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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