KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposed reduction in state-funded college scholarships worries students and administrators at some of Tennessee's small private institutions.
Projections show the HOPE scholarship fund will be operating in the red within a few years. A legislative task force was convened to suggest solutions.
Their recommendation to legislators is to reduced scholarship payouts by requiring applicants to meet both the high school grade point and college entrance exam benchmarks to get the full award.
If implemented, the proposed change would save an estimated $13 million in the first year and $17 million in subsequent years.
One example of the possible impact: As many as 130 students at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, could find their scholarships reduced by 50 percent if the legislature adopts the recommendation.
Claude Presnell is a member of the legislative task force that’s suggesting the cuts. He says the panel is aware that smaller schools tend to attract first-generation students from low-income families, and made provisions for that.
"Low income, minority students are helped disproportionately by the $10 million that's going into the needs-based aid program. So we saved costs on one side, but we increased aid on the other side that's strictly income contingent."
The Tennessee Legislature is likely to consider the scholarship changes when it begins its next legislative session in January.