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Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally: Public Policy Issues of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship Program and the Lottery for Education

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Abstract

The HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally_ scholarship program, which began in 1993, is one of the most popular public policies ever enacted in the state of Georgia. This lottery-funded program pays for tuition, fees, and books at any public college or university in the state for any Georgia student who graduates from high school with a B or better grade point average (GPA). To keep the scholarship, students must maintain the B or better GPA in college. The program's popularity has spread well beyond Georgia's borders; at least a dozen other states have instituted similar broad-based merit scholarship programs, and most state legislatures have considered legislation to start similar programs. The federal HOPE tax credit, established in 1997, took its name from Georgia's program, though the originally-proposed merit-based component of the program was not enacted. In light of its popularity, HOPE raises a number of important policy questions regarding both the program itself and its funding source, the Georgia Lottery for Education: (1) What effect has the HOPE Scholarship program had on student performance in high school? (2) What effect has the HOPE Scholarship program had on student performance in college: (3) Who pays for and who benefits from the Georgia lottery and the programs it funds? (4) Has the scholarship program caused inflation in the cost of higher education in Georgia? This policy brief describes the HOPE Scholarship program and the Georgia Lottery for Education, summarizes a series of studies examining the program, offers recommendations for the design of merit-based financial aid programs, and suggests topics for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Rubenstein, 2003. "Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally: Public Policy Issues of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship Program and the Lottery for Education," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 25, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:25
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    File URL: https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/cpr/publications/cpr_policy_briefs/pb25.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
    2. Rubenstein, Ross & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Who Pays and Who Benefits? Examining the Distributional Consequences of the Georgia Lottery for Education," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 2), pages 223-238, June.
    3. Gary T. Henry & Ross Rubenstein, 2002. "Paying for grades: Impact of merit-based financial aid on educational quality," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 93-109.
    4. Rubenstein, Ross & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Who Pays and Who Benefits? Examining the Distributional Consequences of the Georgia Lottery for Education," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(2), pages 223-238, June.
    5. Christopher M. Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa Sridhar, 2005. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Scholarship," HEW 0501002, EconWPA.
    6. Thomas S. Dee & Linda A. Jackson, 1999. "Who Loses HOPE? Attrition from Georgia’s College Scholarship Program," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 379-390, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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