Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS)

The Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Program provides scholarship and grant assistance to Tennesseans attending eligible Tennessee colleges. TELS program requirements change from time to time, so review application and eligibility requirements regularly to insure that you remain in full compliance. For more information, please see the TSAC Lottery Scholarship website. It’s especially important to understand how dropping classes or changing from full to part time status may impact your TELS eligibility. Always consult the MT One Stop before taking action that may impact your enrollment status.

 

Summer lottery scholarships

If you first received the lottery scholarship in the fall 2009 semester or later, you can receive a full lottery scholarship (or a prorated award for part-time enrollment) in the summer as long as you meet eligibility requirements, even if you already received a full-time award in the fall and spring.

You must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to receive a summer lottery scholarship. Your award will be prorated for part-time enrollment (6-11 hours). If you enroll in 1-5 hours, you will not be eligible for a lottery scholarship but your attempted hours and grades will be counted in determining future lottery eligibility.

Your award will be based on your enrollment status. If you are enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, you will be eligible to receive your full one-semester award. If you are enrolled in 6 to 8 hours, you will receive 50% of your normal one-semester amount. If you are enrolled in 9 to 11 hours, you will receive 75% of your normal one-semester amount.

You must enroll in all summer classes by June 17 to receive payment for scholarship. 

All summer lottery funds will be awarded after spring grades are posted in mid-May.   If you have registered for your summer classes and you are eligible, your scholarship will be awarded approximately one week after spring grades are posted.

If you have not received your summer lottery award by June 17th, please contact the MT One Stop immediately.  We have a limited timeframe in which we can process summer lottery payments. 

*Summer lottery awards will not be applied to any student’s account by the first fee-payment deadline for the summer semester, so you are responsible for paying your tuition and fees not covered by other financial aid.

Please Note: You may require additional steps before summer lottery may be applied to your account if you

  • Are a new transfer student for the summer term.
  • Are participating in a consortium or study abroad program for the spring and/or summer terms.
  • Are only able to register for one course at the beginning of the term due to required prerequisites.

If you fall into any of these categories, please contact the MT One Stop for special assistance.

If you drop or add classes after your lottery scholarship is applied, your scholarship amount may increase or decrease. You will be responsible for repaying any portion of the award that is reduced due to dropping courses before the July Fee Payment Deadline. 

**IMPORTANT** If you add classes after the July fee payment deadline, or fail to contact us about a missing or incorrect award by that date, we will be unable to assist you with scholarship funds. However, the attempted hours and grades will be counted in determining future lottery eligibility. 

If you change your enrollment status by dropping classes after the July Fee Payment Deadline (such as dropping from full-time to less than 12 hours or dropping from part-time to less than 6 hours), you will permanently lose eligibility for the lottery scholarship.

We strongly recommend that you speak with the MT One Stop before stopping attendance, adding or dropping any summer courses after the term starts in May, since such an action may result in having to repay some or all of the scholarship or losing future eligibility for the scholarship.

Home School Students 

Tennessee residents who graduate from an approved home school program may be eligible to receive a HOPE Scholarship if the following is applicable:

  • Be enrolled as a home school student in an approved home school program for a minimum of one (1) year prior to graduating from high school.
    1. For independent non-church related home schools in which a parent or guardian has given notice to the local school district, Click Here to download the TELS Home School Enrollment notice form. The home school notice form must be completed and signed by the student’s Tennessee local school district and faxed to the number indicated on the form before HOPE Scholarship eligibility is established.
  • Must have achieved a minimum 21 ACT Composite score or equivalent SAT composite score
  • Student’s home school high school GPA is not a determining eligibility factor for a Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship

Tennessee residents who graduate from an approved home school program AND are eligible to receive a HOPE Scholarship may also be eligible to receive a General Assembly Merit (GAMS) Scholarship if the following is applicable:

  • Must meet the initial HOPE Scholarship requirements as a graduate from an approved home school program
  • Must have achieved a minimum 29 ACT Composite score or equivalent SAT composite score for GAMS consideration; AND
    • Prior to high school graduation, enrolled in at least four (4) dual enrollment courses totaling at least twelve (12) semester hours at an eligible postsecondary institution and achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0; OR
    • Prior to high school graduation, participated in a Governor’s School program, and achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; OR
    • Prior to high school graduation, took two (2) Advanced Placement (AP) exams and made a score of at least three (3); OR
    • Prior to high school graduation, took one (1) College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test and made a score of at least 55

