Can Hope Scholarship be Used for Graduate Degree or Graduate School?

The quick answer is: “NO”, it cannot be used for a graduate degree or graduate school.  Upon first reading of the regulations, you may not see this important bit of information.  I’ve taken the key points from the Hope Scholarship Regulations to show what the law says with respect to graduate school:

Attempted-Hours Limit.
A student is ineligible to receive HOPE Scholarship payment once he or she reaches the Attempted-Hours limit of 127 semester or 190 quarter hours.
Students Enrolled in specific Undergraduate Degree programs of study designed to require more than 127 semester or 190 quarter hours of coursework for graduation or First Professional Degree Programs are eligible for HOPE Scholarship payment for a maximum of 127 semester or 190 quarter Attempted-Hours.

First Professional Degree Program.
A student enrolled in a First Professional Degree program may receive HOPE
Scholarship payment until such student has attempted 127 semester or 190
quarter hours.

You’ll notice that the term “first professional degree program” is used in the regulation wording.  It is important to understand the definition of this term:
“First Professional Degree Program” means a non-undergraduate program of
study that: (1) Accepts students after the completion of two or three years of
postsecondary study; (2) Results in the award of a non-undergraduate degree;
and (3) Has been specifically approved by the Commission for inclusion as a
First Professional Degree Program. For the 2012-2013 Award Year, Doctor of
Pharmacy Degree Programs, Masters of Health Science with a major in
Occupational Therapy Programs, Doctor of Chiropractic Degree Programs, and
Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs offered by Eligible Postsecondary
Institutions are approved by the Commission, and therefore considered First
Professional Degree Programs. Regardless of approval by the Commission as a
First Professional Degree Program, no student is eligible to receive HOPE
Scholarship payment once he or she has earned a Baccalaureate Degree of any
type, from any postsecondary institution, at any time.

This is very clear wording with respect to the eligibility of the Hope Scholarship for graduate degree study.  The last sentence clearly states that no student is eligible to receive HOPE Scholarship payment once he or she as earned a bachelors degree of any type, from any institution, at any time.

So, not only is a graduate degree not eligible, but a second bachelors degree is also not eligible, and any coursework beyond the bachelors degree is not eligible.


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