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The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program


  • Christopher Cornwell

    (University of Georgia)

  • David B. Mustard

    (University of Georgia and IZA)

  • Deepa J. Sridhar

    (Ashenfelter and Ashmore)


Introduced in 1993, Georgia's HOPE Program sponsors a merit-based scholarship for students attending in-state colleges and a grant for those entering technical schools. There are no income restrictions. Comparing Georgia with other southeastern states over the 1988–97 period, HOPE increased freshmen enrollment by 5.9%, or 2,889 students per year, which amounts to only 15% of freshmen scholarship recipients. Four-year colleges account for most of the gain; a reduction in students leaving the state explains two-thirds of the 4-year-school effect attributable to freshmen who have recently graduated from high school. White and black enrollments increased because of HOPE.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa J. Sridhar, 2006. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:4:p:761-786

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(3), pages 629-662, September.
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