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) continuing eligibility

To continue to receive your lottery scholarship year after year, you must meet continuing eligibility requirements regarding GPA and enrollment status and federal Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

GPA requirements

  • a 2.75 cumulative TELS GPA after the first 24 and 48 TELS attempted credit hours.
  • a 3.0 TELS GPA after attempting 72, 96, and 120 credit hours.
  • At the 72 bracket and subsequent checkpoints, a student may provisionally qualify with a 2.75 cumulative TELS GPA and a 3.0 semester GPA. Please see below for the full provisional rules. Grades for all courses taken after high school graduation, including repeated courses, are included in the TELS GPA.  

Continuous enrollment

Students must enroll no later than 16 months after graduation from high school or home school. GED students must enroll within 16 months of the GED test date.

Students may enroll in as little as one credit hour and remain eligible for future semesters; however, all TELS recipients must enroll at least half time (at least 6 credit hours) every fall and spring semester to receive the scholarship for that semester. A TELS recipient is not required to attend during summer terms; however, all summer courses will be included in the TELS attempted hours and GPA.  

"Repeat" provision

You will be allowed to repeat a single class and request that the earlier grade be excluded from the TELS GPA. (A student may repeat multiple classes according to institutional policy, but only one grade may be excluded for TELS purposes.) When you reach the next bracket (at 48, 72, 96 TELS attempted hours) after the course is repeated, the excluded grade will not be considered in determining whether the student meets the GPA requirement.

A student must submit a Repeat Option Request Form to the MT One Stop to request that a repeated grade be excluded.

"Regain" provision

If you lost the Lottery Scholarship because of your grades, you may be able to get it back:

  • Must meet requirement of at least a 2.75 TELS GPA after 48 TELS attempted hours, a 3.0 TELS GPA after 72 and 96 TELS attempted hours, or a 2.75 cumulative TELS GPA and a 3.0 semester GPA after 72 and 96 TELS attempted hours (for provisional eligibility); please see below for the full provisional rules.
  • Must meet all other continuing eligibility criteria for every semester, including semesters for which the student did not receive a TELS award:
    • Must have been enrolled in at least one hour every fall and spring semester
    • Must have maintained enrollment status for every semester. (For example, a student who enrolled in full-time hours must have finished the semester with at least 12 credit hours.)
    • Must meet all other continuing eligibility criteria as stated in TSAC's TELS policy.
    • Must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current year. The FAFSA must be processed every year by September 1.
       

You may regain the TELS award beginning with the semester after attempting 48, 72, and 96 hours as defined by TSAC's TELS policy. Awards cannot be applied retroactively to prior semesters. You may submit a Regain Option Form to notify the Financial Aid Office of eligibility under the Regain Provision, or may contact the MT One Stop by email, phone, or in person to request a TELS status review.

Provisional eligibility

A student who, at the end of a semester, reaches the 72 or 96 hour benchmark and has a 2.75 - 2.99 TELS GPA and at least a 3.0 MTSU semester GPA for the current semester in which the benchmark is reached may be provisionally eligible for the TELS award. The student must earn a 3.0 MTSU semester GPA for each semester (including the benchmark semester) and must be enrolled full-time each fall and spring semester to maintain TELS eligibility under the provisional rules. Students may use the Repeat and Regain Options to be eligible under provisional rules.

Please Note: A student using his or her Regain Option must have been enrolled in at least one hour for every fall and spring semester, including semesters for which the student did not receive a TELS award.

Enrollment status

A TELS recipient must maintain his or her enrollment status each fall and spring semester. (Example: A student receiving a full-time scholarship must remain enrolled in at least 12 hours through the end of the semester. A student receiving a part-time scholarship must remain enrolled in at least 6 hours through the end of the term.) A student who withdraws or stops attending and drops below the required number of hours will lose the scholarship for all future semesters and may be required to repay all or a portion of the current semester's awards.

