HOPE Scholarship
The HOPE Scholarship Program (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) created in 1993 under the supervision of Georgia Governor Zell Miller
Zell Miller
Zell Bryan Miller is an American politician from the US state of Georgia. A Democrat, Miller served as Lieutenant Governor from 1975 to 1991, 79th Governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, and as United States Senator from 2000 to 2005....

, is a merit-based higher education scholarship that is funded entirely by revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

 from the Georgia Lottery
Georgia Lottery
The Georgia Lottery is overseen by the government of Georgia, United States. Headquartered in Atlanta and run by the Georgia Lottery Corporation, the lottery takes in over US$1 billion yearly. By law, half of the money goes to prizes, one-third to education, and the remainder to operating and...

 and is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). As of 2006, more than $3 billion in scholarships had been awarded to more than 900,000 Georgia students.

Program details

The program is entirely merit-based, meaning that a student's ability to pay for his or her own education is not a factor in determining if he or she receives it. Previously, traditional-college-age students whose family income exceeded $100,000 per year were disqualified from the program.

To receive HOPE Scholarship funding, students must meet one of the following academic requirements:
  • Graduate from a HOPE-eligible high school with a 3.0 grade point average for college preparatory diploma or a 3.2 grade point average for other diploma types.
  • Complete a HOPE eligible home study program with a 3.0 grade point average.
  • For all Georgia high school graduates who begin their high school careers during or after the 2008-2009 school year must graduate with a 3.0 grade point average.

  • Graduate from an eligible high school, complete an eligible home study program, or earn a GED, and score in the national composite 85th percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT tests.

  • Graduate from an ineligible high school or complete an ineligible home study program, and then earn a 3.0 grade point average on 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of college degree-level coursework. This option allows for payment of the first 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours after they are taken.

  • Earn a 3.0 grade point average at the college level on degree coursework after attempting 30, 60, or 90 semesters hours or 45, 90, or 135 quarter hours, regardless of high school graduation status.

And all of the following other requirements.
  • Be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at an eligible public or private college or university or technical college in Georgia.

  • Meet HOPE's Georgia residency requirements.

  • Meet HOPE's U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen requirements.

  • Be in compliance with Selective Service registration requirements.

  • Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990. A student may be ineligible for HOPE payment if he or she has been convicted for committing certain felony offenses involving marijuana, controlled substances, or dangerous drugs.

  • Not be in default or owe a refund on a student financial aid program.

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the college.

The scholarship is now based on lottery revenue. Books and mandatory fees have also been eliminated. The scholarship is now capped at 127 credit hours. A student has only 7 years in order to receive payments for the scholarship. For the 2011-2012 school year, the scholarship will pay for 90% of tuition of the 2010-2011 school year.For HOPE recipients who attend private colleges in Georgia, an equivalent amount is applied toward tuition, currently 3,600 for the 2011-2012 year.

There is also another scholarship within HOPE called the Zell Miller Scholarship. In order to qualify for this scholarship, a student must meet all of the requirements of the HOPE Scholarship. A student must also graduate with a 3.7 High School HOPE GPA and must have a score of 1200 (CR+M) on a single administration of the SAT or a 26 ACT Composite and must maintain a college cumulative GPA of a 3.3. This Scholarship will pay for 100% of tuition, including $4,000 at private colleges. Books and mandatory fees have also been eliminated.

Fall 2011 HOPE
HOPE Scholarship for Tuition (based on several GA Univ Rates of $2298 * 90%) = $2068.20 per semester (assumes 15 hours)
- HOPE per hour ($2298 * 90%/15) = $137.88 per hour
- HOPE for Fees = $0
- HOPE for Book Allowance = $0

In 2005, a decrease in lottery
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.Lottery is outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by governments...

 revenue led to questions about whether sufficient funding would be available to continue offering the scholarship in its present form. Several suggestions were made to decrease the program's costs, including tying the scholarship to standardized test
Standardized test
A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard", manner. Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a...

 scores or checking students' college GPAs more frequently to avoid paying tuition for students who had dipped below 3.0. Political rivals of Governor Sonny Perdue
Sonny Perdue
George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III, was the 81st Governor of Georgia. Upon his inauguration in January 2003, he became the first Republican governor of Georgia since Benjamin F. Conley served during Reconstruction in the 1870s....

 criticized his management of the program, and HOPE's future became an important state political issue. Much of that year's debate was rendered moot when lottery sales increased the next year.


January 14, 1991: Zell Miller is inaugurated as Georgia's 79th governor. Introduces legislation before the General Assembly to establish a lottery. A statewide referendum must be passed to amend the Georgia Constitution to allow a lottery.

January 31, 1991: Resolution to put lottery amendment before voters passes the Georgia House 126-51 and is adopted by a 47-9 vote of the Georgia Senate.

