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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) also known as the HOPE Scholarship are listed below.

  1. Do I have to reapply each year to receive my award?
  2. Do I need to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) to retain my award?
  3. How will my eligibility be affected if I decide to drop a course(s)?
  4. If I decide to take a semester off, how will my award be impacted?
  5. If I lose my award, can I regain it?
  6. How long can I receive the HOPE Scholarship?
  7. How will my grade point average be calculated for purposes of the HOPE Scholarship?
  8. If I enroll less than full-time, will my award be reduced?
  9. Where can I use the HOPE Scholarship?
  10. If I change schools, how do I transfer my award?

Q: Do I have to reapply each year to receive my award?

A: Yes. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

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Q: Do I need to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) to retain my award?

A: Yes. To retain the HOPE Scholarship, you must:

Students who receive the HOPE Access Grant will receive the award for each semester until they have attempted 24 semester hours. If students meet the HOPE Scholarship renewal criteria listed above then their award will convert to the HOPE Scholarship.

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Q: How will my eligibility be affected if I decide to drop a course(s)?

A: You should never drop a course without talking to the financial aid office at your institution. Your full-time (12+ hours) or part-time (6-11 hours) enrollment status, as of the institution's census date, is the enrollment status you must maintain throughout the semester. Dropping a course(s) without a documented medical or personal reason may cause you to permanently lose your HOPE Scholarship eligibility.

Request to Withdraw from School or Drop a Class (Adobe PDF, requires Adobe Reader)

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Q: If I decide to take a semester off, how will my award be impacted?

A: All award recipients must maintain continuous enrollment at an eligible postsecondary institution. This means that students must be enrolled at least part-time for the fall and spring semesters to continue to receive the award. Enrollment in the summer semester is not required. Students enrolled in less than six (6) credit hours will maintain continuous enrollment but do not qualify for an award.

Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarship - Request For Leave of Absence (Adobe PDF, requires Adobe Reader)

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Q: If I lose my award, can I regain it?

A: Yes. Students who fail to meet the renewal requirements and lose the HOPE Scholarship can regain the award one time by meeting the renewal criteria listed above at a benchmark. Students cannot appeal to regain the HOPE Scholarship if their GPA falls below the renewal requirements. Students who lose the award due to a nonacademic reason such as not maintaining continuous enrollment or changing their enrollment status from full- time to part-time, or part-time to less than part-time, are not eligible to regain the award unless an appeal is approved by the postsecondary institution or Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC). For further information regarding the appeal process, contact the Southwest HOPE Scholarship Coordinator at 901-333-4262.

Appeal to Reinstate Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarship (Adobe PDF, requires Adobe Reader)

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Q: How long can I receive the HOPE Scholarship?

A: Students who meet all criteria to retain the HOPE Scholarship may receive the award until the 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.

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Q: How will my grade point average be calculated for purposes of the HOPE Scholarship?

A: All courses attempted after high school graduation shall be used in calculating the grade point average. Students 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.

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Q: If I enroll less than full-time, will my award be reduced?

A: Yes. HOPE Scholarship recipients who are enrolled less than full-time will receive a reduced amount. Students enrolled in 9-11 hours will receive ¾ of the award and students enrolled in 6-8 hours will receive ½ of the award. Students enrolled less than 6 hours will not receive an award. Your enrollment status is determined as of the fourteenth day of class each semester.

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Q: Where can I use the HOPE Scholarship?

A: The HOPE Scholarship must be used at an eligible postsecondary institution in the state of Tennessee. For a complete list of eligible institutions, please visit Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Programs Eligible Institutions. Students who choose to attend an out-of-state institution are not eligible to receive the award.

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Q: If I change schools, how do I transfer my award?

A: You can transfer your award to Southwest, which is an eligible postsecondary institution, by follow the directions at Adding Southwest to Your FAFSA for TSAC Payments.

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For more information email the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) office or call 901-333-4262.