Legislature approve Lamar, Akbari bill to guarantee HOPE Scholarship for mothers returning to school
NASHVILLE — Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly approved a bill March 2 to allow HOPE Scholarship recipients who become pregnant to maintain their scholarship eligibility after the pregnancy.
By Tennessee Democratic Caucus, The Medium
Under House Bill 379, sponsored by Rep. London Lamar and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation would create rules that designate pregnancy as an approved medical leave of absence for students receiving the HOPE Scholarship.
“Stress, like what an expecting mother could expect from a normal college experience, plays a significant role in causing premature births and other pregnancy related issues,” Rep. Lamar said. “Our goal with this legislation was to make sure that students did not have to choose between starting a healthy family and finishing their college education. Now they can choose both.”
Sen. Akbari said these rules will enable more women to earn a post-secondary degree.
“The HOPE Scholarship helps nearly 50,000 students work toward achieving an affordable college degree every year and the majority of these students are women,” Sen. Akbari said. “Our public scholarship program should support a college student who chooses to start a family and this legislation will ensure that her HOPE scholarship remains available when she is ready to return to school.”
The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.