November 3, 1992: Georgia voters pass the lottery amendment 1,146,340-1,050,674.

November 1992-August 1993: Governor Miller establishes three distinct and individually funded lottery programs: the HOPE Scholarship Program, a voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds, and an instructional technology program.

June 29, 1993: The first Georgia Lottery ticket is sold, sparking a windfall of unprecedented lottery sales. Georgia's first year of sales brought in a national record of $1.13 billion, providing $360 million for the three education programs.

September 1, 1993: Georgia's first HOPE Scholarship is awarded to Matthew Miller of Snellville, Georgia to attend Gwinnett Technical College.

July 1, 1994: HOPE makes its first expansion to cover four rather than two years of tuition. In addition, mandatory fees and a $100 per quarter book allowance will be paid for the first time.

July 1, 1995:
  • The $100,000 family income-eligibility cap for HOPE is abolished.
  • Governor Miller decides to give students who lose their HOPE Scholarships after their freshman year a second chance. If the student completes the sophomore year with a cumulative B average, they will receive HOPE their junior year.
  • Nontraditional students (who graduated before the HOPE program began in 1993) may qualify for HOPE after their sophomore year.

July 11, 1995: President Clinton models his America's Hope program, a tax credit for the cost of two year of education beyond high school, after the success of Georgia's HOPE Program.

July 1, 1996: Private college students for the first time must earn and maintain a B average to receive HOPE. As a result, the previous $1,500 grant is changed to a $3000 scholarship.

November 3, 1996: Entering freshmen high school students (Class of 2000) must now earn a B average in the core curriculum courses of English, math, social studies, foreign language and science to receive the HOPE Scholarship upon graduation.

July 1, 1997: Nontraditional student may now qualify for HOPE after their freshman or sophomore years.

November 18, 1997: The Georgia Student Finance Commission adopts a policy to allow home school students who maintain a B average during their first year in college to retroactively qualify for a HOPE Scholarship during the 1997-1998 school year.

April 1998: The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) releases a study that says Georgia is ranked Number One among the 50 states in academic-based student financial aid because of the HOPE Scholarship.

June 29, 1998: The Council on School Performance releases a study that concludes: "We found that recipients of Georgia's HOPE Scholarship are more likely to remain enrolled in college, have higher college grade point averages and have earned more credit hours than students without the scholarship."

September 1, 1998: Five years after its inception, the HOPE Scholarship has awarded 319,000 students more than $580 million.

November 3, 1998: Georgia voters elect to create a Constitutional amendment protecting the HOPE Scholarship Program from legislative and political tampering.

May 17, 1999: For the second year in a row, the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs ranked Georgia Number One among 50 states in academic-based student financial aid because of the HOPE Scholarship.

September 29, 1999: Yomaris Figueroa of McDonough, a freshmen as Georgia State University in Atlanta, was congratulated by Governor Roy E. Barnes as Georgia's 400,000th HOPE Scholarship recipient.

March 2000: For the third year in a row, the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs ranked Georgia Number One among 50 states in academic-based student financial aid because of the HOPE Scholarship.

July 1, 2000: Students can receive the full benefits of Georgia's HOPE Scholarship and the federal Pell Grant making a college education for Georgia students even more affordable.

October 2000: Seven years after its inception, the HOPE Scholarship has more than 500,000 awards totaling $1 billion.

March 2001: For the fourth year in a row, the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs ranked Georgia Number One among 50 states in academic-based student financial aid because of the HOPE Scholarship.

April 2002: HOPE reaches new milestones: More than 600,000 students have received HOPE awards totaling more than $1.5 billion. Also, thanks to HOPE, for the fifth year in a row Georgia leads the nation in providing academic-based financial aid.

March 2003: The Georgia General Assembly created the Improvement of the HOPE Scholarship Joint Study Commission. The purpose of the Commission was to identify and recommend actions to ensure adequate funding of the HOPE program for years to come.

April 2003: For the sixth year in a row, the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs ranked Georgia Number One among 50 states in academic-based student financial aid because of the HOPE Scholarship.

January 2004: After meeting throughout the latter half of 2003, the HOPE Study Commission made its recommendations in January 2004.

May 2004: House Bill 1325 was signed into law, creating the most significant changes in the HOPE program since its beginning.

January 2007: The HOPE program reaches the milestone of assisting 1 million individual recipients.

May 2007: The new HOPE Scholarship high school grade point average calculation and transcript exchange project was implemented, in accordance with House Bill 1325 passed in 2004.

