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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Tennessee Lottery (Hope) Scholarship

Entering freshman apply for the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at  Applications must be received by September 1 for fall semester, February 1 for spring and summer semesters.  Apply early.  Applicants must:

  • Be Tennessee residents
  • Graduate from a Tennessee eligible high school  or bordering out-of-state counties—other exceptions may apply to Tennessee residents
  • Enroll in one of the Tennessee eligible public colleges, universities, or private colleges
  • Have a minimum 21 ACT or 1060 SAT (exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests) or overall minimum 3.0 GPA

Home school graduates must have a minimum 21 ACT or 1060 SAT exclusive of the essay and optional subject area battery tests.

GED recipients must have a minimum 21 ACT or 1060 SAT exclusive of essay and optional subject area battery tests and qualifying GED score. 

Applicants must enroll within 16 months following high school graduation.

ACT/SAT exams must be taken on a national or state test date and prior to the first day of college enrollment after graduation.

If you have received a Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS), we hope that you will make every effort to maintain your eligibility and can continue to receive the scholarship while completing your degree at ETSU.

Eligibility Requirements:  The requirements below apply to any semester students are receiving the scholarship, including summer.  Click on to review the most current requirements and criteria.

Attempted Hours and Grades

The student’s academic record will be reviewed at the end of each semester.  Students must maintain the following eligibility standards to continue to receive TELS:

  • 24 attempted hours        2.75
  • 48 attempted hours        2.75
  • 72 attempted hours        3.00
  • 96 attempted hours        3.00
  • 120 attempted hours      3.00

If a student does not have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester on which the student attempted 72, 96 or 120 semester hours, then the student can be evaluated for lottery on a provisional semester by semester basis.  They must:

  • Have a minimum 2.75 – 2.99 cumulative GPA and a semester GPA of at 3.0 at the end of the semester in which the student attempted 72, 96 or 120 semester hours and
  • Maintain full-time enrollment and a 3.0 semester GPA.

 The student must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the ETSU Office of Financial Aid.  The SAP policy can be found on the Office of Financial Aid at 

Regaining Your Lottery Scholarship

If students cease to be academically eligible for the TELS they may regain the award one-time only if they maintain continuous enrollment and improve grades to meet eligibility requirements.

Example:  If students lose TELS at the 24-hour benchmark, they must maintain continuous enrollment and have the 2.75 TELS GPA to be evaluated for the award at the 48-hour benchmark. 

Students who lose the General Assembly Merit Scholarship due to grades will only be eligible for the Hope Scholarship (or the Aspire, if they qualify) when they regain their eligibility.  The student will not be entitled to the additional General Assembly Merit Scholarship funds.

Attempted hours do not include:

  • College level classes completed before high school graduation or any credit hours earned by examination (AP, CLEP, challenge exams) or Dual Enrollment Grant
  • Audited classes

Attempted hours do include:

  • All classes for which you have registered, including classes in which you have received a "W" or an "I"
  • All classes dropped after the end of the second week of classes (census date)
  • All previous classes taken, even those that are considered non-transferable (if you transferred from another school)
  • Any class for which you have received a grade, even if you repeat the class.  

A student can petition to have ONE  repeated grade replace a previous grade in your TELS GPA.  (Both classes will count in your total number of attempted hours.)  This is a ONE TIME option.                                             

Even if the repeated grade raises your GPA to the required level, you will only regain your TELS award at the next checkpoint.  The forms are available in the Records Office, Room 101, Burgin Dossett Hall.


The "TELS GPA" may be different than the "ETSU GPA".  The "TELS GPA" is calculated and reviewed after every 24 attempted hours as described above.  This figure determines whether you have met the GPA requirement to remain eligible to receive the TELS award.  

The "ETSU GPA" reflects all hours earned at ETSU and recalculates when you repeat a course, but it is not the determining GPA for TELS eligibility.

Tracking your "TELS GPA" through GoldLink.

  • Login to GoldLink
  • Choose the "My Financial Aid Info" tab   
  • Find the "Financial Aid Toolbox" channel and Click the "Lottery Scholarship Eligibility Link"  
  • Select the current term 
  • View the Lottery Scholarship Information

Dropping classes

Students receiving TELS who are full-time (12 hours or more) as of the census date and change to part-time status will lose eligibility for a TELS award for all subsequent semesters.  Part-time students receiving TELS who drop below 6 hours will lose eligibility for a TELS award for all subsequent semesters.

A student with a documented medical or personal grounds such as illness, the death or illness of immediate family member, or extreme financial hardship can submit an appeal to have TELS reinstated.  The TELS Institutional Review Panel must approve the change.

Full-time vs. Part-time status

Award amounts are determined by the number of hours for which you are registered as of census date.  (See ETSU's Academic Calendar).  Eligible students who are registered for 12 hours or more will receive a full award.  Part-time students will receive a prorated award:

  • Eligible students enrolled in 9-11 hours receive 3/4 of a TELS award

Eligible students enrolled in 6-8 hours receive half of a TELS award
Students enrolled in less than six hours are ineligible for TELS

Continuous Enrollment Required

Students must maintain continuous enrollment in at least one class each semester to maintain their TELS eligibility.  Students must be enrolled for the fall and spring semesters each academic year.  Enrollment during the summer semester is not required.

A student must petition ETSU's Institutional Review Panel for a Leave of Absence IN ADVANCE if a student needs to take a break for verified and documented personal or medical reasons such as illness or medical treatment for themselves or an immediate family member; extreme financial hardship of immediate family; or to fulfill a religious commitment expected of all students of their faith.

Students who choose to participate in a short course or other personal or professional development program for which ETSU does not grant academic credit MUST request a leave of absence BEFORE they withdraw from their current enrollment.  Failure to request the leave of absence BEFORE participating in such programs necessitating not being enrolled at ETSU will result in loss of the scholarship.  Students mobilized for active duty military service can receive a personal Leave of Absence and TELS eligibility will not be impacted.

Grade changes

A student must notify the Office of Financial Aid of a grade change if he/she has lost the TELS award and later receives a grade change which reinstates eligibility.  This includes changing an Incomplete grade ("I") to a passing grade.   

Transient (visiting) students

Students may be eligible for a TELS award if they visit another TELS eligible school for a semester.  Contact the Office of Financial Aid at your home institution for the appropriate form (Consortium Agreement).  An official transcript of these classes must be sent to the Admissions Office within two weeks of completion.  The hours and grades for these classes will be calculated as part of your TELS GPA.

Limits on Awards

Students can receive a TELS award until the first of the following occurs:

  • They earn a baccalaureate degree
  • Five years have passed since the student initially enrolled at any postsecondary institution
  • The student has attempted 120 lottery scholarship hours or has received a TELS award for eight (8) full-time equivalent semesters at any postsecondary institution, whichever occurs later.

Summer Awards

TELS awards are available for the summer term as long as students are academically eligible.  Students are subject to all TELS rules during any term they receive a TELS award.

Students must reapply every year!

Complete the renewal FAFSA every year. The application deadline is September 1 for fall term and February 1 for spring and summer terms. Apply on-line at

Related Links

Eligible Institutions

TELS Appeals and Exceptions

TELS Consortium Agreement

Transfer Students

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