If extenuating circumstances prevent a student from meeting Continuous Enrollment requirements, the student may be eligible for an appeal. Please visit the Financial Aid Appeals webpage for more information about filing a TELS appeal. TELS Appeals can only be approved if a student is ineligible due to failure to meet enrollment requirements; MTSU is not able to approve appeals for students who fail to meet GPA requirements, regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Time limits

A TELS recipient who meets the above requirement may receive the Hope Scholarship until the first of the following events occurs:

  • Five years have passed from the initial date of enrollment (even if you have not received the lottery scholarship for some or all of the five years).
  • The student completes his or her first bachelor degree.
  • For students who first received the scholarship in fall 2009 or later: The student has attempted 120 hours, not including courses taken before high school graduation, test credits, or in some cases, courses taken during the summer 2011 term OR student has received the lottery scholarship for the equivalent of 8 full-time semesters, whichever occurs later.
    • The semester award amount may be prorated if the student has attempted more than 120 hours AND has received the scholarship for more than 7.0 full-time semesters but less than 8.0 full-time semesters.
      • For example, student has attempted 125 hours and has received the scholarship for 7.50 semesters. Student has .50 semester remaining meaning student will receive 50% of normal full-time award amount if enrolled full-time.  

Non-Traditional Lottery Scholarship

Students who are at least 25 when they begin college (or when they reenter college after a break of at least 2 years) may qualify for a lottery scholarship of $3,500 per year. A student must meet residency, financial need, and academic requirements to qualify. 

You may qualify for a Tennessee Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship if you are able to answer YES to the following questions:

  1. You have been a Tennessee resident for at least 1 year.
  2. You were age 25 or older when you started your current enrollment at MTSU.
  3. You have been continuously enrolled during every Fall and Spring semester since starting your current enrollment at MTSU.
  4. Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) including spouse’s if married, is equal or less than $36,000.
  5. You do NOT have a Bachelor’s degree.
  6. You have attempted at least 12 credit hours and have minimally maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.
  7. You have completed the FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the current academic year.

If you were able to answer YES to the above questions, you “may” be eligible for the Tennessee Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship. To request a review of your eligibility, please complete the Tennessee Lottery Non-Traditional Review form.  

TN Reconnect Grant to Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship Pathway

 Transfer students to MTSU who are not currently or were not age 25 or older at the point of enrolling at MTSU, but received the Tennessee Reconnect Grant while earning an Associate Degree at an eligible Tennessee community college, are offered a pathway to Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship eligibility.   

 If you meet these requirements, and all other Non-Traditional HOPE Scholarship eligibility requirements (see Non-traditional students section), please complete the Tennessee Lottery Non-Traditional Review form to request review of your eligibility.

Non-traditional Continuing Eligibility requirements

A student who initially qualifies for a lottery scholarship under non-traditional rules will continue to be eligible for the award as long as he or she meets continuing eligibility requirements and has an Adjusted Gross Income of $36,000 or less on the FAFSA. If a student meets all renewal criteria other than the GPA requirement, the student will not be eligible at that time but may be able to qualify in the future.

An Eligible non-traditional student shall continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship until the FIRST of the following TERMINATING events:

  • The student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed since the student enrolled in an eligible post-secondary institution as a non-traditional student; or
  • Has received the scholarship for the equivalent of 8 full-time semesters
  • For students who first received the scholarship as a traditional student: The student has reached the five-year limit between a combination of the traditional semesters and the non-traditional semesters; or
  • For students who first received the non-traditional scholarship in fall 2009 or later: The student has attempted 120 hours, not including courses taken before high school graduation, test credits, and in some cases, courses taken during the summer 2011 term OR student has received the lottery scholarship for the equivalent of 8 full-time semesters, whichever occurs later; or
      • The semester award amount may be prorated if the student has attempted more than 120 hours AND has received the scholarship for more than 7.0 full-time semesters but less than 8.0 full-time semesters.
        • For example, student has attempted 125 hours and has received the scholarship for 7.50 semesters. Student has .50 semester remaining meaning student will receive 50% of normal full-time award amount if enrolled full-time.
  • For students who first received the non-traditional scholarship in fall 2009 or later, but who originally received the scholarship as a traditional student: The student has attempted 120 hours, including courses taken both as a traditional student and a non-traditional student, but not including courses taken before high school graduation, test credits, or in some cases, courses taken during the summer 2011 term OR student has received the lottery scholarship for the equivalent of 8 full-time semesters, whichever occurs later. 
      • The semester award amount may be prorated if the student has attempted more than 120 hours AND has received the scholarship for more than 7.0 full-time semesters but less than 8.0 full-time semesters.
        • For example, student has attempted 125 hours and has received the scholarship for 7.50 semesters. Student has .50 semester remaining meaning student will receive 50% of normal full-time award amount if enrolled full-time.

