NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Lottery games aren't generating enough money to pay for all of the Hope Scholarships. Now, lawmakers are putting options together that could make it tougher for students to get a scholarship in the future.
More students than ever are eligible to receive the annual $4,000 Hope Scholarship. A special task force has been analyzing the problem for the last year. Lawmakers say they don't want to impact any current scholarships and break promises to students.
"That's part of their overall plan for post-secondary, and we don't need to interrupt that plan midstream in reference to money or lack of money. So, what we're looking at is phasing in some changes that will take effect down the road," said Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville.
Lawmakers have narrowed their options, which impact future recipients. They're considering requiring both an ACT score of 21 and a GPA of 3.0, as opposed to one or the other. Another option is to raise the ACT requirement from 21 to 23 and possibly raising the GPA from 3.0 to 3.25. The final proposal would limit the scholarship length to eight semesters unless the degree specifically requires five years for completion.
"Future students, it will impact their financial plan. It could very well impact the whole scholarship plan," said Brooks.
Lawmakers said they will wait until Gov. Bill Haslam weighs in on the issue before making a decision. But they say the problem will be resolved this legislative session because the system is running out of money.
Thanks to Helen for the tip.