The Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship is a merit-based program for higher education in Georgia. The Hope Scholarship Program awards a set amount of money toward a recipient's classes, regardless of what semester courses are taken. The scholarship therefore pays for summer classes, too. The scholarship is funded by revenue from the Georgia Lottery. As of the 2009-2010 award period, $640 million had been awarded through more than 248,000 scholarships.
To receive funding from the HOPE Scholarship Program, students must earn a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) from a HOPE-eligible high school or home-study program--or earn a GED--and score in the 85th percentile on the SAT or ACT tests. A student who graduated from high school or a home-study program must earn a 3.0 GPA on 30 semester hours or 45 quarter-hours of college-level coursework.
Eligible students also must be enrolled in an eligible public or private college or university in Georgia, meet HOPE's Georgia residency requirements and be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990. Students must not be in default or owe a refund on a financial aid program.
The HOPE Scholarship pays full tuition, $150 per semester or $100 per quarter as a textbook allowance and most student fees required for the student to attend a public college in Georgia. The scholarship continues until the semester in which the student attempts the 127th credit for semesters or 190th credit for quarters. For HOPE Scholarship students who attend private colleges, the amount awarded is set at $3,500 per year and applied toward tuition.
The scholarship program's goals are "to offer academically superior students who would not otherwise be able to afford college the opportunity to receive higher education" and "to offer an incentive to academically-superior students who can afford to attend college to remain in the state of Georgia, countering the 'brain drain' phenomenon Georgia was experiencing prior to the program, when many talented students were attending universities in other states," according to the website GAcollege411.
How to Apply
Students planning to attend a public college, university or technical college in Georgia can apply for the HOPE Scholarship by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or applying for the scholarship through electronic or paper application. Students planning to attend a private college or university must complete the HOPE/TEG application.