Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ A Red Bank student looks at information concerning UT Promise. Interim UT President Randy Boyd and UTC Chancellor Steve Angle were at Red Bank High School to discuss the UT Promise Endowment campaign with the school's juniors and seniors.

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College freshmen who enroll at any University of Tennessee campus starting in the fall of 2020 can go to school for free thanks to a new scholarship program — UT Promise.

Announced in March, UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that guarantees free tuition and fees for qualifying Tennessee students that come from families with household incomes less than $50,000.

Last dollar? Qualifying students? What about the HOPE Scholarships? Some students and families might be asking what this means for them.

Here are some things you should know about the UT Promise Scholarship program.


1. The scholarship program fills in the gaps after students have exhausted other sources of financial aid.

To qualify for the UT Promise program, students must first qualify for the HOPE Scholarship, meeting criteria such as earning a 3.0 GPA and scoring at least a 21 on the ACT. Any grants or scholarships that students receive will first be used to pay the student's cost and the UT Promise scholarship will pay the rest.

The scholarship only covers mandatory fees and tuition. Books, room and board and other costs are still the responsibility of the student.


2. The program is available to students at all UT campuses.

Whether students attend the flagship campus in Knoxville, UT Martin, the UT Health Science Center in Memphis or the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eligibility and requirements are the same at all campuses, but tuition does vary between some UT campuses.

Students will also have the same access to admissions counselors and the program's mentorship opportunities at all campuses.


3. 'Vol'unteering is a main aspect of the program.

Students who receive funding through the UT Promise program are required to complete eight volunteer service hours each semester.

"Whether you're a Moc or a Skyhawk or a UT Knoxville Vol, you're all part of the Volunteer State," Randy Boyd, interim president of the UT System told Red Bank High School students during a recent visit to Hamilton County.

Students will have a wide variety of options to choose from and Boyd said he hopes that some students might find their passion from their volunteer work.


4. Current students will not get a refund.

Boyd announced Tuesday that current students who meet the program's requirements will be eligible for the scholarships starting in the fall of 2020, but they will not be refunded for tuition and fee costs they had paid previously.

Transfer students who previously attended another community college or institution can transfer to a UT system school and receive the scholarship.


5. The scholarship will only cover a bachelor's degree or up to eight semesters.

The UT Promise scholarship will only kick in while a student receives HOPE Scholarship funds. Students receive those funds until they have earned a bachelor's degree, they've been in school for five years, or they have attempted 120 semester hours or received the UT Promise scholarship for eight full-time semesters at any postsecondary institution.

To continue to receive the UT Promise scholarship, students must be full-time and continuously enrolled (take classes during at least the fall and spring semesters), maintain their HOPE Scholarship and complete FAFSA (the Free Application For Student Aid) annually.


6. The deadline is fast approaching!

There is not a separate application required for the UT Promise scholarship, but students must apply for enrollment as a full-time student at one of the participating institutions by Dec. 15, and submit a FAFSA form by Jan. 15, 2020. The deadline to apply for the HOPE Scholarship each year is Sept. 1.

Contact Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757- 6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.