Financial Aid clarifies HOPE requirements

Approximately 700 Tech students lose their scholarship each year. According to the Tennessee Higher Education Committee, roughly 50 percent of all Tennessee HOPE Scholarship students lose their scholarship by the end of freshman year.There are numerous ways to lose the scholarship. Two ways are not having your GPA meeting the lottery benchmark or changing your student status from full to part time during a semester that you have already registered for as full time.

“A lot of students right now are thinking that they can’t drop a class with the HOPE scholarship, or drop a class with a W,” said Adriane King, assistant director of financial aid. “That may or may not be true. It depends on how many hours they have and if dropping will put them below full time.”

At this point in the semester it may be hard to stay focused and keep noses to the grindstone, but due to the alarming number of students who lose financial aid it is important to stay on track.

“The HOPE scholarship is a huge program that benefits so many students,” said King. “Recently, we seem to be getting a lot of questions about what students need to do to keep or regain the scholarship.”

In order for a student to retain the scholarship, they must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 at the end of 24 and 48 hours and a 3.0 at the end of 72, 96, 120, and 144 attempted hours.

With a 15-hour course load, making 4 A’s and 1 F can drop your GPA by an entire letter grade. With four B’s, anything lower than a C in a class will put you below the GPA required to keep the Hope Scholarship.

If your GPA falls below the minimum requirement at an eligibility benchmark, the HOPE foundation allows for the scholarship to be regained once. If you are able to bring your lottery GPA back up by the next benchmark, you get the scholarship back. But if you fall below the benchmark again, then the scholarship is gone for good.

“I think that a lot of students don’t understand how important it is that they come in and ask, rather than assuming they’ve lost it and cannot get it back,” said King. “Situations are different. Just because your roommate lost their scholarship for good doesn’t mean you have to.

“The circumstances vary. We’ll do anything we can to help a student get their scholarship back.”

The Tennessee HOPE Scholarship provides students with scholarship money for college based on their academic standing and course load. This year alone, the scholarship is providing more than $18 million of funding to eligible recipients at Tech.

For more information, go to financial aid and talk to Polly Burns, HOPE scholarship coordinator, or email her at pburns@tntech.edu.