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Student Financial Planning > Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS)

Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS)

TN Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS) Overview

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship is a $4000 per year scholarship awarded to qualifying TN 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 If such funding is not subsequently received by Union University due to any reason, the student’s TELS Award may be rescinded.
  3. Credit balances resulting from a TELS award will not be refunded to the student until after TELS funds have been received from TSAC.
  4. TELS awards will be prorated for enrolling at less than full-time enrollment status. Provisional students must be full-time to receive the award.

Continued eligibility

  1. 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 120 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.
  2. For the purpose of establishing benchmark semesters only, January term will be counted as part of Spring semester.
  3. 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.)
No No
Testing No No
Audit No No
Continuing Education No No
Withdrawn before census date * No No
Withdrawn after census date * Yes No
Pass/Fail Yes No
Incomplete Yes No
Change from Credit to Audit after census Yes No
Repeated Courses Original
All Others Yes Yes

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. If a student loses a TELS Award for any other reason, he/she is no longer eligible to receive it in any future semester.
  5. Union University will in no case replace TELS funds for which the student has failed to meet continued eligibility requirements with institutionally controlled funds.

Concurrent Enrollment

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.

Important Links

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.

IRP Members

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

Decisions that cannot be appealed

Acceptable reasons for appeal

Procedures for appealing

TELS Forms

The following forms are available from this website for student use:

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