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New HOPE Scholarship Available To Grad Students

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
New HOPE Scholarship Available To Grad Students

Graduate school students can now receive an extra $5,700 of HOPE Scholarship money for their first year of graduate studies.

Tennessee Tech Dean of Graduate Studies Julie Baker said the scholarship is now available for a fifth year to eligible students. She said the expansion covers about half of a student’s fees in their first year of grad school. She said she is excited to remove financial barriers for those looking to continue their education.

“There are not as many scholarships and there is not as much financial aid for grad students,” Baker said. “Historically, there haven’t been, so this is really big news and opens a lot of doors for students who are interested in grad school.”

Baker said students who have taken on substantial debt in undergraduate school are less likely to pursue graduate studies. She said graduate degrees are more attractive to employers and students who complete those programs make more money on average in their lifetimes. She said the school is offering a free application period through May to encourage students to take advantage.

“At Tennessee Tech, our students do graduate with less debt than most students across the state of Tennessee,” Baker said. “However, it’s always a strain when they have that debt, and if students have already paid some or taken out loans for an undergraduate degree, that definitely makes it less likely that they’ll stick around.”

She said Tech also offers a Fast Track program that allows students to knock out some graduate courses during their undergraduate studies. She said the school is always looking for ways to make graduate degrees more attainable for the students motivated to pursue them. She said until now, the HOPE Scholarship only covered 120 hours of coursework, not enough to carry over beyond four years.

“We have those students who are graduating tomorrow who are interested in immediately enrolling in grad school, but we also have students who come to us from other institutions,” Baker said. “And they come to us with an undergrad degree from other places and come into our grad schools because they’re interested in a specific program, and so both of those types of relationships that we have, building those out and building our alumni base is really important to us too. It really builds the diversity of students that we have here.”

She said while the application is free through the end of May, students can still apply until July 1. She said students can go online to the Tennessee Tech graduate studies website to apply.


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