(The Center Square) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill on Wednesday that will expand the state’s HOPE scholarship program with an $85 million increase in funding.
Senate Bill 2405 will increase the HOPE scholarship for all eligible students who graduate from a Tennessee high school with a 3.0 GPA or higher and have a 21 on their ACT test or 1060 on their SAT test.
The scholarship will increase from $3,500 to $4,500 per year for freshmen and sophomores at a four-year institution and from $4,500 to $5,700 for junior and seniors.
It will also go up from $3,000 to $3,200 per year for students at two-year schools.
The program is funded by the Tennessee Lottery and will add eligibility for scholarships to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, aiming to target the 12.6% of Tennesseans ages 16 to 24 who are not in school currently,
In order to maintain the scholarship, a student must have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester when the student attempted to reach 24 and 48 semester hours and then a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the semester when they attempt to reach 72 hours and every 24 hours attempted after that.
The award is estimated to impact 32,637 freshmen and sophomores and 30,537 juniors and seniors at four-year schools along with 15,901 students at two-year schools.
The bill was passed on the final day of Tennessee’s legislative session.