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Marketing scholarships a challenge for Tennessee Lottery

Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Marketing scholarships a challenge for Tennessee Lottery

Myron Oglesby-Pitts imagines advertisements for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship on TV screens, billboards, hot-air balloons and buses.

She can see herself and staff members driving a "HOPE Hummer," a Humvee that could navigate the hills and valleys of the state's 95 counties, giving high school students and guidance counselors an impressive symbol of a college education made more affordable by lottery revenues.

All of those things, she said, might be necessary to get the word out about requirements for the lottery-funded scholarships available next fall.

But Oglesby-Pitts, the new deputy director of the Tennessee Student Assistance Corp., has other mountains to climb first. She'll need to do a lot of fund raising to supplement a state marketing budget of less than $100,000.

"That won't touch it," she said of the money available and the challenge of reaching hundreds of thousands of students, parents, counselors, teachers and principals.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. hopes to sell the first lottery tickets by Feb. 10. Revenues will pay for HOPE and other scholarships and grants designed to keep students in state for college.

That plan is simple enough. But even with a new, red-white-and-blue HOPE logo ready to go, Oglesby-Pitts and other state education officials are realizing the complexities of explaining the scholarship requirements in a way that is concise, catchy, accurate and far-reaching.

The basic, $3,000-a-year scholarship, for example, has been touted as requiring either a B average 3.0 high school grade-point average out of a possible 4.0 or a score of 19, out of a possible 36, on the ACT college-entrance exam.

But it isn't quite so easy to explain.

The GPA must be on an unweighted scale, meaning it must be computed without extra points for honors or Advanced Placement courses. Students must earn the 3.0 in college-prep classes and overall. They also must score 890 on the SAT, out of a possible 1600, if they take that instead of the ACT, which is more common in Tennessee.

Add in different requirements for four other types of awards, and you've got a tall marketing order.

"It is very complicated," Mary Morgan, director of communications for the Tennessee Board of Regents higher education system, said during a meeting last week of state officials working on the issue. "But the fact that it's complicated doesn't mean that it doesn't need to be accurate."

It also will need to be somewhat flashy to connect with 18-year-olds, Morgan added in an interview. Leaflets and speeches probably will not be enough.

"You can't expect high school guidance counselors to be able to get information in the hands of every student in a way that they'll absorb it," Morgan said.

But Oglesby-Pitts is counting on those counselors to do what they can. She has hired three people to cover the state and visit schools to make sure everyone has the right information.

Pat Cole, guidance coordinator for Metro schools, said that she will bring counselors together before Thanksgiving to make sure they understand the requirements. Brian Noland, associate executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, said the state will need to have a marketing plan rolling by then. With GPAs rising and falling on every class, first-semester final exams will be "a high-stakes exercise," he said.

Beyond explaining how to get a scholarship, officials will need to say what HOPE won't get you: automatic admission to your favorite college or university. A 19 on the ACT or a 3.0 GPA will win a scholarship, but neither is likely to make the cut for admission to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Current college freshmen who graduated from high school last spring also will need to know the rules, because they will be eligible for scholarships next year. (Students who graduated from high school before 2003 will not qualify.) UT and some Board of Regents schools have started talking to their students.

Bill Ford, a finance professor at Middle Tennessee State University, said freshmen need to know that if they don't earn a 2.75 GPA this year, they could be forfeiting $3,000 a year for each of the next three years.

"We've got to shout in the ear of every freshman, 'Come to class and make your grades.' "

Misty Cox, an MTSU freshman who was the valedictorian of her West Tennessee high school, said she was unaware of the scholarships before the university started sending e-mails about them recently. Cox had received three or four by Tuesday.

Oglesby-Pitts is not expecting to get any money from the lottery corporation to help with marketing the scholarships. Lottery spokesman Will Pinkston said the lottery plans to market the games.

"We're over here generating the money for the scholarships, and TSAC is over there administering the scholarships."

The Georgia Student Finance Commission had a $300,000 marketing budget in 1993, the first year of the Georgia lottery. The money paid for brochures promoting that state's HOPE Scholarship and workshops for guidance counselors and financial aid directors, commission spokeswoman Alma Bowen said. There were no other forms of advertising by the commission and the lottery itself didn't do any specific scholarship marketing, though it has always made its education mission clear, lottery spokesman J.B. Landroche said.

Morgan said the lack of lottery proceeds going to scholarship marketing was a legislative "oversight." But Oglesby-Pitts is optimistic that she can persuade some of the state's wealthier citizens to help make HOPE visible "on every corner where people turn."

As for getting that pricey Humvee, she said, "There's someone out there who can make that happen."

Requirements for Awards

Students must be Tennessee residents and must attend an accredited Tennessee college or university to qualify for any of the lottery-funded scholarships or grants. Students also are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here are the other requirements for each award:

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship

This scholarship is worth $3,000 a year at four-year schools and $1,500 a year at two-year schools.

" Students who have not yet graduated from high school will need to score at least a 19 on the ACT or 890 on the SAT or earn at least a 3.0 unweighted grade-point average both overall and in their college core courses.

" Students with a GED rather than a high school diploma will need a score of 525 on the GED and a 19 on the ACT or 890 on the SAT.

" Students who have been home-schooled must score a 23 on the ACT or 1060 on the SAT or, if they have a GED, must score a 19 on the ACT or 890 on the SAT.

