HOPE Scholarship

The HOPE Scholarship is a university scholarship program in the U.S. state of Georgia. HOPE (a reverse acronym for "helping outstanding pupils educationally") is entirely funded by ticket sales from the Georgia Lottery and is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission. It was created in 1993 by the state legislature and has since been copied by several other states.

The program is entirely merit-based, meaning that a student's ability to pay for his/her own education is not a factor in determining if he/she receives it.

The basic requirements are:

* The student is a resident of the state of Georgia
* The student graduated high school with a 3.0 GPA ('B average')
* The student maintains a 3.0 GPA throughout college

The scholarship pays full tuition, a $150 per semester book allowance, and most mandatory fees for the recipient to attend any public university in Georgia (or an equivalent amount towards tuition for private universities in Georgia) up until the semester in which they take their 127th academic hour (roughly the time required to earn an undergraduate bachelor's degree).

In 2005, a decrease in lottery revenue led to questions about to 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 scores (thus negating the effect of grade inflation), or checking students' GPAs more frequently to avoid paying tuition for students who had dipped below 3.0. Political rivals of Governor Sonny Perdue criticized his management of the popular program, and HOPE's future became an important state political issue. However, much of that year's debate was rendered moot when lottery sales increased the next year.