The HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) scholarship is a unique college scholarship created in Georgia in 1993. HOPE provides eligible students with full-tuition payments, a textbook allowance and pays many mandatory students fees. The scholarship is merit based and funded completely by the Georgia state lottery. Not all college students qualify for HOPE. They must meet not only a certain minimum grade point average (GPA), but also several other requirements.
HOPE applicants must meet certain residency requirements. Most students must have been classified as residents of Georgia at the time of their high school graduation. They must also have been residents of Georgia for a full 12 consecutive months before the first day of college. If a student was not a Georgia resident at the time of graduation from high school, but has lived in the state for 24 months before the start of college, he also qualifies. Once approved for a HOPE scholarship, students must remain residents of Georgia for as long as they want to receive it. If a student has a break in enrollment of two or more semesters and becomes a resident of another state, he will again have to live in Georgia for 12 consecutive months before being eligible for HOPE.
HOPE applicants must be United States citizens or eligible non-citizens. Eligible non-citizens include permanent resident aliens, conditional permanent resident aliens or individuals officially designated as refugees or asylees. Applicants must have been citizens or eligible non-citizens for 12 consecutive months before the first day of classes.
HOPE is only given to students who are enrolling in undergraduate degree programs in Georgia. There is no minimum number of hours a student must be enrolled in to qualify, but she must be enrolled at a public technical college or public or private university. The number of hours does help determine the amount of the award for students enrolled in private colleges.
Students who transfer into a Georgia institute of higher education will have to wait before they can apply for a HOPE scholarship. Besides meeting the usual residency standards, transfer students are not eligible for HOPE until they have attended the equivalent of 30 college semester hours.
Grade Point Average
The minimum grade point average to both get and keep a HOPE scholarship is 3.0, or a B average. Freshman students must have a 3.0 GPA from high school coursework in order to qualify. Once enrolled, a student continues to be eligible as long as he maintains a 3.0 average.