Hope Scholarship increases GPA and attendance rates

According to the article “Staying on Target for College” by Andrew P. Kelly, KC Deane, and Taryn Hochleitner June 2014, the Hope Scholarship program can be linked to an increase in average high school gpa scores and percentage attendance of graduating high school seniors attending college.  According to the report:

“Translating Aspirations into Behavior. Long before
students apply to or enroll in college, they develop
educational aspirations and expectations and begin to
behave in ways that will support those expectations—
taking the right courses, studying hard, and preparing
for exams. While upward of 90 percent of high school
students from low-income families may aspire to attend
college, only 54 percent of these students realistically
expect they will be able to do so.  Without a concrete
sense that some kind of postsecondary education is
a possibility if they choose to apply themselves, even
qualified students will be unlikely to behave in ways
that set them up for success.
The good news is, research suggests that it is possible
to influence aspirations. Take the Georgia HOPE
scholarship program, which provides funding for Georgia
students to attend a Georgia public college or university
so long as they graduate high school with a
3.0 GPA. In their 2002 study, Gary Henry and Ross
Rubenstein found that the percentage of high school
students earning a GPA of a B or better increased by
2.9 percentage points between when the program
began in 1993 and when the class of 1998 graduated.
Moreover, as University of Michigan economist Susan
Dynarski found, “After the introduction of HOPE, the
attendance rate of 18–19-year-olds in Georgia rose 7.9
percentage points more than it did in the other southeastern

Georgia Second Highest Tuition Increase in Country

Georgia gets the dubious distinction of coming in second place…second place in the country for net tuition and fee increases in the 5 year period from 2008-2013.  Although many city, county, and state government spending held to near flat in the same period, Georgia’s net tuition revenue per student nearly doubled with an increase of 93 percent.  So what state achieved the first place distinction in this dubious contest?  That goes to New Mexico, where the net tuition and fee increase in the 5 year period almost tripled; it increased by 188 percent.

The data is reported by the “State Higher Education Finance” report which was released by the nonprofit association of higher education chief executive officers.

The  calculations are based on “net” tuition which takes into account both the tuition and fees that students pay and also how much state aid adjusts those costs through programs such as Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship program. The amounts were adjusted for inflation, with all dollars expressed in constant 2013 values.

However, although Georgia students pay a lot more in tuition than they did five years ago, the average tuition paid by a full-time Georgia student, is just under $1000 less than the national average with Georgia at $4,484 with the U.S. average at $5,445, the report notes.

During this time period of increased tuition and fees, Georgia was also reducing the award amounts funded through the Hope Scholarship Program.  Based on GSFC (Georgia Student Finance Commission) numbers,  the HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant declined from a peak of $748 million in the 2010-11 school year to about $526 million for the current year.

With new rigor requirements, GPA levels (Zell Miller Scholarship), and other changes, Georgia State lawmakers also cut the number of students getting the awards as well as the value of the scholarships. For example, approximately 256,000 students received HOPE aid in 2010-11, but only approximately 198,000 received it this year.

There is some speculation that the HOPE Scholarship may have actually helped catalyze the steep rise in tuition costs, said state Rep. Spencer Frye.

Initially, HOPE covered the full costs of tuition and fees, so when the state Board of Regents hiked tuition, the dollar amount of HOPE scholarships increased in consort to compensate.  With the cost reductions in the Hope program, that is no longer the case.

Looking more closely at Georgia’s state research universities, the increase is more dramatic: in 2002-2003, University of Georgia undergrad tuition and fees were $3,616 per year. This year, it was $10,262 — not adjusted for inflation — according to state Board of Regents statistics; next year the tuition rate increases $560.

The State Board of Regents approved a 7 percent tuition increase for UGA. Georgia Tech students will see an increase of  9 percent more next year, but at most state schools the increase is a more modest 2.5 percent.

Now that the Hope Scholarship has gone through the cost reduction process, perhaps Georgia’s state universities should as well.  Perhaps, in the next five years, Georgia can come strive for best in class for lowest tuition and fees increases.


Georgia HB 697 may form Zell Miller Scholarship for technical colleges

The state of Georgia General Assembly has enacted a new bill entitled House Bill (HB) 697 (HOPE: revise amount of grants; equal student’s cost of tuition) which would create a version of the Zell Miller scholarship targeted to technical college students who maintain at least a 3.5 GPA.

