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Scholarship Program Information

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People with MS can realize life-changing breakthroughs and move life forward when they are connected, supported, and informed. Lives are changed when people have hope for the future and can be powerful self-advocates to navigate the challenges of MS every day.

The National MS Society's Scholarship Program exists to help qualified students affected by multiple sclerosis achieve their dreams of going to college and connects them and their families to information, resources, and support needed to live their best lives as they manage the impact of the disease.

The scholarship application will be available on this page between November 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018. Until then, please see below for eligibility guidelines and other frequently asked 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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How many scholarships will be given?

We are anticipating that 300–400 scholarships will be granted (dependent on funding available). The application review and selection process is competitive, and not all applicants will be granted an award.

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Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible MS Statuses:
  • If you have MS, you may apply for any year of undergraduate study
  • If your parent has MS, you must meet the following criteria:
    • Be a past National MS Society scholarship recipient (2013 or later) in any year of undergraduate study, or
    • Be a high school senior (or graduate of any age) planning to enroll in undergraduate study for your freshman year
In addition, ALL applicants must:
  • Be a United States citizen or legal resident living in the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or any other U.S. territory
  • Have earned or will earn their high school diploma (or GED) and plan to enroll in an undergraduate course of study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school in the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or any other U.S. territory for the entire 2018-2019 academic year
  • Enroll in at least 6 credit hours per semester in coursework leading to a first undergraduate degree, license or certificate
  • Meet one of the Eligible MS statuses above
Ineligible:
  • Students who have already completed an undergraduate degree are ineligible.
  • Deferrals will not be granted. Applicants must use the scholarship during the 2018-2019 academic year to ensure those in immediate need are served.
  • Current undergraduate students are not eligible unless you have MS, or you are a past National MS Society scholarship recipient.
(The National MS Society reserves the right to review the conditions and procedures of the scholarship program and make changes annually.)
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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 Scholarship support for educational endeavors, the scholarship program is only one part of the Society’s overall mission. The Society must balance funding for this program with other priorities such as MS research, other programs, services, and resources to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. Therefore, there are funding limitations in addition to costs associated in collecting and reviewing each application that must be managed. The National MS Society reviews eligibility criteria annually. 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 http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/search.aspx.  

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What’s the deadline?

The deadline to submit your online application is January 31, 2018.

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I missed the deadline – can I still apply?

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?

An individual may apply for the scholarship if he or she meets all eligibility criteria above. Check back each year in the month of October as eligibility may change.

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Can I renew my scholarship?

The National MS Society scholarship awards do not automatically renew. You must reapply to be considered for another scholarship. The program will open to receive applications by November 1, 2017 (see “Who is eligible to apply” above).
 

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Will scholarships be given out every year?

The Society must balance funding for this program with other priorities such as MS research, other programs, services, and resources to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. We do rely on the support of our donor’s and fundraisers to fund programs and services which can vary year to year. The Society regularly reviews fiscal conditions and reserves the right to make changes to balance funding for priorities that address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. Visit our website page periodically for updates.
 

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Where does the money for scholarships come from?

The program is made possible through the generous investments of a wide variety of donors, foundations, event fundraising, individuals affected by MS, and volunteers.

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What are the criteria for selecting finalists?

Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and fully complete the online application including the upload of required supporting documents by the January 31, 2018 deadline. The program is competitive in nature, and not all applicants will be selected for an award. 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 (or impact of scholarship if past recipient). 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. In addition, donations to the Society or pre-existing relationships with the Society are not part of the evaluation of student merit.

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Who selects the recipients?

The National MS Society engages volunteers in reviewing applicants and making selection determinations. Review committees may consist of people living with MS, donors, and other volunteers impacted by the disease.
 

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

When you submit your application, you will receive an email confirmation acknowledging receipt of your application. All applicants will receive an email in the month of May to let them know if they have been selected as a recipient or not. Applicants agree to accept award decisions as final. Add mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org to your contacts to ensure you receive your notice and check your junk folder if you don't see it in your inbox. Communications with all applicants is done by paper mail, email or both. Please be sure to check your email regularly. If you have any changes to your email or your postal address, please notify us at mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org.

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

You must complete and submit an electronic Scholarship Acceptance Form before funds can be processed. You must notify your school about the award and deliver the scholarship check to the school in a timely manner. You will be asked to upload a current photo and write a thank you note to at least one donor. You are required to notify Scholarship America 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?

