Student Financial Planning
Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS)
Tennessee HOPE Scholarship is a $4000 per year scholarship awarded to qualifying Tennessee residents.
An additional amount of up to $2000 may be available for the summer semester for students who first received the HOPE Scholarship in Fall 2009 or thereafter.
If a student qualifies for the HOPE Scholarship, he/she also might qualify for one of two additional awards: General Assembly Merit Scholarship of $1000 or ASPIRE Award of $1500.
If a student does not qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, there is the possibility of the Tennessee HOPE Access Grant of $2750, which comes with its own academic and income requirements. HOPE Access is for entering freshmen only and cannot be renewed.
Students that do not qualify for the awards listed above, may be eligible for the Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship. To qualify, a student must be a Tennessee resident, age 25 or older, have an adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less, be continuously enrolled and meet GPA requirements. To apply, complete the Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship Request.
Please access www.tn.gov/collegepays for additional information. To be considered for TELS Awards, the student must file the FAFSA by September 1 each year.
Union University Policies and Procedures for TN Educational Lottery Scholarship (TELS) Awards
The following Policies and Procedures have been developed to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 4, amended, and Union University’s current financial aid practices. The effective date is fall semester, 2005.
Awarding and disbursing TELS funds
- TELS awards will not be included in a student’s award package until the student’s name appears on the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) official TELS Roster for Union University and/or is certified as eligible.
- TELS awards may be disbursed in advance of the school receiving TELS Funding. If such funding is not subsequently received by Union University due to any reason, the student’s TELS Award may be rescinded.
- Credit balances resulting from a TELS award will not be refunded to the student until after TELS funds have been received from TSAC.
- TELS awards will be prorated for enrolling at less than full-time enrollment status. Provisional students must be full-time to receive the award.
- It is the student’s responsibility to know the state requirements to continue to receive a TELS award. Some, but not all, requirements are:
- The student must file the FAFSA each year and have an official EFC prior to September 1st.
- The student must achieve a Cumulative GPA of 2.75 in the semesters in which he/she has attempted a total of 24 and 48 credit hours. These semesters shall be referred to as benchmark semesters.
- For the semesters in which the student has a total of 72, 96, and 128 TELS hours attempted, he/she must achieve one of the following:
- Achieve a TELS Cumulative GPA of 3.0, OR
- Achieve a TELS Cumulative GPA of 2.75-2.99 AND a semester GPA of 3.0 or above.
- For the purpose of establishing benchmark semesters only, January term will be counted as part of Spring semester.
- Cumulative GPA and attempted hours for TELS eligibility differ from Cumulative GPA and attempted hours for academic purposes. The following chart shows how credit hours attempted affect TELS attempted hours and the calculation of TELS GPA:
|Credit hours Attempted||Counted in TELS Attempted Hours||Used to Calculate TELS GPA|
|Credits taken prior to HS Graduation
(AP, Rising HS Senior, Dual Enrollment, etc.)
|Withdrawn before census date *||No||No|
|Withdrawn after census date *||Yes||No|
|Change from Credit to Audit after census||Yes||No|
|Repeated Courses Original
For TELS purposes, the census date for a semester or term shall be the last day to register for that semester/term.
Loss of eligibility/appeal process
- It is the student’s responsibility to know the factors which may cause him or her to lose a TELS award. Some, but not all, factors are:
- The student fails to achieve the required cumulative GPA for a benchmark semester.
- Note: If for some reason a student who loses TELS due to GPA subsequently has a grade changed that results in a higher cumulative GPA, he/she may request reinstatement by submitting the TELS Reinstatement Request – Grade Change to the Financial Aid Office within 30 days of the grade change. On the other hand, if a student who at first qualifies for TELS for a semester, then a grade change results in a GPA lower than the required GPA, that student loses the TELS for that semester and all subsequent semesters. There is no appeal for this circumstance.
- The student does not maintain continuous enrollment, defined as enrollment in both fall and spring semesters of an academic year. Exceptions may be made if the student is granted a Leave of Absence for certain documented medical or personal reasons. A student must submit the TELS Leave of Absence Request to the Financial Aid Office to obtain approval.
- The student drops from full-time to part-time within a semester without prior approval. A student should submit a TELS Request for Change of Enrollment Status to the Financial Aid Office for approval before dropping to part-time. If a student fails to obtain prior approval, or if request for prior approval is denied and the student drops to part-time anyway, the TELS award for that semester will be prorated and the student will not be eligible for TELS in any subsequent semester.
- The student has earned his/her baccalaureate degree, or five calendar years have passed from the student’s initial start in the TELS program.
