The Tennessee Promise
New UT Promise Scholarship Announced for Tennessee Students
In an effort to provide greater access to all Tennesseans and further diversify the campus, the University of Tennessee has launched a new scholarship program for graduates of high schools that traditionally send few students to UT.
The Tennessee Promise Scholarship program will provide up to $5,800 per year for four years when combined with the HOPE and other university scholarships. The Promise will be available to academically eligible students from a specific group of high schools starting in fall 2007.
Gov. Phil Bredesen announced last month the end of the consent decree stemming from the 1960s-era Geier lawsuit over racial segregation of Tennessee's colleges. Through the consent decree, state money had been allocated for desegregation efforts, including race-based scholarships. With the consent decree's end, race-based scholarships are no longer legal.
"In the post-Geier era, the Tennessee Promise, in conjunction with the Tennessee Pledge Scholarship program, will help strengthen the university's outreach and its diversity, while opening the university's doors to students who might not otherwise be able to attend UT," Chancellor Loren Crabtree said.
About 35 high schools statewide, many in the Memphis and Nashville metropolitan areas, were selected for the first year of the Tennessee promise. The schools were chosen because their students face financial and other barriers to college enrollment and students from these schools don't often enroll at UT. The University is also attempting to recruit students who will be the first generation from their families to attend college.
The list of selected high schools may vary from year to year and may be expanded if funding is increased. The Promise Scholarship program is estimated to cost the university about $200,000 per year.
To qualify for a Tennessee Promise Scholarship, students must apply to Undergraduate Admissions by Feb. 1, 2007, and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1, 2007. Admitted students will be automatically considered. No additional application is required. Students will be notified no later than April 1, 2007.
To keep their Promise Scholarships, students must earn a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and meet federal satisfactory academic progress requirements.
The Tennessee Promise Scholarship may be combined with other University scholarships, state and federal financial aid up to the established cost of attendance.
The Tennessee Pledge Scholarship, which began in the fall of 2005, guarantees qualified students can attend UT for four years without incurring debt. The Pledge is based solely on financial need; to qualify students must be able to demonstrate need at or below the 150 percent poverty level defined by the federal government for a family of four, about $27,000.
Last fall, 189 in-state freshmen received the Pledge scholarship package. This fall, about 250 freshmen qualified for the Pledge.
UT will honor all current commitments to students with African American Achiever scholarships and African American Incentive Grants, programs funded through the Geier Consent Decree. This year, about 296 freshmen entered UT on these Geier-funded scholarships and there are now about 1,001 students attending UT on these scholarships.
UT will dedicate about $8.3 million over four years to fulfill the scholarships for these students.
Schools with students receiving Tennessee Promise Scholarships: