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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;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(3), pages 629-662, September.
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