- A student who has been denied TELS because of loss of eligibility may appeal to Union’s TELS Institutional Review Panel (IRP) if he/she has certain documented medical or personal reasons. The IRP will either approve the appeal, or request a hearing. If the appeal is ultimately denied by Union ’s IRP, the student may further appeal the case to the IRP of TSAC. Appeal for reinstatement of eligibility is made by submitting the TELS Eligibility Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office. Note: The Attorney General of TN has ruled that failure to achieve required GPA is not appealable.
- If a student loses a TELS Award due to failure to achieve required GPA, he may regain the award by improving his TELS GPA during a subsequent benchmark semester. This regain provision may be used only once.
- If a student loses a TELS Award for any other reason, he/she is no longer eligible to receive it in any future semester.
- Union University will in no case replace TELS funds for which the student has failed to meet continued eligibility requirements with institutionally controlled funds.
A Union student enrolled in another eligible institution at the same time he is enrolled at Union will be eligible to receive one award for the total number of enrolled hours.
School policy requires that a student apply in the Academic Center for permission for concurrent enrollment. A student wishing to receive TELS funding for concurrent enrollment must provide the Office of Student Financial Planning a copy of the Academic Center’s permission, as well as enrollment information from the host institution. These documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office no later than 14 days after the semester begins.
Further information regarding TELS Awards can be found at www.tn.gov/collegepays
TELS Institutional Review Panel (IRP)
The purpose of the IRP is to review and/or hear appeals from institutional decisions denying or revoking an applicant’s TELS award. Such decisions shall be made initially by Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) or by the Financial Aid Officer responsible for certifying eligibility for TELS, and shall be communicated to the student.
At Union University the IRP shall consist of the Registrar, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and the Director of Student Financial Planning or their appointed alternates.
Decisions that can be appealed
- Ineligible due to failure to meet timely enrollment requirement
- Ineligible due to failure to request change to part-time enrollment
- Ineligible due to denial of request to change to part –time enrollment status
- Ineligible due to denial of request for leave of absence
- Ineligible due to denial to reinstate TELS award due to grade change
- Ineligible due to failure to maintain continuous enrollment
Decisions that cannot be appealed
- Incorrect ACT, HS GPA, or grades from another postsecondary institution
- Incorrect information provided to Union from any other entity
- Request for exceptions to HS GPA or curriculum track requirements
Acceptable reasons for appeal
- Illness of student
- Illness or death of an immediate family member
- Extreme financial hardship of student or student’s immediate family
- Other extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control where fulfilling the eligibility requirement would create a substantial hardship.
- To fulfill a religious commitment expected of all students of that faith
- Parent or sibling called into active military service
- Grade change due to error
- Grade change do to grade assignment for a previous incomplete
- Grade change for other reasons
Procedures for appealing
- A student shall submit a completed TELS Eligibility Appeal Form with appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- The Office of Student Financial Planning shall stamp a date of receipt on the appeal and within 2 days; send copies to IRP members for consideration.
- IRP members shall review the appeal, record their individual decisions and return forms to the Office of Student Financial Planning within 7 days (but no later than 14 days) of the stamped receipt date.
- IRP decision of an appeal shall be determined by the majority of members rendering one of the following:
- Appeal Approved – Final Decision
- Hearing Required – Interim Decision
- The IRP shall inform the student by letter of the results of his appeal, and a copy placed in the student’s financial aid file.
- If an interim decision of Hearing Required is rendered, a hearing date no later than 14 days from the stamped receipt date of the appeal will be scheduled with the student and panel members. All panel members must be present at the hearing. Within 7 days of the hearing, a final decision will then be required from the IRP.
- IRP decision resulting from the hearing shall be determined by the majority of members rendering one of the following:
- Appeal Approved – Final Decision
- Appeal Denied – Final Decision
- The IRP decision resulting from a hearing shall be put into writing, including a summary of the pertinent facts and issues and the panel’s decision, and a copy provided to the student as soon as is practicable. A copy will also be retained in the student’s financial aid file.
- If an appeal receives a final decision of Appeal Denied, the student shall be informed of his right to appeal to the TELS Review Panel of TSAC.
The following forms are available from this website for student use:
- TELS Fact Sheet – This provides an important summary of TELS facts every student should know.
- TELS Eligibility Appeal Form – If you have lost your TELS and think you have a reason for appealing.
- TELS Request to Change to Part-Time – If you want to change from full-time to part-time within a semester.
- TELS Request for Leave of Absence – If you have a valid reason for leaving school for a period of time.
- TELS Request for Reinstatement of Award – If you have had a grade changed which results in your TELS Cumulative GPA meeting the required level.
- TELS Request for One-Time Course Repeat – If you have repeated a class and would like to utilize only the higher of the two grades in your TELS GPA calculation.
- TELS Consortium Agreement – If you are planning to take at least 6 credit hours this summer (this can be at two different schools). In addition to this form, submit the Application for Transfer of Credit to Union University to the Union University Registrar’s Office. An approved copy of this form must be submitted with your consortium agreement.
