The HOPE scholarship, the hallmark program of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), has served as a means to help students achieve their goals of a college degree since 1993. Although there have been changes over the past twenty something years of the scholarship’s existence, it has served the students of Georgia well.
Presently, the scholarship is two-tiered. The top tier or the Zell Miller scholarship (named for the former Governor who founded the scholarship) requires that a student must graduate with a 3.7 gpa and earn a 26 ACT score or a 1200 SAT score at one sitting and four courses of rigor (3 courses of rigor for the Class of 2016). Superscoring is not allowed. These students will be the recipient of tuition paid in full. For example, the University of Georgia costs roughly 25,000 a year. Tuition cost is 8,000, so a Zell Miller recipient would then only owe 17,000 off the total cost of UGA thanks to the Zell Miller scholarship. The second tier, the HOPE scholarship, will be awarded to a student who graduates from high school with a 3.0 gpa and 4 courses of rigor (3 courses of rigor for Class of 2016). This scholarship pays roughly 90% of the tuition. If tuition is 8,000 dollars a year, then the scholarship would pay roughly 7,200.00 for the year. Georgia students have been blessed to have the opportunity to earn such a large chunk of their college tuition; few states offer such assistance to their students.
Have you ever wondered what HOPE stands for? Helping Outstanding Students Educationally. In order to keep the HOPE scholarship after high school graduation, a student must maintain a 3.3 for the Zell scholarship and 3.0 gpa for the HOPE scholarship. There are multiple gpa checks throughout one’s college tenure. The GSFC will check a student’s gpa at the end of each spring, 30 hours, 60 hours and 90 hours. A student may lose the scholarship at any checkpoint but may only gain it back at 30, 60 or 90 hours. One may lose HOPE once and earn it back; lose it a second time, and it is gone forever. The scholarship will cover the typical hours required for an undergraduate degree (around 127) and is good for 7 years after one’s high school graduation. To be eligible to receive either of the HOPE scholarships, a student must graduate from an eligible, accredited Georgia high school, and their parents must be legal residents of the State of Georgia.
I want to encourage all our high school students to commit to working hard and making earning the HOPE scholarship a personal goal. The Class of 2016 has 68 % of seniors who will most likely be recipients of the HOPE scholarship. What an incredible feeling to know that your hard work and late study nights have manifested in a scholarship that will pay for a large portion of your college costs! Fantastic Job Class of 2016!!!