Governor Bredesen wants to make the HOPE Scholarship easier to retain

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Governor Bredesen wants to lower the HOPE Scholarship grade point average for students to retain it.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has the details and reaction from UT.

The HOPE Scholarship is $4,000 a year per student, funded by the Tennessee Lottery.

Under Governor Bredesen's proposal, incoming freshman would still be required to have a 3.0 GPA, but in order to retain the scholarship, students would only need a 2.75.

That could help a lot of ut students, but some fear it sends the wrong message.

"It's the reason why I came here pretty much," UT HOPE Scholarship students like Abby Irwin say the maintaining the current 3.0 GPA minimum is definitely a lot to handle.

Irwin says, "It was a worry for us when I got my grades. It's pretty tough." 14:27 It definitely gave me a little wake-up call like, hey, maybe you should study a little bit more."

Other HOPE students say keeping the 3.0 isn't all that bad.

Junior John Holder says, "Not too hard. You have to study, I don't know, maybe eight to ten hours a week I'd say."

Under Governor Phil Bredesen's proposal, students would only need a 2.75 to keep their scholarship.

Irwin says, "I think it's a really good idea and it would help people out with the struggle of college life."

UT's Director of Student Activities Anton Reece says, "We set minimum standards, we set high standards, and clearly this is within that range."

Reece says lowering the GPA would not hurt the university's strong reputation, "At the end of the day, if more students can still have these resources in order to fulfill their educational goals and dreams, I'm all for it."

But other professors fear the change would only encourage students to study less, knowing their GPA doesn't need to be as high.

UT Professor Lydia Pulsipher says, "I would say that anything that let our students to believe they didn't need to work as hard as they are now would be a big mistake. Overall, I think the University of Tennessee needs upgrading of student performance, not downgrading."

State Senator Tim Burchett tells WVLT while he's not completely against the governor's proposal, he feels there's room for compromise.


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  • by chris on Jan 30, 2008 at 05:58 AM
    It's ridiculous. Dumming down isn't going to help the students. If they don't have what it takes to get into college keep them in high school until they master the skills needed. College is serious and takes lots of commitment to good study habits and the desire to really get a good college degree.
  • by Whitney on Jan 29, 2008 at 11:27 PM
    I am currently a student at U.T. and have maintained a higher than 3.0 GPA. However, I think lowering the GPA to 2.75 is a good idea. Not all course loads make it possible to earn a "B" average in all classes. You have to remember U.T. is a very large campus with no one on one attention. Thus making students learn and teach themselves the material. Some students coming out of high school are not able to do that the first year or even the second. By this time, they have already lost their scholarship. Remember the lottery scholarship is to help all college students, but especially those who would not otherwise be able to attend. Why not make it easier for the students to stay in college and keep their hope scholarship? After all, this will benefit our society in the long run. Thanks, Whitney
  • by Robert Location: Knoxville on Jan 29, 2008 at 07:21 PM
    I agree that the Hope retention requirement should be lowered to 2.75. The first semester is typically the hardest for a new college student,who is acclimating to a new lifestyle, as well as more rigid scholastic requirements than they ever experienced in high school. It's easy to stumble during the first semester, and very hard to recover. Students should be afforded the opportunity to acclimate. Losing the Hope almost as soon as it's gotten not only penalizes the new college student, but also the parents who struggle to fund the education, especially those of us who have more than one student in college at the same time!
  • by D.B Location: Blount County on Jan 29, 2008 at 06:26 PM
    Hey Governor Bredesen! Why not refer to the scholarship as:" Gee, I sure HOPE for a free ride to Club Med". For Pete's sake! Stop rewarding the mediocre and reward the successful students with higher scholarship funding. Hey people! It's real life. You are not in the public school system anymore- failure can happen! Study now while it's at a discounted rate. I really like the Governor. This idea to lower the standards is weak. Stop giving our money away. Where is the sense of pride in academic accomplishments? It's time to remember the successful citizens of Tennessee and reward them for achieving independence from government resources.
  • by Eric Location: sevierville on Jan 29, 2008 at 06:25 PM
    I feel that they should leave the 3.0 GPA as a parent paying for schooling. lowering the Gpa would just bring the standards down and the reason for this gift that we voted in was to help with add to go to collage and strive to do well not breeze through and leave more time to party or other non school activits. We send out kids to school to learn and as a reward for good grades we give the lottery money. The biggest problem i amd now hereing is that they are trying to alow parents income to predicted who gets hope moneys and this is also wrong. The lottery was voted in so that monies would be eligable to all students regardless of parents income or assets. I feel that any changes to the orignal vote would be a violation to the way it was voted in. monies for ALL students that meet the requirments as was presented on voting day.
  • by diana Location: knoxville on Jan 29, 2008 at 05:56 PM
    This is the Best Thing Governor Bredesen has ever done in my opinion, sometimes things happen and students will mess up and it wrong that they might have to quit school because of it being to high!

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