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Scholarship Program Information

Enrollment for the 2014 scholarship program is closed. Notification letters will be mailed to applicants in April. Please check back in October to apply for the 2015 program. For more detailed information, please refer to the frequently asked questions and other scholarship resources below. See green box at right to apply.

Frequently asked scholarship program questions:

Will scholarships be given out every year?

Yes, this is an annual program. The 2015 program opens October 1, 2014 and closes January 15, 2015.

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Is there an application fee?

No, we do not charge students to apply for this scholarship.

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Who is eligible?

Eligibility criteria for the 2015 program is currently under review and will be posted here as soon as it's available (no later than October 1st).

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I live outside the United States. Can I apply?

This scholarship is only for individuals who are United States citizens or legal residents living in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or any other U.S. territory. People who live outside the country who are or whose parents are in the U.S. military, government service or other U.S. corporate employees are eligible as long as they meet the basic eligibility requirements.

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Where can I get an application?

The application will be available on this site (see green box above) on October 1st. It will remain posted until the January 15, 2015 closing date. Applications are accepted online only.

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What’s the deadline?

Your application must be submitted online by January 15, 2015, and your supporting documents mailed and postmarked no later than January 15, 2015 to the address listed on the application instructions.  

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I missed the deadline – can I still apply?

Unfortunately, late applications will not be accepted. Please plan to get your application in early to avoid unexpected delays. There will be no exceptions.

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I have some questions about how to fill out the form – whom do I ask?

Customer support service is available to assist you Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., central time, either by email to mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org or calling 507-931-0471.

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How much money is given to each individual?

The minimum scholarship award is $1,000 with a maximum award of $3,000, although a limited number of awards may exceed this amount.

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How much money is given overall?

The awards each year will depend on available funding. In 2013, over $1 million was awarded to 679 scholars.

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What are the criteria for selecting finalists?

All applicants must meet the basic eligibility criteria, fully complete the online application and mail supporting documents by the January 15, 2014 deadline. Scholarship finalists will be selected on the basis of demonstrated financial need, academic record, leadership and participation in school or community activities, work experience, an outside appraisal, goals and aspirations, special circumstances, and an essay (written by the applicant) regarding the impact of MS on their life. The selection process will not be influenced or affected by the actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, gender, age or sexual orientation of any applicant.

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Why am I not able to send the application to my chapter?

All applications must be submitted online and cannot be sent to your chapter. The National MS Society has contracted with an outside vendor, Scholarship Management Services, to help manage the program and application process. All applications are submitted to the National MS Society for final review and final award decisions. Scholarship Management Services will handle the distribution of award checks and monitoring of student enrollment.

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Who selects the recipients?

Each chapter of the National MS Society carefully reviews its applicants and makes final award decisions. Also, some candidates are considered for additional funds and are reviewed by a nationwide panel  that consists of people with MS, home office volunteers and staff, and national board members.

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Must I plan to be a full-time student?

We understand that full-time study is not possible for everyone due to health concerns or family care responsibilities. You must be enrolled for at least six credit hours per academic term to be eligible as a part-time student. The scholarship is intended for students who are pursuing a degree, license, or certificate and is not for those who want to take an occasional personal enrichment class.

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What will be required of me if I am selected to receive a scholarship?

You must complete and submit a signed Scholarship Acceptance Form before funds can be processed. You must notify your school about the award and deliver the scholarship checks to the school in a timely manner. You will be asked to mail a current photograph and write a thank you note to at least one donor. You are required to notify Scholarship Management Services of any change in address, school enrollment or other relevant information and to send a complete transcript when requested.

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Where does the money for scholarships come from?

There have been a wide variety of donors to this fund and include people with MS and other individuals affected by MS, corporate donors, foundations, individual National MS Society chapters, and staff and volunteers of the National MS Society.

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What if I don’t know where I will attend school?

List the school that you plan to attend. If you are applying to more than one institution, indicate only your first choice. If chosen as a scholar, you will have the opportunity to change your school information on the scholarship acceptance form that you receive with your notification letter. If your school information changes after you have returned your acceptance form, it is your responsibility to notify us Scholarship Management Services in a timely manner. Otherwise, you may expect delays in receiving your check. To update your account, email mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org or call 507-931-0471.

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I want to go to a technical school and not to college. Can I apply?

Any postsecondary, undergraduate school is fine as long as it meets national, state, or professional accreditation standards. You must plan to attend school at least part-time – six credit hours per school term. You can verify a school's accreditation status by accessing the U.S. Dept of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs at www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation/search.aspx. 

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How and when will I be notified if I receive a scholarship?

When you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation acknowledging receipt of your application. Notification letters will be mailed to all recipients and non-recipients in mid-April. Communication with applicants is done both by paper mail and by email. Please be sure to check your email regularly. If you have any changes to your email or mailing address, please notify us at mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org.

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When will scholarship checks be mailed?

Checks will be mailed in mid-August  and mid-December to the recipient's home address and are made payable to the school for the student.  

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If I don’t meet the criteria for the National MS Society Scholarship program, are there other resources available?

Yes there are. Although not an exhaustive list, below are resources that you may want to research.

Federal Assistance
  • http://studentaid.ed.gov
    The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in America.
     
  • http://Fafsa.ed.gov
    Free application for federal student aid
     
  • Federal Student Aid Information Center 
    1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) 
    This is a toll-free number.
Other Resources

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