arts awards and film festivals we sponsor as well as to graduates of the Watkins Pre-College Program and the Tennessee and Kentucky Governor’s Schools for the Arts.

To make determinations about scholarships, we review your completed application for admission, including your portfolio, required essay, recommendations, and prior academic records. We automatically consider you for a scholarship award when we review your complete application package. You do not have to apply separately for a scholarship award.

Your financial aid award

Our Financial Aid Office will coordinate your institutional scholarship award with other student aid options that are available to you. We then will pull this information together into an official financial aid award letter, which will help you to plan your college expenses. Remember, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for scholarships or loans. Visit the Financial Aid page for more in-depth information about the financial aid process.

Unless otherwise stated, all awards are based on full-time enrollment of 12 to 15 credit-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 contingent upon maintaining a certain cumulative GPA. All scholarship offers are dependent upon successful application, registration, and completion of the semester of the year of the award. If you should withdraw during the award period, you will forfeit your scholarship.

HOPE Scholarship

Watkins is designated as a recipient of the HOPE Scholarship offered by the State of Tennessee. We can award this scholarship to eligible Tennessee high school graduates and nontraditional Tennessee students age 25 and older. If you are a recipient of the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, you will be notified in your financial aid award, not in your acceptance letter. Learn more about the HOPE Scholarship and other regional awards.

Out-of-state matching lottery scholarships

If you are an out-of-state applicant eligible for a financial award from a state lottery education scholarship and you will lose that award if you attend a college outside your state, Watkins will match the award up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. You must submit details about the state lottery award, including award criteria, to the Watkins Director of Admissions at least one month before the beginning of the semester. The award will be renewed for up to four years as long as you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and register for 12 or more credit-hours per semester.

Scholarships for continuing students

At the end of the spring semester, we recognize continuing students for their talent and scholarly achievement.

  • If your cumulative GPA is 3.25 to 3.64, you will receive a Trustee Award in the amount of $500 toward tuition and fees in the coming year.
  • If your cumulative GPA is 3.65 or above, you will receive the Presidential Award in the amount of $1,000 toward tuition and fees for the next school year.
  • Individual departments also may award merit scholarships to continuing students. The amount, application procedure, and application deadlines can vary depending on the scholarship, so check with your advisor for more information.

The scholarship amount is split evenly between the fall and spring semesters and is based on full-time registration of 12 or more credit-hours per semester. The award is pro-rated for the semester if you do not register as a full-time student.