Maintaining Eligibility

Enrollment Level

Enrollment level (full-time, etc.) will be locked in on the 14th calendar day (census date) of the semester. This includes the first day of classes. Full-time students who drop below full-time after this day without approval from Northeast State’s Institutional Review Panel (IRP) will automatically lose their scholarships, and will not regain eligibility.

Example: A student who has enrolled for 12 hours and has received a Tennessee Educational Lottery (TELS) award for full-time will lose his/her scholarship if the student drops below 12 hours after the census date.

A part-time student may be eligible for a TELS award. The award will be based on the total amount of credit hours in which a student is enrolled as of the census date.

Example: Students enrolled in 6-8 hours may receive half of the TELS award. Students enrolled in 9-11 hours may receive 3/4 of the TELS award. Students enrolled in less than 6 hours will not receive an award for that semester but will remain eligible for future TELS awards as long as all other requirements continue to be met.

Part-time students (6-11 hours) who receive TELS awards and drop below 6 hours will lose eligibility for the scholarship for that semester and all subsequent semesters thereafter--unless the TELS appeals process has been completed and approved by the Institutional Review Panel (IRP) prior to dropping the classes.

Example: A student who has enrolled in 9-11 hours and has received a TELS award for three-quarter time will not lose eligibility for future TELS awards if the student drops to 6-8 hours after the 14th day of the semester.

Continuous Enrollment

Think twice about taking a break from school! A student must maintain continuous enrollment to meet eligibility requirements. This means that a student must be enrolled for the fall and spring semesters every year. Students are not required to be enrolled for the summer semester. If a student must take a break for personal or medical reasons such as: personal illness, death or illness of an immediate family member, extreme financial hardship of the immediate family, or to fulfill a religious commitment required of all members of the particular faith, a student can complete and submit a Request for Leave of Absence. This form may be obtained at Financial Aid Forms or in Northeast State’s Financial Aid Office. The student is required to complete the Request for Leave form from Northeast State. If the student is mobilized for active military service or has other extenuating circumstances, he/she may request a Leave of Absence so that TELS eligibility will not be affected.

Grade Changes

If a student loses a TELS award and receives a grade change that reinstates the student’s TELS eligibility, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office within 30 calendar days of the grade change. This includes changing an “I” (Incomplete) to a letter grade. If the student fails to complete the course within the guidelines set by Northeast State and/or the course is completed with a grade resulting in the student becoming ineligible for the TELS award, any awards received since the “I” was posted must be repaid.

Transient (Visiting) Students

A student may be eligible for a TELS award if he/she takes classes at Northeast State and another TELS eligible school for a semester. In this case the student should contact the Financial Aid Office at his/her “home” institution for the appropriate consortium agreement form.

Awards Made in Error

If a student receives a TELS award for which he/she is not eligible, and the mistake is later discovered, the student must repay the award.

TELS Award Period

A student can continue to receive a TELS award until one of the following is achieved:

  • The student completes an associates degree program at Northeast State.
  • The student transfers to a non-eligible 4-year institution.
  • The student completes a baccalaureate degree program.
  • The student has received the award for five years since initially enrolling at an eligible postsecondary institution.

Students Must Reapply Every Year!

The student must complete a FAFSA every year if he/she is to be considered for the TELS award. The process of completing a new or renewal FAFSA can be done online at

TELS Appeals Process

The TELS appeal must be completed and approved by the Northeast State Institutional Review Panel (IRP) when dropping classes to stay within the eligibility requirements of the scholarship program. Students may appeal for the following reasons:

Change of enrollment - Example: dropping from full-time to part-time or from part-time to less than 6 hours.

Leave of Absence related to personal illness, death or illness of an immediate family member, extreme financial hardship, to fulfill a religious commitment expected of all members of the student's faith, or active service mobilization.

Reinstatement after grade change.

Reinstatement after a course with an "I" is completed and grade has been changed.

Failure to timely enroll.

If an appeal is denied by the Financial Aid Office, the student may appeal the decision to the Institutional Review Panel (IRP), which has been established by Northeast State. For more information see TELS Appeal Procedures. Students may appeal an IRP decision directly to TSAC (see TELS Appeal Procedures for details). The TELS Appeal Form is available in the Financial Aid Office and on the Financial Aid Office web page.