Georgia Lottery funds HOPE Scholarship, supports students


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Participants of the lottery are able to view the possible winning numbers on the billboard for the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery game prizes.

Alannah Edwards

The Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship, one of the most impactful education incentives in Georgia’s history, serves as a resource for students who wish to attend eligible Georgia colleges, universities or technical colleges with financial assistance. With the goal of maximizing revenues for specific educational programs, the Georgia Lottery Commission (GLC) transferred $4.23 million to the Lottery for Education Account raised for HOPE & Pre-K programs.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) is the administrator of over 20 state and lottery-funded scholarships, grants and service-cancelable loan programs. The organization’s goal is to ensure that Georgians are given the financial assistance they need to complete their higher education.

“As the state’s single higher education finance agency, our mission is to promote and increase access to education for Georgians,” Director of Affairs at GSFC Hayley McCloud said. “GSFC has a dedicated outreach representative assigned to every part of the state who can talk through our programs and resources. They can meet with students to discuss our nationally recognized HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships, HOPE and Zell Miller Grants, how to use a 529 savings account to pay college expenses, or suggest other financial aid programs students may be eligible for.”

The Georgia Lottery was created in 1992 by a group of Georgia natives with the goal of enhancing education funding. The Lottery for Education Act created the Georgia Lottery Corporation in order to regulate and manage the lottery. Since then, the popularity of the organization and the funding put towards the scholarship have increased.

“The HOPE Scholarship Program has awarded over $13 billion to more than 2 million Georgia students since its inception,” McCloud said. “Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship is available to Georgia residents who have demonstrated academic achievement and provides money to assist students with a portion of the tuition cost at a HOPE Scholarship eligible college or university.”

While the Georgia Lottery is widely recognized and participated in by Atlanta residents, some students were unaware that the organization was the source of funding for scholarships such as HOPE.

“As a senior looking into potential scholarship programs, you would think that I would know where the money comes from for HOPE,” senior Jonas Loesel said. “ I find it extremely fascinating that the earnings from such a large organization selling something as small as two dollar lottery tickets go towards education. I didn’t know that before.”

College Career Center counselor Samantha Collier believes that the reason that students are unaware of the mechanics behind the HOPE Scholarship is because of a lack of interest surrounding attending school in-state.

“Midtown is a highly academically competitive school meaning most kids are looking to attend college out of the state of Georgia,” Collier said. “HOPE can provide students with incredible opportunities and should be considered during every student’s college search.”

While making a variety of opportunities understood, Collier wants to inform students of their financial options of attending college in-state.

“There are many different subcategories of what HOPE can offer and I do my best to make that known to students while attempting to introduce them to local colleges,” Collier said. “Overall, I find that the scholarship is very accessible to students and that should be taken advantage of.”

McCloud agrees, saying that the HOPE Scholarship is easily accessible and encourages all Georgia students to create an account on the HOPE platform, that caters to the students’ individual needs.

“Creating a GAfutures account only takes a few minutes and allows students to track their eligibility for HOPE and Zell Miller programs, learn about scholarship opportunities, and find guidance on the application and financial aid process,” McCloud said. “ has a 24/7 multi-lingual virtual chat advisor, as well as multi-lingual resource guides on the college planning process.”

As another resource for students seeking assistance with financial aid, GSFC is determined to increase the number of students eligible for HOPE.

“The HOPE Scholarship empowered me to achieve an affordable education,” McCloud said. “My personal and professional experience has shown me the value of starting the conversation about higher education planning early. I encourage everyone with a middle or high school student to create a account and to utilize our outreach representatives.”