Supporting Tennessee Veterans in Postsecondary Education: The Helping Heroes Grant Program
Author: Lance Iverson
The Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) is required by state law to study and evaluate the effectiveness of the Helping Heroes Grant program every four years. This is the Comptroller’s third review of the Helping Heroes Grant program, following prior reviews performed in 2014 and 2018, and it focuses on the last four years of the program’s operation from 2017 to 2021.
The Helping Heroes Grant program is funded through the state’s lottery scholarship program and provides financial aid to veterans of the armed services to attend institutions of higher education in Tennessee.
The number of participating students, the number of awards, and the amount of grant expenditures have all declined since 2018-19. These declines align with a decrease in the number of service members engaged in qualifying military activities.
The report includes policy options for the General Assembly, including amending state law concerning the value of the grants and the possible use of Helping Heroes Grants at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.