12:29pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Cuts Will Impact Poor, Minority Students

Tightening of Scholarship Criteria Recommended

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) - A special panel of the Tennessee legislature has recommended cutting some students' college scholarships in half. The panel says the move will save Tennessee as much as $17 million a year.

The bipartisan Lottery Stabilization Task Force voted unanimously yesterday to reduce the lottery scholarship awards by 50 percent for students who do not meet both the standardized testing and high school grade requirements.

Right now, students must either earn a 3.0 GPA or score a 21 on their ACT to qualify for a scholarship worth $4,000 for each of the four years.

Dr. Claude Presnell of the Tennessee Independent Universities and Colleges Association is a member of the Task Force. He notes that poor and minority students will be impacted disproportionately by the recommended change, but says the committee made provision for that.

"In many cases, minority low-income students are helped disproportionately by the ten million dollars that's going into the need-based aid program. So we saved costs on one side, but we increased the aid on the other side that is strictly income contingent."

Students attending community colleges will not be impacted by the scholarship reductions.