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Lower GPA Proposed - To Retain Lottery Scholarship

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has recommended lowering the minimum grade point average in order for college students to keep their state lottery scholarships.Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed a committee, led by Shelby County Mayor and THEC member AC Wharton Jr. to review the lottery scholarship program after THEC issued a report showing three out of four students were losing the scholarship before they graduate because their grades did not meet the minimum requirement.At present in order to qualify for a scholarship, a student must have a high school GPA of 3.0, or score 21 on the ACT college entrance test, and to keep it, students must be enrolled full time, have a college GPA of at least 2.75 after their freshman year and a 3.0 GPA for the subsequent years.The Higher Education Commission approved the committees report last week and has recommended to the lawmakers to drop the minimum GPA from 3 to 2.75 for the subsequent years of college.The commission proposes to pay for these recommendations with some of the $33 million in lottery surplus money projected for this year. Dropping the minimum GPA would require an estimated $7 million and would result in an additional 1,600 students retaining their scholarships.Another plan, is to establish a statewide early commitment program that would provide tuition benefit to low-income students who graduate from high school with a college preparatory curriculum, this would cost $4 million and would benefit students regardless of their high school GPA.The commission has also recommended increasing the amount of the Hope Scholarships for students who take college prep courses in high school. The last increment was made last fall. Currently students attending a four-year approved school can receive a scholarship of $3800 per year and students attending a two-year approved school can receive $1900 per year.

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