Lottery Scholarship: Frequently Asked Questions
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You should never drop a course without first talking to the financial aid office at your institution. Your eligibility status will not be affected if you are enrolled full-time and withdraw from courses but maintain at least 12 semester hours of enrollment. Your full-time (12+ semester hours) or part-time (6-11 semester hours) enrollment status, as of the institution’s census date, is the enrollment status you must maintain throughout the semester. If your enrollment status is not maintained, the institution shall apply its refund policy to determine whether a refund is required and/or funds are returned to TSAC. Dropping a course(s) without a documented medical or personal reason may cause you to permanently lose your HOPE Scholarship eligibility.
For students graduating from public TN high schools, the HOPE Scholarship GPA’s are calculated based on the Uniform Grading Policy adopted by the TN State Board of Education. For more details, please speak with your high school counselor.
Yes. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and it is the only recognized application for the HOPE Scholarship program. To review your eligibility status, you must register for a TSAC Student Portal account. Be sure to have your Social Security number available and use your legal name as shown on your Social Security card when registering for a Student Portal account.
Yes. To retain the HOPE Scholarship, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress and achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.75 after attempting 24 and 48 semester hours. After reaching the 72 semester hours benchmark and beyond, you may retain the award in one of two ways:
- Achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 or
- If your cumulative GPA is between 2.75-2.99 and your semester GPA is 3.0 or above in the prior semester then you may retain the award on a semester-to-semester basis. Under these guidelines, you must maintain full-time enrollment. Your eligibility status is checked after each semester; except for the summer. However, if you meet these guidelines and enroll full time for the summer, your eligibility status will be checked at the end of the summer term.
You must maintain continuous enrollment at an eligible postsecondary institution. Discontinuing enrollment from an eligible postsecondary institution to enroll at an ineligible postsecondary institution will cause you to permanently lose your HOPE Scholarship eligibility. Also, taking a semester off from an eligible postsecondary institution without a documented medical or personal reason may cause you to permanently lose your HOPE Scholarship eligibility. Students must be enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution at least part time for the fall and spring semesters to continue receiving the award. Enrollment in the summer semester is not required. Students enrolled in less than six (6) credit hours for any semester will maintain continuous enrollment but do not qualify for an award.
Yes. If you fail to meet the HOPE Scholarship academic renewal requirements, you can regain the award one time only by meeting the renewal criteria at a later benchmark. You cannot appeal to regain your HOPE Scholarship if your GPA is the reason for losing the HOPE Scholarship. If you lose the award by not maintaining continuous enrollment or changing your enrollment status from full time to part time, or part time to less than part time due to medical or personal hardship reasons, then you may seek an appeal request at the institution or TSAC.
Whether receiving the HOPE Scholarship or not, all college courses attempted after high school graduation shall be used in calculating your grade point average. You may repeat one (1) course one (1) time and use the higher grade achieved. However, both courses attempted shall be used in the attempted hours total.
Eligible students may continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following event is met:
- Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
- Five (5) years have passed from the date of the student’s initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution.
Please visit our website for more details regarding the renewal criteria.
Yes. HOPE Scholarship recipients who are enrolled less than full time at the beginning of the semester will receive a reduced amount. Students enrolled in 9-11 hours will receive ¾ of the full award and students enrolled in 6-8 hours will receive ½ of the full award. Students enrolled for less than 6 hours will not receive an award. Your enrollment status is determined as of the institution’s census date.
The HOPE Scholarship must be used at an eligible postsecondary institution in the state of Tennessee. However, if you attend an out-of-state institution immediately following high school graduation, you may qualify for the HOPE Scholarship upon returning to TN and enrolling at an eligible postsecondary institution. That said, while enrolled at the regionally accredited out-of-state institution, you must meet the same college GPA requirements and enrollment requirements that lottery scholarship recipients must meet as described in this FAQ interaction; should you decide to return to Tennessee and enroll at an eligible postsecondary institution.
The "tentative" eligibility status means TSAC has determined that you are a potential candidate to receive an award. However, your eligibility status will be later finalized by the eligible postsecondary institution in which you are enrolled. For more details, contact the financial aid office.
To make a correction to student information on the Student Portal account, click on “Send Email to TSAC”. Once you have sent the email with the correction information, TSAC staff will update your application. Please note that a name change on the application will require a TSAC staff to delete your Student Portal account so that you can re-register for an account using the correct name. Once a new account has been registered, it will automatically connect with your existing application(s) in our system.
Applications for the HOPE Scholarship must be received by September 1st for the fall semester and February 1st for the spring and summer semesters. If you miss the application deadline date for the Fall semester but the application is received by TSAC for the Spring and Summer semester deadline dates, you may qualify for an award in the Spring or Summer semester.
