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Scholarships

Scholarships are similar to grants, in that they are financial aid that you do not have to repay. Scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic merit.

When you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you will be considered for more than 100 endowed and corporate-sponsored scholarships. Your financial need may not be the only consideration for individual scholarships; we may also take into account your grades, class standing, academic major, residency, and other factors. In general, entering students do not need to participate in a separate scholarship application process in order to be considered for UMass Amherst scholarships. When you file your application for admission by the stated application deadline, you are also automatically considered. In many cases, scholarship notification accompanies the acceptance letter.

Financial Aid Services may adjust the award of recipients who receive scholarships, loans, or tuition waivers not listed on their award letters. According to federal regulations, a student’s total financial aid may not exceed what the Financial Aid Services has determined to be his or her estimated need/cost. See Non-University Awards for more information.

Other Scholarship Resources


There are still other scholarships that are independent of the FAFSA form. Financial Aid Services can assist you in finding these sources. You will also find many by searching online.

A note of caution: Be wary of advertisements that offer to help you find scholarships for a fee. With a little time and research, you can find the very same information yourself.

These links will get you started:

University of Massachusetts Scholarship Database: This database allows current and prospective students to search listings of scholarships available at each of the five university campuses.

FastWeb: A free scholarship search on the Internet, matching students with 275,000 different scholarships.

Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA): This on-campus office assists students pursuing national competitive scholarships and fellowships such as Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman, and Mellon scholarships, fellowships, and awards.

Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA): OFSA helps residents of Massachusetts and their families find financial resources to help pay for their education.

Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts: Administers scholarships for students who live in Western Massachusetts.

You should also use the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst in your search, and check with your academic department and your high school guidance counselor. In addition, the Commonwealth Honors College has a scholarship webpage that includes links to scholarships offered by other departments on campus.

Scholarships through UMass Amherst


The following are some of the primary scholarships administered by Financial Aid Services, but there are many more besides these.

Merit aid is aid awarded on the basis of academic merit rather than financial need. Students must maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) designated for their particular merit aid program and continuous enrollment. For example, the required cumulative GPA for the Adams Tuition Waiver is 3.0 and for the Chancellor's, Director's and Dean's Scholarship it is a 3.2.

In the middle of June, after grades are posted, the Financial Aid Office reviews the cumulative GPAs of merit scholarship recipients. Some scholarship recipients will be placed on probation, whose cumulative GPA has fallen below the minimum for the merit scholarship. Probation allows the student one academic year to re-establish an acceptable cumulative GPA, as long as their GPA for the interim semester does not decline (in which case the scholarship will be permanently withdrawn). Failure to re-establish an acceptable cumulative GPA at the end of probationary period will likewise cause the scholarship to be permanently withdrawn. Appeals are directed through the Associate Director of Financial Aid for Awarding.

Academic Honors Scholarship


A $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to one of the first-place winners of the Massachusetts Science Fair. This scholarship may be combined with a tuition waiver.

  • Scholarship application: Documentation of the first place award must be submitted and verified with MSSEF.
  • Notification: The Admissions Office will notify the recipient after acceptance and upon submission of documentation
  • UMass Amherst GPA requirement: 2.5 or higher
  • Renewable up to an aggregate total of four years of continuous full-time undergraduate enrollment

Chancellor's, Director's and Dean's Scholarships


UMass Amherst Undergraduate Admissions offers scholarships to admitted freshmen whose SAT and GPA profile are especially strong. Other factors are also considered. Please note that UMass Amherst does not use the GPA provided by the high school but instead recalculates a GPA for every applicant, using the same weighting for honors, AP, and college coursework. This recalculation is done in accordance with the standards outlined by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. These scholarships may be combined with tuition waivers.

  • Scholarship application: None required
  • Notification: Admissions Office will notify recipients at the time of acceptance
  • UMass Amherst GPA requirement: 3.2 or higher
  • Renewable up to an aggregate total of four years of continuous full-time undergraduate enrollment
  • A change in residency or transfer into a major covered by the Tuition Break Program for New England residents may reduce or otherwise impact your scholarship.

Community Scholarship


The Community Scholarship is awarded to applicants who are low income and/or who are first generation college attendees. The scholarship committee takes into consideration a student's academic record and level of academic challenge; however, the review also includes factors such as school activities, community service, and work experience. These scholarships may be combined with tuition waivers.

  • Scholarship application: None required
  • Notification: Admissions Office will notify recipients at the time of acceptance
  • UMass Amherst GPA requirement: 2.5 or higher
  • Renewable up to an aggregate total of four years of continuous full-time undergraduate enrollment

Christian A. Herter Scholarship Program


The Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Program is a sponsored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to recruit 10th and 11th grade students whose socio-economic backgrounds and environmental conditions may inhibit their ability to pursue higher education. Guidance counselors, social workers, ministers, and educators who are familiar with their circumstances nominate students, and selected semi-finalists participate in a rigorous interview process. Each year, 25 students in the 10th and 11th grades are selected to receive awards of up to 50 percent (50%) of their calculated need at the college of their choice within the continental United States. The students that are selected for this program must have overcome major adversity in their lives and must exhibit academic potential for post-secondary success.

For a complete description of the Christian A. Herter Scholarship Program, as well as eligibility requirements, visit the Web site of the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program


The Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program is intended to increase the quality and availability of teachers and care providers who work with young children in infant/toddler, preschool, and child care programs. The scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance for currently employed early childhood educators and providers who enroll in an associate or bachelor degree program in Early Childhood Education or related programs.

For more on this opportunity, visit the Web site of the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

National Merit Scholarships


The scholarships cover the full cost of tuition, fees, and standard room and board. A limited number of scholarships are offered to in-state entering first-year students, based on a competitive review of the freshman National Merit Scholars who have applied to the university.

  • Scholarship application: None required
  • Notification: Admissions Office will notify recipients after acceptance
  • UMass Amherst GPA requirement: 3.0 or higher during freshman year, 3.2 in subsequent years.
  • Renewable up to an aggregate total of four years of continuous full-time undergraduate enrollment

The Gates Millennium Scholarship


The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS), funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education. Undergraduates in all discipline areas are eligible. Graduate students must be pursuing studies in mathematics, science, engineering, education, or library science to be eligible. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for thousands of outstanding students with significant financial need to reach their fullest potential.

Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships


The Department of Aerospace Studies (Air Force) and the Department of Military Science (Army) both offer ROTC programs leading upon graduation to commissioned-officer status as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force or the United States Army. Full and partial four-, three-, and two-year scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

For more information about Air Force ROTC, visit www.umass.edu/afrotc or call 413-545-2437 or 545-2451.

For more information about Army ROTC, visit www.umass.edu/armyrotc or call 413-545-2321.