Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS) (Promulgated Rules)

TN Lottery Scholarship - Frequently Asked Questions

TELS APPEALS and Exception Process

Art Institute - Nashville Students

TELS Summary Form

Programas De Becas Para Educación Patrocinado Por La Lotería De Tennessee (TELS Summary Form – Spanish Version)

What is TELS Consortium Agreement?

The TELS rules were revised to facilitate administration of the TELS program, which included minimizing the inclusion of rule language that duplicated TELS program statutory language. Where duplication existed, the rules now cite the related statute. To access the code relevant to the TELS Program in the Tennessee Code Annotated: Click Here, then click on each successive link to: Title 49 Education; Chapter 4 Financial Aid; Part 9 – State Lottery Proceeds; and then click on the applicable statute(s).

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Programs:

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program Recipients Must:

  • Have been a Tennessee resident for one year by September 1 of the year of application date. For students beginning spring and summer terms, residency determined by February 1 as of application date, or

  • Be dependent child of U.S. military, Tennessee National Guard on active duty, Department of Defense employees, or full-time religious workers who maintain Tennessee residency while stationed out-of-state are eligible, and

  • Apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Applications must be received by September 1st for fall semester, February 1st for spring and summer semesters. Early application is recommended.

  • Be dependent children of members of the Armed Forces or TN National Guard and must have Tennessee as the Home of Record at the time of entry into military service.

HOPE and HOPE Access Recipients Must:

  • Enroll in one of the Tennessee public colleges, universities, or private colleges. Click Here for listing.

  • Enroll within 16 months following high school graduation. Enrollment at an ineligible postsecondary institution during this time will make the student permanently ineligible.

Tennessee residents graduating from some out of state high schools may be eligible. For more information, please call 1-800-342-1663 or (615)741-1346.

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Renewal Criteria:

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship prior to fall 2009

  • The student must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 24 and 48 semester hours.
  • The student must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72, 96 semester hours, and any subsequent multiple of 24 attempted semester hours thereafter.
  • If the student does not have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72, 96 semester hours, and any subsequent multiple of 24 attempted semester hours thereafter, then the student must:
    • Have a minimum 2.75 – 2.99 cumulative GPA and have a semester grade point average of at least 3.0 at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72 and 96 semester hours. The student’s continued eligibility will be determined on a semester-by-semester basis and must maintain full-time enrollment.
  • If a student ceases to be academically eligible for the HOPE Scholarship, the student may regain the award one-time only.  The award may be re-established once the student meets any of the above criteria and maintains continuous enrollment and satisfactory academic progress at an eligible postsecondary institution without the HOPE Scholarship.
  • Must be continuously enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution in the fall and spring semesters and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship in fall 2009 and thereafter

  • The student must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 24 and 48 semester hours.
  • The student must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72 and 96 semester hours.
    • If the student’s program of study is greater than 120 semester hours in length (not to exceed 136 semester hours or the number of semester hours required to earn the degree), the student must have a minimum 3.0 at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 120 semester hours.
  • If the student does not have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72 and 96 semester hours, then the student must:
    • Have a minimum 2.75 – 2.99 cumulative GPA and have a semester GPA of at least 3.0 at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72 and 96 semester hours. The student’s continued eligibility will be determined on a semester-by-semester basis and must maintain full-time enrollment.
  • If a student ceases to be academically eligible for the HOPE Scholarship, the student may regain the award one-time only.  The award may be re-established once the student meets any of the above criteria and maintains continuous enrollment and satisfactory academic progress at an eligible postsecondary institution without the HOPE Scholarship.
  • Must be continuously enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution in the fall and spring semesters and maintain satisfactory academic progress

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Termination Criteria:

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship prior to fall 2009

All attempted hours after high school graduation, including remedial and developmental studies courses, are included in the total attempted semester hours.

A student may receive the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • The student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of the student’s initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution

Medical Disability - A student with a documented medical condition as certified by a licensed physician and can only enroll part-time may appeal to TSAC for an extension to the five (5) year limit as long as the student continues to meet all applicable academic and nonacademic requirements for the HOPE Scholarship and ten (10) years have not passed since the student’s initial enrollment at a postsecondary institution.