This version of the Zell Miller Grant will provide full tuition for any students at technical colleges in the state of Georgia by including and defining a new paragraph as part of the original Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility for students that attend qualified technical colleges in the state of Georgia.

HB 697 reads that a student attending a technical college in the state of Georgia who maintains a minimum GPA of 3.5 will qualify as a “Zell Miller Grant Scholar.” With this designation, all of the student’s collegiate expenses are then paid in full.

This bill does not change the eligibility or reward amounts for four year university students.  These students cannot qualify to be scholars under this bill. Zell Miller scholarship students at these universities must maintain a 3.7 GPA to receive full tuition through the Zell Miller scholarship.


For those students at technical colleges that are eligible, their tuition, books and room and board are all paid with the grant.

The Zell Miller Scholarship was created from the Hope Scholarship in 2011. They are now two separate scholarships.

The original Zell Miller Scholarship was only offered to high school students who maintained a 3.7 GPA and graduated with that GPA or higher. The award also requires that students receive a combined score of 1200 on the SAT or a 26 composite score on the ACT on one sitting of the test, according to the GAcollege411 website.  The student can also qualify by being the Valedictorian or Salutatorian for their graduating high school class. These requirements along with being a Georgia resident and other HOPE scholarship eligibility requirements also determined if a student would receive the Zell Miller scholarship.

Key Points of the Hope Scholarship Program

Key Points of the HOPE Scholarship Program

  • Students must keep a minimum 3.0 HOPE grade point average (GPA) to stay qualified for the HOPE Scholarship.
  • All college credit hours taken (attempted) since high school graduation are used in calculating the HOPE Attempted Hours and the HOPE GPA.
  • HOPE Scholarship students are monitored to see if they are maintaining a minimum 3.0 HOPE GPA at the end of the semesters where they have attempted their 30th, 60th, 90th hours and at the conclusion of each spring semester.
  • The HOPE Scholarship Award Amount is based on a per credit hour basis. Payment is maxed out or capped at 15 hours per semester.
  • Once a student has 127 HOPE Attempted Hours or he/she has a total of 127 HOPE Paid Hours, or has earned a bachelor’s degree, the student is no longer eligible. This is applicable to all degree programs.
  • HOPE Scholarship has a 127 hour “hard” maximum cap. As an example, if a student ends a semester with 126 HOPE Attempted or Paid Hours, the HOPE Scholarship will only pay for 1 hour of the HOPE award rate for the following semester (as long as the student satisfies other eligibility requirements).  However, if the degree program requires more than 127 hours, the HOPE Scholarship will cover the hours that are required for the degree program.
  • Students who lose their HOPE Scholarship are only allowed to regain qualification one time.
  • HOPE Scholarship eligibility for students who received HOPE Scholarship before summer 2011 will end June 30, 2015. Eligibility for students not receiving the HOPE Scholarship before the summer of 2011 will expire 7 years after the date of the students’ high school graduation.

See more information regarding the HOPE Scholarship Program that is available on the GAcollege411 Web site.

You can review the 2013-14 HOPE Scholarship regulations at the Hope Scholarship Knowledgebase.

Example HOPE Scholarship Award Amounts for the University of Georgia

The dollar amount of each semester’s HOPE Scholarship award is determined by multiplying $218.46 X the number of hours in which the student is enrolled, up to 15 hours.

Since the HOPE Scholarship amount is based on the total number of hours enrolled in the semester, the HOPE amount will be less when students enroll in fewer than 15 hours as reflected below. The HOPE Award Amount cannot be increased for students who enroll in more than 15 hours.  The award assumes that all tuition above 15 hours is actually capped at a 15 hour rate; that is, 15 hours and above is considered a full time rate and is charged at 15 hours.

See the GSFC “HOPE Award Amounts by Institution for Fiscal Year 2014, Beginning Fall Term” at here for enrollment in 15 hours or less.