Students who are Tennessee residents and college freshmen this year whether in Tennessee or another state will need to:

" Have scored a 19 on the ACT or 890 on the SAT or earned a 3.0 high school GPA both overall and in the college core courses.

" Earn an overall GPA of 2.75 in their freshman year and complete 24 hours of for-credit coursework.

The Tennessee HOPE Scholarship is the base for two other awards. Students can receive only one of these awards. If they qualify for both, they will receive the General Assembly Merit Scholarship:

General Assembly Merit Scholarship

Students who qualify for HOPE will earn an additional $1,000 a year if they:

" Earn a 3.75 unweighted high school GPA both overall and in the college core.

" Score at least a 29 on the ACT or 1280 on the SAT.

Need-based Supplemental Award

Students who qualify for HOPE will earn an additional $1,000 a year if their parents have an adjusted gross income of $36,000 a year or less.

There are also two other awards:

Tennessee HOPE Access Grant

This award, worth $2,000 a year at four-year schools and $1,250 a year at two-year schools, is for students who do not qualify for the HOPE Scholarship. It is not renewable at the end of the year, but students who earn a 2.75 GPA and 24 credit hours in their freshman year of college will then qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.

To earn the access grant, students will need to have all of the following:

" A 2.75 high school GPA both overall and in the college core courses.

" An 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT.

" Parents' adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less.

Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant

Every student who attends a Tennessee Technology Center is eligible for this $1,250 annual grant. There is no GPA or ACT/SAT requirement.

Tennessean

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7 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by visiondude.
Page 1 of 1
dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

United States
Member #2338
September 17, 2003
2063 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 4, 2003, 1:03 am - IP Logged

it just shows how wasteful this woman is with tax payer's dollars to h.s. kids. to show off a 120k vehicle to people at tax payer expense is sick. wonder what tax payers would have thought if she had bought a mercedes - might have been cheaper to boot

    visiondude's avatar - eye3logo
    light on my feet
    United States
    Member #356
    May 20, 2002
    2744 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: November 4, 2003, 4:59 am - IP Logged

    she could do like they did

                "i am .........."meant to"       

    P.S.,  that RJoH  is a stand up guy.  thanks,  vision

             until further notice,  it's  france everyday

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      23260 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: November 4, 2003, 5:28 am - IP Logged
      Quote: Originally posted by dvdiva on November 04, 2003


      it just shows how wasteful this woman is with tax payer's dollars to h.s. kids. to show off a 120k vehicle to people at tax payer expense is sick. wonder what tax payers would have thought if she had bought a mercedes - might have been cheaper to boot


      I thought the same thing.

       

      Check the State Lottery Report Card
      What grade did your lottery earn?

       

      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
      Help eliminate computerized drawings!

        vincejr's avatar - wallace
        Somewhere in VA
        United States
        Member #1944
        July 29, 2003
        130 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: November 4, 2003, 1:16 pm - IP Logged

        You guys are missing the way these things work....the HOPE scholarship program will probably have a Hummer per lottery region (thus 5 for the state), but the program, nor the lottery will shell out a dime for them. They will find corporate sponsors for them (being aligned with a scholarship program is good PR) or local Hummer dealers will provide them free of charge. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if the contracting team finds some kind of scholarship marketing incentives in the contracts being offered by GTECH, SciGames, etc (especially now that they know that such money is needed).

          RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
          mid-Ohio
          United States
          Member #9
          March 24, 2001
          19817 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 4, 2003, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

          What ever happened to the idea of students and their parents going to the local library and doing a little research to see what scholarships  and grants are available for colleges and special schools.  To succeed in college a student will have to do a lot of homework and research and there is no better time to start than when they are still in high school.  If the state really wanted to help, they could make sure access to the material was available in all their libraries.

          RJOh

           * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
             
                       Evil Looking       

            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #1
            May 31, 2000
            23260 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: November 4, 2003, 3:07 pm - IP Logged
            Quote: Originally posted by vincejr on November 04, 2003


            You guys are missing the way these things work....the HOPE scholarship program will probably have a Hummer per lottery region (thus 5 for the state), but the program, nor the lottery will shell out a dime for them. They will find corporate sponsors for them (being aligned with a scholarship program is good PR) or local Hummer dealers will provide them free of charge. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if the contracting team finds some kind of scholarship marketing incentives in the contracts being offered by GTECH, SciGames, etc (especially now that they know that such money is needed).



            Vince,

            You're absolutely correct, the lottery vendors are really on the hook for a lot of that stuff.  It's just that the public at large really doesn't know that, and putting blanket quotes in the news about the lottery obtaining a Hummer makes them look real bad.

            Everyone seems a little giddy over there right now -- they have to be very careful.

             

            Check the State Lottery Report Card
            What grade did your lottery earn?

             

            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
            Help eliminate computerized drawings!

              visiondude's avatar - eye3logo
              light on my feet
              United States
              Member #356
              May 20, 2002
              2744 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 4, 2003, 9:59 pm - IP Logged

              TODD,

              i have to know now so i can prepare.

              if tennessee offers you $185,000 a year and a hummer,  are you jumping ship and shutting down lottery post?

               thevisionwillcontinueeveniflotterypostceasestoexist

                          "i am .........."meant to"       

              P.S.,  that RJoH  is a stand up guy.  thanks,  vision

                       until further notice,  it's  france everyday