TELS Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS), also known as the HOPE Scholarship.

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

Yes. To retain the HOPE Scholarship, you must:

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress and achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 after attempting 24 and 48 semester hours.
  • After attempting 72 semester hours or any multiple of 24 semester hours, a student 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, students must maintain full-time enrollment. Their eligibility is checked after each semester except for the summer. However, students who meet these guidelines and enroll full-time for the summer will have their eligibility checked at the end of the summer term.

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, their award will convert to the HOPE Scholarship.

You should never drop a course without talking to the financial aid office. 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)

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 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)

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 because of 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 Southwest or Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC). For more details about the appeal process, call the Southwest HOPE Scholarship Coordinator at 901-333-4262.

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

Students who meet all criteria to retain the HOPE Scholarship may receive the award until the student has earned a baccalaureate degree or five years from the date of the student's initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution.

All courses attempted after high school graduation shall be used in calculating the grade point average. Students may repeat one course one time and use the higher grade achieved. However, both courses attempted shall be used in the attempted hours total.

Yes. HOPE Scholarship recipients who are enrolled less than full-time will receive a reduced amount. Students enrolled in 9–11 hours will receive three-fourths of the award. Students enrolled in 6–8 hours will receive half 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.

The HOPE Scholarship must be used at an eligible postsecondary institution in Tennessee, such as Southwest. 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.

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.


Contact Us

To learn more, email the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) office at Southwest at or call 901-333-6022 or 901-333-6464.
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