HOPE Scholarship and the Flat Rate Tuition Model
Student Enrolled in 15 hours
Tuition Assessed:   $4,014.00
HOPE Payment: - $3,276.90
Out of Pocket: = $737.10
Student Enrolled in 13 hours
Tuition Assessed:   $4,014.00
HOPE Payment: - $2,839.98
Out of Pocket: = $1,174.02
Out of pocket difference between 15 and 13 hours: $436.92

Additional UGA Specific HOPE Scholarship Information

HOPE Grade Point Average (GPA) and HOPE Attempted Hours under at +/- system

As an example, the University of Georgia implements a Plus/Minus grading system; however, not all schools have a +/- system; therefore, for the purpose of calculating the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for HOPE Scholarship eligibility, only letter grades of A through F are recognized so any Plus or Minus will be disregarded.

2013-14 HOPE Amounts (Maximum $218.46 per Credit Hour)

Flat Tuition Rate Students
Hours 13-14 Tuition Covered by HOPE
15 $3,276.9
14 $3,058.44
13 $2,839.98
12 $2,621.52
11 $2,403.06
10 $2,184.60
9 $1,966.14
8 $1,747.68
7 $1,529.22
6 $1,310.76
5 $1,092.30
4 $873.84
3 $655.38
2 $436.92
1 $218.46

The Zell Miller Scholarship Program

For a student to qualify for the new Zell Miller Scholarship, the student must graduate from an eligible high school 2007 or later with at minimum 3.7 grade point average (GPA) as calculated by HOPE Scholarship regulations and the student also must have scored at least a 1200 on the SAT (Math and Verbal) or a 26 on the ACT Composite, in a single test administration prior to high school graduation or be their high school Valedictorian or Salutatorian.

Initial eligibility for the Zell Miller Scholarship is determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). Students determined eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship are subject to all the HOPE Scholarship eligibility requirements except they must maintain a minimum 3.3 grade point average (GPA) on all coursework attempted since high school graduation instead of the minimum 3.0 gpa required for HOPE Scholarship recipients.

You can review the 2013-14 Zell Miller Scholarship regulations at the Hope Scholarship Knowledge base.

Zell Miller Scholarship Award Amounts

For 2013-14 the Zell Miller Scholarship provides a maximum Award Amount of:

  • $4,014 to students enrolled in 7 or more hours, and
  • $2,385 to students enrolled in 6 or fewer hours.

Returning Students and the Zell Miller Scholarship

The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) has provided colleges and universities the names of students who graduated from a Georgia high school prior to 2011 with at least a 3.7 grade point average (GPA) and (prior to high school graduation) scored at least a 1200 on the SAT or a 26 on the ACT in a single test administration or were their high school valedictorian or salutatorian. The Zell Miller Scholarship will be awarded to these students instead of the HOPE Scholarship if they are currently eligible for the HOPE Scholarship and their college HOPE Grade Point Average (GPA) at their most recent HOPE Scholarship checkpoint was at least 3.3.

Maximum 127 Attempted or Paid Hours

The Zell Miller Scholarship has a 127 Attempted Hour and Paid Hour hard cap. All college credit hours attempted since high school graduation are counted in determining the number of Zell Scholarship Attempted Hours. If the student finishes a semester with 126 HOPE and/or Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted or Paid hours, the Zell Miller Scholarship will only pay for 1 hour the following semester (assuming the student continues to meet other eligibility requirements).

Zell Miller Scholarship Grade Point Average (GPA) and Attempted Hours

As with the HOPE Scholarship, Plus/Minus grades are not used for calculation of the Zell Miller Scholarship GPA.  For the purpose of calculating the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility, regulations recognize only letter grades of A through F so any Plus or Minus will be disregarded.


2013-14 Zell Miller Scholarship Amounts


Flat Tuition Rate Students
Hours 13-14 Tuition Covered by Zell
15 $4,014.00
14 $4,014.00
13 $4,014.00
12 $4,014.00
11 $4,014.00
10 $4,014.00
9 $4,014.00
8 $4,014.00
7 $4,014.00
6 $2,385.00
5 $2,385.00
4 $2,385.00
3 $2,385.00
2 $2,385.00
1 $2,385.00

Hope Scholarship and Dual Enrollment Courses

Hope Scholarship and Dual Enrollment Courses

As a result of recently passed legislation (House Bill 131) during the 2013 Legislative Session,
dual enrollment courses taken at an eligible postsecondary institution after July 1, 2013 will now
be weighted in the calculation of a student’s grade point average (GPA) for the purpose of
determining eligibility for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships. Dual enrollment coursework in
the core content areas of English, mathematics, social studies, science, and foreign language,
will be weighted the same as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)

Continue reading