What is UT Promise?

UT Promise is an undergraduate scholarship program that will provide free tuition and mandatory fees to qualifying in-state students enrolling at University of Tennessee campuses located in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, and Memphis.

How does it work?

UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that will guarantee free tuition and mandatory fees for in-state students with a family household income of under $50,000 after other financial aid is received (such as Pell Grants, HOPE Scholarship, or other institutional scholarships). Students must qualify for the HOPE Scholarship and be admitted to a UT campus to be eligible for this new scholarship. To help ensure success, students will be matched with volunteer mentors and will complete eight hours of service each semester. UT Promise is an expansion of scholarship offerings and does not replace existing scholarships.

When will this start?

UT Promise will welcome its first class in the fall of 2020.

How will this program be funded?

The University of Tennessee Foundation will launch the UT Promise Endowment campaign to help fund this initiative. In the interim, the University will cover the cost. Visit alumni.tennessee.edu/utpromise for more information about the UT Promise Endowment.

What fees and other expenses does UT Promise cover?

The UT Promise scholarship only covers tuition and mandatory fees. It does not pay for books or other post-secondary expenses, including, but not limited to, program of study fees (course fees/differential fees), late registration fees, housing fees, living and learning communities fees, etc.

Mandatory fees include facilities fee, maintenance fee, library fee, student services fee, technology fee, transportation fee, etc. Visit your UT campus’ website for more information.

Will UT Promise cover summer courses?

UT Promise scholarship funds can be applied to summer courses if a student is receiving HOPE scholarship funds. In order to receive HOPE funds, a student must be enrolled in at least 6 hours over the summer.

Will the UT Promise Scholarship cover fully distance education programs (aka online programs)?

Yes. If you are enrolled in a UT degree program in which all courses are online, the UT Promise scholarship will cover tuition and mandatory fees.


What must I do to remain eligible for UT Promise?

To remain eligible for the UT Promise scholarship, you must be a full-time student, be continuously enrolled at a postsecondary institution, make satisfactory academic progress, maintain your HOPE scholarship, and complete your service and mentoring requirements. (Satisfactory academic progress is also a requirement to maintain the HOPE scholarship).

Do I have to be continuously enrolled to remain eligible? Do I have to be a full-time student?

To remain eligible for the HOPE scholarship and, thus, the UT Promise scholarship, you must be continuously enrolled at a postsecondary institution each fall and spring semester. Summer enrollment is optional. While HOPE allows for part-time enrollment, the UT Promise scholarship requires you to be a full-time student.

What if I lose the HOPE scholarship but then regain it? Can my award be re-established?

If a student loses their HOPE scholarship eligibility due to GPA requirements but then regains it during their time as a student, they can also become re-eligible for the UT Promise scholarship. HOPE may only be re-established one time, so a student will not be eligible for HOPE or UT Promise if they lose their HOPE scholarship more than once.

What if I was eligible for UT Promise, but now my household income exceeds $50,000? Am I still eligible for UT Promise?

Students who received the UT Promise scholarship but now have an increase in family household income that exceeds $50,000 are still eligible for the UT Promise scholarship until the household income reaches $60,000. At this point, the student will become ineligible for UT Promise. Family household income is defined as:

“The accurate, verifiable total combined amount of parent and student adjusted gross income and untaxed income of less than $50,000, AND a total maximum asset amount of less than $75,000, as defined on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).”


How many years or hours will my UT Promise scholarship cover?

UT Promise will only provide scholarship funds when a student is receiving HOPE scholarship funds.

A student may receive the Tennessee HOPE scholarship until the first of the following events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution; or
  • Student has attempted 120 semester hours or has received the UT Promise Scholarship for eight (8) full-time equivalent semesters at any postsecondary institution; whichever occurs later.

A student who is enrolled in a program of study that exceeds 120 semester hours in length may receive the HOPE Scholarship until the first of the following terminating events:

  • Student has earned a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Five (5) years have passed from the date of initial enrollment at any postsecondary institution; or
  • Student has attempted at any postsecondary institution the lesser of the number of semester hours required to earn the baccalaureate degree or a total of 136 semester hours or the student has completed eight (8) full-time equivalent semesters.

Will nontraditional students be eligible for UT Promise?

Nontraditional students who are eligible for nontraditional HOPE are eligible for UT Promise. Nontraditional HOPE requires students to achieve a 2.75 GPA after 12 attempted hours before they can start receiving HOPE funds. UT Promise only provides scholarship funds when students are receiving HOPE funds. Visit tn.gov/collegepays/money-for-college/tn-education-lottery-programs/tennessee-hope-scholarship—nontraditional.html for more information on nontraditional HOPE eligibility requirements.

Will professional judgment decisions allow someone to become eligible?
(Professional judgment refers to the authority of a school’s financial aid administrator to make adjustments to the data elements on the FAFSA and to override a student’s dependency status).


UT recognizes that many families have changes in income or family situations that cannot be reflected in the tax return data. It is possible for students to appeal their financial aid eligibility if they have unique financial circumstances. Students should complete the appeal process at their campus. If the appeal is approved, the student’s FAFSA and financial aid will be updated, and students may gain eligibility for the UT Promise scholarship. Appeals only occur at the campus level, not the system level.


What if a student is enrolled at a UT campus prior to 2020?

Existing UT students who meet eligibility requirements will be eligible for the scholarship in the fall of 2020.

Will those students get a refund for previous years?

No. Students currently enrolled who meet the eligibility requirements will be eligible to receive the scholarship beginning in the fall of 2020.

Can students transfer from any institution or do they have to transfer from a community college?

Qualifying Tennessee residents who meet the criteria for UT Promise can transfer from any institution.


Do you have another question not answered here? Contact us and we’ll be in touch with you.