Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Legislation

The following TELS legislation became effective on July 1, 2005:

  1. Sixteen month rule – This allows students to delay enrollment in college for up to 16 months after high school graduation without losing their eligibility for the TELS awards. The 2004 high school graduates were grandfathered in on this rule. (They would have needed to be enrolled by Fall 2005 to make use of this option.)

  2. Out-of-state return – This allows students who attend out-of-state colleges to transfer back to eligible TN colleges and receive TELS funding. However, these students must have been continuously enrolled and must meet the TELS GPA requirements at the benchmarks (24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 attempted hours).

  3. Regain option – This allows students to regain their scholarship if it was lost from failure to maintain the required TELS GPA. This can only be used once. These students must also have maintained continuous enrollment, met satisfactory academic progress, and not drop enrollment status (full-time to part-time) without prior permission from the Institutional Review Panel (IRP). Click for the Regain Option Form.

  4. Repeat option – This allows students to re-take one course and allow only the highest grade to count for their TELS GPA. The hours for both courses will still count towards the maximum TELS attempted hours. This will not have any impact on the student’s Columbia State GPA. This option can only be used one time. Click for the Repeat Option Request Form

  5. Nontraditional students – This allows nontraditional students who meet the following criteria to apply:

    1. At least 25 years old

    2. Never enrolled or have not been enrolled in any post-secondary institution for at least two years (this includes TTCs, beauty schools and business colleges)

    3. An adjusted gross income of less than $36,000 on their federal tax return

    4. TN residents for at least one year prior to September 1st of the year they enroll

    5. Apply using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the September 1st deadline

    6. Attempt 12 credit hours and earn 2.75 GPA before any awards are made

  6. HOPE Foster Care Grant – This allows students who were in state foster care for at least one year after reaching 14 years of age and meet the criteria for the Hope Scholarship to receive additional funding. This grant is to cover any tuition and fees not covered by other scholarships and grants. This is for public institutions only.

  7. Dual Enrollment Grant – This allows students who are still in high school to receive a grant while participating in a dual enrollment program. These students must be TN residents for at least 1 year prior to receipt of the grant. They must also maintain a 2.75 GPA in the dual enrollment courses to retain eligibility. Joint enrollment does not qualify for this grant. Hours and grades earned in this program will have no impact on future TELS eligibility. Unlike the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship, the Dual Enrollment grant is coordinated by the Admissions, Records and Bursar’s offices, not the Financial Aid Office.

The following legislation has been adopted by the Tennessee legislature this year. However, these changes are still considered to be in draft form by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corp. (TSAC):

  • Senate Bill 2683 changes the basic Hope Scholarship amounts from $1,650 to $1,900 per year at eligible two-year, post-secondary institutions. It also makes certain students who are Tennessee citizens, dependent children of religious workers serving outside the United States, and certain students graduating from accredited high schools in a contiguous out-of-state county eligible for a Tennessee Hope Scholarship.

  • Senate Bill 2981 permits students who are initially eligible for a Tennessee Hope Scholarship but who instead obtain a Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, to be eligible for a Hope scholarship at an eligible post-secondary institution. The student must apply for a Hope Scholarship within three years of the diploma program.

  • House Bill 2809 allows students attending private as well as public, post-secondary institutions to obtain Tennessee Hope Foster Child Tuition Grants.