Anika Schultz is a Tennessee Promise Scholarship recipient. At the end of last year, she worked with her political science professor, Dr. Jesse Cragwall, to draft a bill to amend the legislation that established and governs the scholarship.
She introduced it at the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature where it passed in both chambers and was signed by the TISL governor. Schultz’s bill was then selected to be submitted to the 2022 Tennessee General Assembly.
The sophomore hopes to tweak some of the scholarship’s requirements with her bill. She wants to increase the age limit to allow students to apply if they missed the deadline in high school.
“Speaking from personal experience I know a ton of students who have actually lost the scholarship because by age 17 or 18 they said, ‘I don’t need to go to school, there’s no need for me to go to school,’ and now they are 22 and they say no I really do want to go to school now, but I lost out on a scholarship so I can’t really afford to go to school,” said Schultz.
Schultz also wants to allow students who fall below 12 credit hours during the semester to go on probation instead of losing the scholarship.
“Let’s just say a student has a really hard math class and they just can’t finish the class, they can’t pass the class. They have to drop it and then they drop below 12 credit hours, then they lose the scholarship,” said Schultz.
Cragwall says the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is great for kids across the state, but the proposed changes could lead to growth in retention rates in the years to come.
“After a period of time, we are starting to see this is an instance where yes, it’s having a great impact, but the way some of these stipulations are written does disadvantage students to the point where it may not lead to retention, it may not lead to re-enrollment or lead to a deterrent for future enrollment,” said Cragwall.
Schultz says she was very excited her bill was sent on to the General Assembly, but she’s even more excited to see the opportunities that will follow if it’s passed.
“It’s so much more than just the bill going to the General Assembly it’s about giving students another chance to go to school to pursue education, to pursue a career and do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” said Schultz.
Cragwall says two bills have been filed to address the issue and they should come up for debate in the General Assembly in the spring. Schultz says Sen. Becky Massey, who is sponsoring her bill in the Senate, asked her to testify the day the bill is brought to a committee.