Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program

student sitting outside the libraryThe Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program is intended to provide scholarship funds to offset costs associated with pursuing postseason education. The Lottery Scholarship program includes the HOPE Scholarship, Aspire Award, General Assembly Merit Scholarship (GAMS), Access Grant and the Non-Traditional Hope Scholarship.  In order to be considered for lottery scholarship funds, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the September 1 deadline date for Fall, or February 1 deadline date for Spring and Summer.

General eligibility requirements for each program include:

HOPE Scholarship

HOPE Scholarship eligibility requirements include: 

  • A minimum 21 ACT  (Composite/concordant equivalent on the SAT) on a national or state test date or a final cumulative 3.0 GPA* for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2, or 3 private high schools.
  • GED/HiSet students must have a minimum ACT/SAT test score stated above and qualifying score on the GED of 170 and HiSet of 15.
  • TN homeschool and on-category 1, 2, or 3 private high school graduates must have ACT/SAT test scores stated above and must have been enrolled in a homeschool program for 1 year immediately preceding graduation and be registered with a TN local school district.
  • Enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution within 16 months following graduation from a Tennessee high school or completion of a TN homeschool or GED program.

HOPE Scholarship Renewal Criteria:

The award amount remains the same in the sophomore year.  Award amount increases for the junior and senior year of college enrollment. 

Eligibility shall be reviewed at the end of the semester in which the student has attempted a total of 24, 48, 72, 96 or any other subsequent multiple of 24 semester hours.   Additionally, at 73 attempted hours and beyond, students may be reviewed at the end of each semester if they maintain the award on a provisional basis.  Contact TSAC for details.

  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 after 24 and 48 attempted collegiate hours.  After attempting 72 hours and beyond a student may retain the award by either:

Achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or above, or

Achieving a cumulative GPA of 2.75 – 2.99 AND a semester GPA of at least 3.0 in the preceding term for which the student will receive the award as a full-time enrolled student (provisional basis)

  • Must maintain satisfactory academic progress AND  continuous enrollment
  • Scholarship is  terminated after attainment of baccalaureate degree OR student has attempted 120 semester hours OR 8 full-time equivalent semesters;  whichever occurs last OR 5 years have passed from initial enrollment at  any postsecondary institution – whichever occurs first – exceptions may be available to students  with documented medical disabilities
  • Students enrolled in a program of study greater than 120 hours may receive the award for up to 136 attempted semester hours OR the number of hours required to earn a degree OR 8 full-time equivalent semesters, whichever occurs later
  • To receive funding, students must be enrolled in a least 6 hours; 12 hours, if eligible on  a provisional basis
  • NEVER drop a course without talking to the financial aid office about how it may impact your lottery scholarship eligibility.

Aspire Award

Applicants must meet the HOPE scholarship requirements and the parents' or independent student's (and spouse's) adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less on IRS tax form for the appropriate year.  Students may receive Aspire or GAMS, but not both.

General Assembly Merit Scholarship

Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2, or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative 3.75 GPA* and 29 ACT (Composite/concordant equivalent on the SAT) on a national test date or state test date.

Homeschool and non-category 1, 2, or 3 private high school graduates must have an ACT/SAT test score as stated above and enroll in one of the programs outlined on the TSAC website at: http://www.tn.gov/collegepays.

Access Grant

Access Grant scholarship eligibility requirements include: 

  • Entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1,2, or 3 private high schools must have at least a final cumulative 2.75 – 2.99 GPA* and 18,19, or 20 ACT (Composite/concordant equivalent on the SAT) on a national or state test date AND
  • Parents’ or independent student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on tax form
  • Award is non-renewable after 24 attempted hours however, students may become HOPE eligible after 24 hours. 

*High school GPA is based on a 4.0 scale according to the Uniform Grading Policy adopted by the TN State Board of Education.

Helping Heroes Grant

This grant is funded by the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program.  It is awarded on a first-come-first served basis.  The Helping Heroes Grant is designed to serve former members of the armed forces, reserve or National Guard who were called into active duty.  For more information, go to www.tn.gov/collegepays.

HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant

The Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program provides resources specifically to meet the education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care. This award along with all other available financial aid sources shall be applied towards the student cost of attendance before utilizing awards offered through the HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant. Students must be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship or HOPE Access Grant and have been in the custody of the Department of Children Services for at least 1 year after their 14th birthday in order to be considered for this grant. TSAC will work with the Department of Children's Services to identify recipients.