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship in fall 2009 and thereafter

All attempted hours after high school graduation, including remedial and developmental studies courses are included in the total attempted semester hours.

A student may receive the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution; or
  • Student has attempted 120 semester hours.

A student who is enrolled in a program of study that exceeds 120 semester hours in length may receive the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution; or
  • Student has attempted at any postsecondary institution the lesser of the number of semester hours required to earn the baccalaureate degree or a total of 136 semester hours.

Medical Disability - A student with a documented medical condition and certified by a licensed physician and can only enroll part-time may appeal to TSAC for an extension to the five (5) year limit as long as the student continues to meet all applicable academic and nonacademic requirements for the HOPE Scholarship and ten (10) years have not passed since the student’s initial enrollment at a postsecondary institution.

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship—Non-traditional Component
The non-traditional student must be a Tennessee resident, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution. In addition, the student must:

  • Be age 25 or older, as:
    • An entering freshman in an eligible postsecondary institution; or
    • Have not been enrolled for at least two (2) years after last attending any postsecondary institution and is now enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution
  • Must have parents’ or independent student’s and spouse’s adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less on IRS tax form
  • Be continuously enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution in the fall and spring semesters and maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 after 12 attempted semester hours or required GPA at subsequent benchmark. (Attempted hours and college grades prior to re-enrollment at an eligible postsecondary institution after at least a two year break in enrollment are not considered.)

To continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship, the non-traditional student shall meet the HOPE Scholarship Renewal Criteria mentioned above.

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students prior to fall 2009

The non-traditional student shall continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution OR the sum of five (5) years while receiving the HOPE Scholarship and the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students

A student with a documented medical condition and certified by a licensed physician and can only enroll part-time may appeal to TSAC for an extension to the five (5) year limit as long as the student continues to meet all applicable academic and nonacademic requirements for the HOPE Scholarship and ten (10) years have not passed since the student’s initial enrollment at a postsecondary institution.

For students who first received the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students in fall 2009 and thereafter

The non-traditional student shall continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution as a non-traditional student OR the sum of five (5) years while receiving the HOPE Scholarship and the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students; or
  • Student has attempted 120 semester hours while receiving the HOPE Scholarship and the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students

A student who is enrolled in a program of study that exceeds 120 semester hours in length may receive the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution OR the sum of five (5) years while receiving the HOPE Scholarship and the HOPE Scholarship for non-traditional students; or
  • Student has attempted at any postsecondary institution the lesser of the number of semester hours required to earn the baccalaureate degree or a total of 136 semester hours.

A student with a documented medical condition and certified by a licensed physician and can only enroll part-time may appeal to TSAC for an extension to the five (5) year limit as long as the student continues to meet all applicable academic and nonacademic requirements for the HOPE Scholarship and ten (10) years have not passed since the student’s initial enrollment at a postsecondary institution.

A non-traditional student shall not be eligible for the Aspire Award or the General Assembly Merit Scholarship.

Transfer Students
TELS recipients may transfer without a break in enrollment from one eligible postsecondary institution to another eligible postsecondary institution and remain eligible.  Students must transfer the TELS award through the Student Financial Aid Portal prior to the transfer dates indicated below by institution type.  A transfer request will not be accepted by a phone call from the student. 

A student who is otherwise eligible for TELS but instead enrolls in an out-of-state regionally accredited postsecondary institution without the award either immediately following high school graduation or up to 16 months immediately following high school graduation may, without a break in enrollment, later transfer to an eligible Tennessee postsecondary institution and receive the TELS.

At the point of enrollment at the out-of-state institution, the student must maintain continuous enrollment and meet retention requirements that all other HOPE Scholarship recipients must meet in order to remain eligible.  At the out-of-state institution, all requisite eligibility requirements must be met while attaining the appropriate cumulative GPA at the appropriate benchmark.

Transfer dates for two-year and four-year institutions are as follows:

  • Fall Semester                      September 1
  • Spring/SummerSemester        February 1

Transfer dates for students enrolled at TN Technology Centers:

  • Summer           July 1              
  • Fall                 November 1       
  • Winter             March 1        
  • Spring             May 1             

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Programs Eligible Institutions

Lottery Scholarship Data:

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program Annual Report: