· Started in 1993 by the legalization of the Georgia Lottery, the HOPE Scholarship Program was created to cover full tuition for students who received 3.0 GPAs.
· The HOPE Scholarship has been wildly successful but the pie of available revenue is only so big even despite the Lottery’s strong performance. As population, enrollment and tuition increase, HOPE cannot keep up. Students and their families currently shoulder an increasingly large portion of tuition and fees, even with HOPE.
· In 2011, the Legislature was forced to reform the HOPE Scholarship Program and in doing so, they raised academic standards for qualification. After the 2011 reforms, there was an 89 percent drop in full-tuition scholarships, forcing students out of the program. Technical colleges were especially hit hard.
· For the 2016 school year, HOPE will only cover a portion of tuition costs, not full tuition as promised in 1993 when Georgia voters approved HOPE at the ballot box. At Georgia Tech, a HOPE Scholarship will cover 71 percent of a semester’s $4,906 tuition bill or about $1,422 shy of full tuition. At UGA, a HOPE Scholarship will cover 75 percent or about $1,187 short of full tuition.
· If current trends continue, the HOPE Scholarship will continue to decrease every year. Without a fully-funded HOPE Scholarship Program, college will become increasingly out of reach for thousands of deserving Georgia students
· Without HOPE, Georgia’s families will be forced to reconsider sending their children to college. As it currently stands even with HOPE, an estimated 62 percent of Georgia’s college students have a loan, and the average amount of debt is nearly $27,000.
· Individuals with significant levels of education-related debt save less for retirement, hesitate to buy a home, second-guess starting a new business, and delay getting married.