Transferring your Lottery Scholarship to MTSU from another institution

  1. Go to Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation website.
  2. Log in to the TSAC Student Portal.
    1. If you have not previously logged in to the system, you will be required to create an account at the link provided.
  3. After signing in, locate the area displaying the current academic year.
  4. Select link stating "Click here to process an institution transfer request for Academic Year 20__-20__".
  5. Select drop down menu beside "Transfer to" and select institution you will be attending.
  6. Select "Process Transfer Request".

If you are transferring to MTSU in the middle of the academic year (for example, if you transfer in the spring after attending another school in the fall), please be aware that your lottery scholarship award may be delayed until after the beginning of the new term. The Scholarship Office is required by state policies to verify your initial and continuing eligibility prior to crediting the lottery scholarship to your account. We are unable to complete this process until all of the above steps are completed.

If you were initially eligible for a TELS award upon completion of high school requirements, and were enrolled at a regionally accredited out-of-state post-secondary institution within 16 months after graduation, and are now transferring to an eligible Tennessee post-secondary institution, you may be eligible to receive the TELS award.

If the above scenario applies to you, please contact the MT One Stop to inquire about your possible eligibility.

Checking your Lottery Scholarship status

It’s important to periodically check your lottery scholarship status and other lottery information on your PipelineMT account. Here’s how!

How do I check my Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) status and eligibility?

It’s important to periodically check your lottery scholarship status and other lottery information on your PipelineMT account. Here’s how!

  • Go to pipeline.mtsu.edu and log in
  • Click on Financial Aid in the left menu
  • Click Lottery Eligibility icon
  • Select the term you want to check (ex. fall 2017)

The information at the top of the page is your eligibility information. If you’ve lost your TELS award due to not meeting the GPA requirement at a benchmark, or you’ve lost your TELS eligibility by dropping too many classes, this section will tell you that.

 

Don't see your Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarship (TELS) on your account?

The most common cause of a missing TELS award is that you listed a school other than MTSU first on your FAFSA. If you did, the state is going to plan to send your lottery scholarship funds to that other school!

Inform the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) of which school you plan to attend. You may do so by visiting College Pays TN's Student Portal or by submitting a Change of Institution Form. This is called changing your 'school of record'. We recommend that you use the Student Portal to change your school of record, since it is processed by TSAC immediately; if you choose to send the paper form, please allow 2 weeks for processing.

If you have any questions you can contact TSAC by calling them at (800) 342-1663 or (615) 741-1346.

Please contact the MT One Stop after you update your school of record on the TSAC database for the applicable award year.

Your award may not be posted because your high school may not have reported your final cumulative GPA to TSAC, or your GPA may have been reported so recently that TSAC has not yet notified MTSU.

Check with your high school counselor to make sure that he or she intends to report your final cumulative GPA to TSAC, the state agency which administers the lottery scholarship. 

Please note that your high school guidance office cannot update your final GPA to TSAC until after you have graduated from high school.

Please contact the MT One Stop once you have verified that your High School Guidance Office has reported your GPA to TSAC.

You may not yet be able to see any financial aid posted to your MTSU student account, including the lottery scholarship or student loan offers. 

  • We may not have received your FAFSA yet; please file a FAFSA.
  • You may not have listed MTSU on your FAFSA; please add MTSU (003510) to your FAFSA.
  • Your FAFSA may have been selected for verification, and we may still be waiting for you to submit required verification documents. Please submit the required documents; you should have received an email via your MTSU email account with information about how to view the list of requirements.

You should receive an email regarding your financial aid package approximately 2-3 weeks after you file your FAFSA or submit your FAFSA to MTSU, if you have not been selected for verification.

You should receive an email regarding your financial aid package approximately 3-4 weeks after you submit all required verification paperwork.