Scholarship America will issue a check on behalf of the National MS Society in one installment in early August. The check is mailed from Scholarship America to each recipient's home address and is made payable to the college for the student's account.

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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 America in a timely manner. Otherwise, you may expect delays in receiving your check. To update your account, email mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org or call 844-402-0358.

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

All applications must be submitted online. Due to the large volume of applications received the National MS Society has contracted with Scholarship America to help manage the application, distribution of award checks, and monitoring of student enrollment processes. All applications are submitted to the National MS Society for review and final award decisions.

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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 (CST), 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., either by email to mssociety@scholarshipamerica.org or calling 844-402-0358.

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When can I get an application and apply?

Applications are accepted online only. The link to apply will be posted at the top of this page by November 1st and remain posted until the January 31, 2018 closing date. After you register, you may use the same link above to log in and out of your application anytime (up until you have submitted your application). 

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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

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

 
  • www.lookingglass.org/services/national-services/scholarships - Scholarships specifically for high school seniors and college students who have parents with disabilities.
  • www.theprejaxfoundation.com - provides college tuition assistance in the form of $1,000 scholarships to exceptional students who either have a parent with MS or have themselves been diagnosed with MS.
  • Two special scholarships are available at Ohio State University specifically for students who have MS or have a parent with MS. They are: The Gail A. and John A. Simonetti Endowed Scholarship, and the Walter F. Gnezda Memorial Scholarship Fund. Search keyword "ms" or call the university for assistance. Contact OSU for information.
  • www.aahd.us - American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) Scholarship Program provides scholarships for people with disabilities. (November application deadline.)
  • www.heath.gwu.edu - George Washington Heath Resource Center. Online clearinghouse and postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities.
  • www.needymeds.org/scholarships.taf - Lists scholarships that are offered for students (or students with a family member) with specific medical conditions.
  • www.patientadvocate.org - Scholarships for students under the age of 25 who have been diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating and/or life-threatening disease within the past 5 years.
  • www.msscholarship.org - The Mary J. Szczepanski "Never Give Up" MS Scholarship Foundation offers nine scholarships for high school seniors and one for a student in college.
  • GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program - Students affected by MS may also be interested in the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program. The foundation awards scholarships to college-bound students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship.
  • www.matchcollege.com - Free college search and information site, providing information on admissions, financial aid, tuition and more on over 6,000 colleges and universities nationwide.
  • www.advocacy-net.com/scholarmks.htm - More than 1,500 scholarships on the Internet.
  • SallieMae, the nation’s leading provider of student loans.
  • www.elks.org/enf/scholars/ - High school seniors are eligible to apply. Applicants need not be related to a member of the Elks.
  • www.fastweb.com - Each day, more than 20,000 people access this free scholarship search database containing 400,000 scholarships.
  • www.careerinfonet.org/scholarshipsearch - Search more than 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans, and other financial aid opportunities.
  • www.ronbrown.org - Ron Brown Scholar Program (major scholarships).
  • www.truman.gov - The Harry S. Truman scholarship site.
  • www.jackierobinson.org - The Jackie Robinson Foundation scholarships. For minority students.
  • https://mcsf.scholarshipapps.org/index.cfm - Marine Corps scholarships.
  • www.uncf.org - United Negro College Fund Merck Science Initiative.
  • www.scholarships.com - Free service... database of more than 2.7 millions scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion.
  • www.college-scholarships.com/free-scholarship-searches/ - Provides links to more than 50 free, online scholarship search sites listing thousands of scholarships and financial aid awards.
  • www.collegenet.com - Offers 10,000 scholarships for applying for college on-line.
  • www.internationalscholarships.com - Searchable database of scholarships all around the world.
  • www.studylands.com/scholarships - Searchable database of scholarship all around the world.
  • www.petersons.com - Very respected name in college search information.
  • www.gocollege.com - Resources to guide students on how to finance and succeed in college.
  • www.scholarshipamerica.org - The nation’s largest nonprofit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization.
  • www.cappex.com/scholarships - Searchable database with access to thousands of additional scholarships to help students pay for college.
  • www.bestschools.com - Online education resources including reviews of accredited online schools, how to transfer college credits, costs, financial aid resources and more.
  • www.mastersdegree.com/financial-aid - Useful for those considering graduate level studies including how to choose a program and ways to alleviate educational costs.

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