The hard part will be getting into the beekeepers class, took me a year and a half to get my name on the list and I was hounding Dr. Skinner. The class is not really very hard or in depth at all, at best it is just a beginners type of class and covers the most basic of things. Mike Studer is a super nice guy, lives over in Maryville, and has to cover the whole state of TN. I just took the inspectors class to be able to inspect others bees before they are sold, or are being moved through the state, there are several of us scattered all over the state, mainly looking for AFB. This is a minimum pay position.
Anyway......back to your question...........I think it is very acceptable to do this, if you work your hives as you should it is not a hand out. I almost did it last year for 100 hives but talked myself out of it, knowing there was no way I could take care of them by myself.
I say go for it, start trying to get into the class though, that is the tough part.