Scholarship Program Information - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Scholarship Program Information


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Enrollment for the 2015 scholarship program is closed. Applicants will receive notification in April. Please see below for frequently asked questions.

Scholarship Application

The application will be available on this page on October 1, 2015 for the 2016 program. Applications are accepted online only. For additional details about the program, see the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Frequently asked scholarship program questions:

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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?

Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Individuals who have MS, or have a parent with MS, and will be attending an accredited postsecondary school are eligible to apply for any year of undergraduate study and must be working on completion of their first undergraduate degree. Students who have already earned an undergraduate degree are ineligible to apply.
  • Students who applied in a previous year but did not receive an award may not reapply. For past scholarship recipients, please see "Can I renew my scholarship?" below.
  • Applicants must enroll in at least six credit hours per semester in course work leading to a degree, license, or certificate.
  • Applicants must be United States citizens or legal residents living in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or any other U.S. territory and plan to enroll in an undergraduate course of study at an accredited two-or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school located in the U.S., PR, VI, Guam or any other U.S. territory.
(The National MS Society reserves the right to review the conditions and procedures of the scholarship program and make changes at any time. Visit this page again in October 2015 for up-to-date eligibility requirements.)
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Why are there limits on who can apply?

While we know that there are many qualified and worthy candidates who could benefit from financial support for educational endeavors, support for scholarships is only one part of the Society’s overall mission. For 2015, the Society expanded the eligibility criteria somewhat, but there are still be funding limitations. There are costs associated with collecting and reviewing each application. A larger number of applications mean larger administrative costs for the program, and more potential students taking time to fill out applications who will be disappointed. A committee of volunteers and National MS Society staff determine the eligibility criteria. Please check back each year as eligibility criteria may change.

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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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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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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  

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What’s the deadline?

For the 2015 program, your application must have been submitted online by January 15, 2015, and your supporting documents received no later than January 31, 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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Can I apply again next year?

If you receive a scholarship in 2015, you will be eligible to reapply to renew your scholarship next year. You are welcome to apply, but please understand that funds are limited and renewals are not guaranteed. If you don’t receive an award in 2015, you may not reapply. Please check back each October to see if our eligibility criteria has changed.

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Can I renew my scholarship?

A limited number of 2014 scholarships are renewable (please reference your April 2014 notification letter to verify). If the letter states it is renewable. You will receive a renewal form in December 2014 along with your check for spring term. Follow the instructions on the mailed form to apply to renew. If you cannot find your 2014 award letter, contact Scholarship America (below) to find out if your scholarship was renewable or a one-time award. If you received a one-time award in 2014 or a previous year, you are eligible to reapply using the online application link above.

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Will scholarships be given out every year?

Yes, this is an annual program. The 2016 program opens October 1, 2015 and closes January 15, 2016.

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How many scholarships will be given?

The number of scholarships awarded depends on funding. We anticipate receiving about 1500 applications and hope to fund about 650 students.

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How much money is given to individuals and overall?

In 2014, over $1 million was awarded to 718 scholars. Individual awards range from $1000–3000 with a limited number exceeding this amount. Nearly all scholarships are a one-time $1,000 award.

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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 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, 2015 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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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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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

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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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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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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 Scholarship Management Services in a timely manner. Otherwise, you may expect delays in receiving your check. To update your account, email or call 507-931-0471.

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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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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, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., central time, either by email to or calling 507-931-0471.

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Where can I get an application?

The application will be available on this site (see top of this page) on October 1st. It will remain posted until the January 15 closing date. Applications are accepted online only.

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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

    • The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in America.
    • 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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