HOPE (Lottery) Scholarship
The HOPE (Lottery) Scholarship is only available to Tennessee residents.
Entering Freshmen Fall 2015 and After
Up to $1,750 per full-time enrollment semester as a freshman and sophomore; then up to $2,250 per full-time enrollment semester as a junior and senior
- Award amounts are available for summer enrollment, beginning the summer after your freshman year.
- Class status is determined by the postsecondary institution.
If You First Received HOPE in Fall 2009–Summer 2015
Up to $2,000 per full-time enrollment semester; including summer
Please note: Eligible part-time students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours, and their HOPE award amount is prorated.
General Assembly Merit Scholarship
Up to $1,500 annual supplement ($500 per full-time semester) to the HOPE Scholarship
Up to $2,250 annual supplement ($750 per full-time semester) to the HOPE Scholarship
Using the HOPE
The HOPE Scholarship may be used to help pay for summer school, provided that eligible students register for a minimum of 6 hours. Find out more by visiting our Summer Aid page.
Transfers to UT
Transfer students must have an official academic transcript sent to UT admissions from all prior institutions, including the most recent semester you attended. Generally this delays payment of Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) awards during the first semester at UT, especially for mid-year transfer students.
High School Students
The Dual Enrollment Grant is awarded to students attending an eligible high school and enrolled in college courses for credit at eligible institutions.
Applying for the HOPE
To be eligible, you must first complete the FAFSA.
You must also list UT as your first choice for the HOPE Scholarship on the Tennessee Student Assistance Corp. (TSAC) Portal to receive payment.
Finally, you must meet these requirements:
- Entering freshmen must have a minimum of a 21 ACT (980 old SAT or 1060 new SAT), exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests OR
- Overall weighted minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA)—This means a grade point average on a 4.0 scale calculated with additional internal quality points awarded for advanced placement, honors, or other similar courses according to the Uniform Grading Policy adopted by the State Board of Education.
- Home School graduates—Minimum 21 ACT (980 old SAT or 1060 new SAT), exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests
- GED Applicants—Minimum 525 and 21 ACT (980 old SAT or 1060 new SAT), exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests
- If a student ceases to be eligible for HOPE, except for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship (GAMS) and the Tennessee HOPE Access Grant, the student may regain HOPE one time only.
- ACT/SAT exams must be taken prior to the first day of college enrollment.
The HOPE (Lottery) Scholarship is only available to Tennessee residents.
Retaining the HOPE
You must maintain satisfactory academic progress and achieve a cumulative HOPE GPA of 2.75 after attempting 24 and 48 HOPE attempt hour benchmarks. After reaching the 72-hour benchmark and beyond, you may retain the award in one of two ways:
- Achieve a cumulative HOPE GPA of at least 3.0 OR
- If your cumulative HOPE GPA is between 2.75–2.99 and your semester GPA is 3.0 or above in the prior semester, then you may retain the award on a semester-to-semester provisional basis. Under these guidelines, you must maintain full-time enrollment. Your eligibility is checked after each semester except for the summer. However, if you meet these guidelines and enroll full time for the summer, your eligibility will be checked at the end of summer term.
What Terminates the HOPE Scholarship?
Your HOPE Scholarship is only available until the first of the following events:
Regaining the HOPE Scholarship
If you fail to meet the academic renewal requirements and lose the HOPE Scholarship, you can regain the award one time only by meeting the renewal criteria listed below. You cannot appeal to regain your HOPE Scholarship if your GPA falls below the renewal requirements. You must complete a HOPE and Institutional Scholarship Appeal form.
To regain the HOPE Scholarship, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress and achieve a cumulative HOPE GPA of 2.75 after attempting 48 semester hours. After reaching the 72-hour benchmark and beyond, you may regain the award in one of two ways:
- Achieve a cumulative HOPE GPA of at least 3.0 OR
- If your cumulative HOPE GPA is between 2.75-2.99 and your semester GPA is 3.0 or above in the prior semester then you may regain the award on a semester-to-semester provisional basis. Under these guidelines, you must maintain full-time enrollment. Your eligibility is checked after each semester except for the summer. However, if you meet these guidelines and enroll full time for the summer, your eligibility will be checked at the end of summer term.
If you lose the award due to a nonacademic reason—such as not maintaining continuous enrollment or changing your enrollment status from full time to part time, or part time to less than part time—you are not eligible to regain the award unless an appeal is approved by the post-secondary institution or TSAC. To appeal for continued eligibility you must complete the HOPE and Institutional Scholarship Appeal form.
Get the forms you need to complete for your scholarship.
Keep Your Scholarship
Find out about the requirements you need to meet to keep receiving your scholarship.
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