Monday, November 25, 2013

The ‘New’ HOPE

The HOPE scholarship, funded by the Georgia Lottery, has been around since the mid-90s and has allowed many high school graduates to continue their education when other means may not have been possible.  Originally, any student graduating high school with a GPA of 3.0 - 4.0 did not have to worry about how they would fund a college education. The HOPE would take care of the tuition and fees and provide a stipend to cover the cost for books.  I would think most people would agree that this program has been an overwhelming success.  However, there have been some changes to the program within the past few years.  Essentially, the scholarship has been separated into the HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship, with award amounts determined by the student’s GPA and academic performance. 

What is still referred to as the HOPE Scholarship has academic requirements that mirror those of the ‘old’ HOPE Scholarship; however the amount of tuition coverage has changed.  Any student graduating with a GPA of 3.0 to 3.64 is eligible for a portion of college tuition to be paid for by the program.  While the entire amount of the tuition is not covered like before, it’s still a big chunk – between 75% and 85% depending on the school.  If the student can maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for college-level coursework, which is evaluated at 30, 60 and 90 attempted semester hours (45, 90 and 135 quarter hours), the scholarship will continue to cover the tuition.  Under the ‘new’ HOPE provisions, the student is now responsible for books and mandatory fees – costs that were covered before.  There is a table that details the amounts of tuition covered by HOPE for public and private postsecondary colleges and universities at 

The remaining part that made up the old HOPE scholarship program is now called the Zell Miller Scholarship, named for the former Georgia governor.  Any student who graduates with a GPA of 3.7 or higher and scores at least a 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT will have 100% of their tuition to a Georgia public college or university covered.   In order to keep the scholarship, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.30 for college level courses, which, again, is evaluated at 30, 60 and 90 attempted semester hours (45, 90 and 135 quarter hours).  As is the case with the HOPE scholarship, books and additional fees are not covered.

Both the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships can be used to cover tuition at a private college or university.  The educational requirements are still the same, but the award amounts are different.  For fiscal year 2013-2014, the Zell Miller scholarship covers a maximum of $4,000 of tuition per academic year for full-time students while the Hope scholarship covers a maximum of $3,708.  Tuition coverage for students taking less than twelve semester hours is 50% of the full-time amount.

The information summarized in this blog is by no means meant to be comprehensive.  There is more information about these scholarships, as well as others at
Brad Williamson