July 2008: The HOPE Scholarship award amount for students attending private colleges was increased from $3,000 per academic year to $3,500 per academic year. Senate Bill 492 was implemented, which increased the Georgia residency requirement for the HOPE Scholarship to 24 months for students who did not graduate from high school as a Georgia resident. In addition, changes were made to the treatment of post-secondary coursework taken while in high school, for purposes of the HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant eligibility. House Bill 152 was implemented, which allows home study student, ineligible high school graduates, and GED recipients to gain HOPE Scholarship eligibility by scoring in the 85th percentile on the SAT/ACT.

March 2011: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs a new law into effect, raising the GPA requirements for HOPE and eliminating payments for books and mandatory fees. The new HOPE Scholarship, or HOPE Lite, will now be based on Lottery revenue. The new scholarship within HOPE, the Zell Miller Scholarship, will cover 100% of tuition for those students who graduate with a 3.7 HOPE GPA and receive a score of 1200 (CR+M) on the SAT or a 26 ACT Composite at public colleges ($4,000 at private colleges), and maintain a 3.3 GPA while in college. Books and fees have also been eliminated for this scholarship as well.

Award History

Fiscal Year HOPE Recipients HOPE Awards
1993–1994 42,797 $21.4 million
1994–1995 98,399 $83.7 million
1995–1996 122,978 $133.7 million
1996–1997 128,355 $153.2 million
1997–1998 136,663 $173.2 million
1998–1999 141,103 $189.0 million
1999–2000 148,194 $208.6 million
2000–2001 169,173 $276.6 million
2001–2002 195,860 $322.6 million
2002–2003 212,631 $361.7 million
2003–2004 222,552 $405.8 million
2004–2005 222,272 $427.0 million
2005–2006 212,587 $436.0 million
2006–2007 207,345 $452.1 million
2007–2008 202,368 $459.6 million
2008–2009 216,201 $522.6 million
2009–2010 248,213 $640.0 million
2010–2011 238,489 $679.0 million


The money provided to HOPE Scholars varies and depends on the type of institution as well as the student's specific enrollment.

Private institutions

Full-time students: $1,800 per semester, $1,333 per quarter

Half-time students: $900 per semester, $666 per quarter

Application procedures

To apply for the HOPE Scholarship student must follow the registration demands of the school that they chose.

Public colleges, universities, and technical colleges

Students planning to attend a public college, university, or technical college have two options for applying for the HOPE Scholarship.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): By using a GAcollege411 account and accessing the FAFSA application from GAcollege411, applicants can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete this form.
  • Or one can apply for the HOPE Scholarship by: electronic application, or printable paper application.

Private colleges and universities

Students planning to attend an eligible private college or university must complete the HOPE/TEG application to be considered for the HOPE Scholarship


The HOPE program has two stated goals:
  1. To offer academically superior students who would not otherwise be able to afford college the opportunity to receive higher education
    Higher education
    Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

  2. To offer an incentive
    In economics and sociology, an incentive is any factor that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. It is an expectation that encourages people to behave in a certain way...

     to academically-superior students who can afford to attend college to remain in the state of Georgia, countering the "brain drain
    Brain drain
    Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

    " phenomenon Georgia was experiencing prior to the program, when many talented students were attending universities in other states.


Since 2005, HOPE does not pay any new or increased student fees, including so-called "technology fees" imposed due to cuts in state funding by the Georgia General Assembly
Georgia General Assembly
The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is bicameral, being composed of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate....

. Conversely, the income cap
Means test
A means test is a determination of whether an individual or family is eligible for help from the government.- Canada :In Canada means tests are used for student finance , and "welfare" . They are not generally used for primary education and secondary education which are tax-funded...

 was not reinstated, and payments for enrollment in some private schools was still allowed.

HOPE has been blamed for increased levels of grade inflation
Grade inflation
Grade inflation is the tendency of academic grades for work of comparable quality to increase over time.It is frequently discussed in relation to U.S. education, and to GCSEs and A levels in England and Wales...

 in Georgia schools, with teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

s feeling pressured to give their students higher grades to maintain the necessary GPA for the scholarship.

Critics have claimed that the HOPE scholarship disproportionately benefits students from affluent school districts because they tend to do better academically. The HOPE scholarship is funded primarily through income from lottery ticket sales, and people who buy lottery tickets tend to be from lower economic classes. For these reasons, critics claim that the scholarship represents a type of regressive tax
Regressive tax
A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases. "Regressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from high to low, where the average tax rate exceeds the...


Non Traditional Students were not grandfathered in with the 2011 Changes. Critics are enraged with Governor Nathan Deal and the sponsors of the bill with their oversight. With the Recession, Georgia unemployed adults were told to be "Retrained" and they would be taken care of with the HOPE scholarship. With new legislation, no warning period was given before the funds were no longer made available, and they are forced to either quit, get jobs and drop to part time, or to get loans. Various Student Government Organizations support amendments to the Bill, and there are ongoing petitions at Change.org.

Similar scholarship lotteries in other states

External links

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