State leaders debate GPA requirement for lottery scholarship - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

State leaders debate GPA requirement for lottery scholarship

Tennessee Lottery scholarships help more students pay for college, but some state leaders feel the money isn't keeping them there.

Right now, a full time college student must have a GPA of at least 2.75 after their freshman year and an overall GPA of 3.0 the other three years to keep the lottery scholarship. 

Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh said he GPA increases cause college students to drop out.

"When we go to the three point to maintain a three point, we're losing over seventy percent of those that have been awarded a lottery scholarship," Naifeh said.

Tennessee State Democrats want to keep the GPA at 2.75 all four years.

"We need to strike an appropriate balance between the scholarship that is required and the performance that we really need to see to graduate top notch students but to help them keep their scholarships so they can graduate," Senator Mark Norris said.

A Republican plan would lower a student's GPA through their junior year, but would force them to attain a 3.0 their senior year. 

High school seniors like Catherine Phelps said the focus should be to get students into college.
"I think its important that as many people as possible have access to this money and be able to get their higher education," Phelps said.

Governor  Bredesen also favors lowering the GPA requirement but says exactly how that is done is up to the legislature.

The discussion will continue in the House and Senate education committees next week.

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.

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