I am a home school graduate and I meet the General Assembly Merit Scholarship (GAMS) ACT/SAT requirements. The GAMS amount does not appear in my institution award letter and in my Student Portal account. What steps do I take to update the record on my TSAC Student Portal account to reflect the GAMS?
Although your final home school grade point average cannot be used for GAMS eligibility, you may still meet the GAMS requirements. Contact the financial aid office at the institution in which you are receiving the HOPE Scholarship and have them review your status for the GAMS; as a home school graduate.
Yes. When the college or university has determined your Junior/Senior grade level classification, the school will update the semester HOPE Scholarship award amount in our system and on your TSAC Student portal account. Please contact the financial aid office at your institution for more details.
Once a HOPE Scholarship recipient is enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution, the student must remain continuous enrollment at an eligible postsecondary institution. The student will become permanently ineligible for the HOPE Scholarship once enrollment at an eligible postsecondary institution is severed followed by enrollment at an out-of-state college or university.
No. The academic year begins with the Fall semester followed by the immediate Spring and Summer semesters; in that order. Since the student had graduated from high school at the end of an academic year, HOPE Scholarship funding cannot begin until the next academic year; beginning with the Fall semester.
A student seeking a degree at a regionally accredited out-of-state postsecondary institution is considered a “transient student” while enrolled in college courses at a TN postsecondary institution during the summer semester; and is ineligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship.
Please contact the financial aid office at your school of choice for more detail. Since continued HOPE Scholarship eligibility verification is required, colleges and universities delay the continuation status until the semester concludes.
Yes. Students may have up to sixteen (16) months from the date of high school graduation to enroll at an eligible postsecondary institution and begin receiving the HOPE Scholarship. During the sixteen (16) months off students must not enroll at an ineligible postsecondary institution. Doing so will cause students to become permanently ineligible.
The TSAC Student Portal account displays one college or university at a time. To see the scholarship award amount for another college or university, click the “Transfer Schools” button on your portal account and follow the instructions.
If a public high school student falls short of the minimum ACT/SAT requirement of 21/1060, they may still qualify for HOPE based on earning a minimum final high school GPA of 3.0; as calculated by the public high school using the State Board of Education Uniform Grading Policy. Final grades are not calculated until students complete the minimum requirements for graduation.
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Possibly. Students who received the Dual Enrollment Grant for more than four (4) dual enrolled courses over the Junior or Senior years will have the amount reduced from the HOPE Scholarship on a dollar for dollar basis. Students receiving the Dual Enrollment Grant for up to four (4) will not have the HOPE Scholarship reduced.
Yes. However, you will be required to complete a Consortium Agreement form designed for both institutions. The institution listed on your Dual Enrollment Grant application is considered your “Home” institution. Only one institution can appear on your application at a time. Check with your Home institution for more details regarding the Consortium Agreement form. Dual Enrollment Grant funds will be disbursed to the Home institution for use at both institutions.
Yes. Students who are residents of TN and enrolled in a home school program may qualify for the Dual Enrollment Grant program.
Yes. Students who have an Alien Registration Number, assigned to them by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services as eligible non-citizens or permanent residents, may qualify.
Withdrawing from a dual enrollment class while receiving the Dual Enrollment Grant after the institution’s defined census date may cause you to become permanently ineligible for the Dual Enrollment Grant program. Before withdrawing from the class, speak with your financial aid representative at the institution in which you are dual enrolled.
High school Juniors or Seniors who have already met the academic requirements for the HOPE Scholarship may receive Dual Enrollment Grant funding for up to three (3) dual enrolled courses per semester; not to exceed Dual Enrollment Grant funding for more than ten (10) lifetime dual enrolled courses.
NOTE: Students who received the Dual Enrollment Grant for more than four (4) dual enrolled courses over the Junior or Senior years will have the amount reduced from the HOPE Scholarship on a dollar for dollar basis.
Yes. High school Juniors and Seniors must complete and submit the Dual Enrollment Grant application each academic year by the application deadline dates. If enrolled at a 2-year or 4-year institution, you must apply by September 15 for Fall enrollment, February 1 for Spring enrollment and May 15 for summer enrollment. If enrolled at a TN College of Applied Technology, you must apply by November 1 for Fall enrollment, March 1 for Spring enrollment and May 1 for Summer enrollment.
If you enroll at another eligible postsecondary institution, you can transfer the Dual Enrollment Grant on your TSAC Student Portal account. On your account, select the “Transfer Schools” button next to the semester and aid program.
To qualify for the Dual Enrollment Grant program, students must be classified by the high school as a “Junior” or “Senior”. Check with your high school counselor for more details regarding grade classification requirements.