Majority of HOPE scholarship students fails to maintain GPA - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Majority of HOPE scholarship students fails to maintain GPA

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Without the Tennessee Lottery's Scholarship program, it might be a lot quieter on the University of Memphis campus. Currently, more than $22 million are spent on tuition on campus. Without the Tennessee Lottery's Scholarship program, it might be a lot quieter on the University of Memphis campus. Currently, more than $22 million are spent on tuition on campus.
Even after almost 10 years of lottery scholarships the freshman scholarship retention rate remains flat. Even after almost 10 years of lottery scholarships the freshman scholarship retention rate remains flat.

(WMC-TV) - The Tennessee Lottery raised $2.7 billion for scholarships, grants, and after-school programs since it launched in 2004. This year has been a record-breaking year for the number of lottery tickets sold.

Without the Tennessee Lottery's Scholarship program, it might be a lot quieter on the University of Memphis campus. Currently, more than $22 million are spent on tuition on campus.

"I'm the oldest of four, it's really going to help my family," said student Chuma Azogini.

Last year more than 1,600 U of M freshman relied on the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship to help pay for their education. That is 83 percent of the freshman class getting $2,000 a semester.

"The HOPE ... It's really easy to get that extra boost that will help cover when money's tight," said student Jay Wilkerson.

But not every student has a scholarship success story. Right now, sales of lottery tickets are helping 100,000 Tennessee college students pay for tuition. More than 12,000 students in Shelby County alone totaling almost $32 million.

Although, less than 35 percent of 2007 freshman recipients statewide graduated in five years with their scholarship intact. More than 60 percent failed to maintain the required grade point average.

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation in Nashville disperses lottery scholarship money.

"I would say its been a tremendous success. Especially when you're talking about helping students and parents afford a higher education," said Tim Phelps, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.

Even after almost 10 years of lottery scholarships the freshman scholarship retention rate remains flat.

In 2011, 64 percent of college freshmen, were unable to retain their scholarship in time to go back to class in the fall of 2012.

"I think it's just the culture shock of college and then just not being organized with your time," said Wilkerson.

The success or failure of lottery scholarships may reflect more on K-through-12 schools in Tennessee.

"It all goes back to academic preparation and how prepared are those students," said Phelps. "With the tuition increases that we see each and every year to say that we're wasting money I would say absolutely not."

Phelps says TSAC's database is not set up to calculate dollars spent on college students who failed to make the grade. But scholarship retention rates among upper classmen are much higher, and many go on to graduate with or without a lottery scholarship.

The annual success rate of scholarship renewal among students in Shelby County is close to the state average.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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