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Hope Scholarship aid surpasses $10 billion
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University of North Georgia students gather in the school's student center Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at the Gainesville campus. 1.8 million students have now been served by Hope Scholarship program, surpassing the $10 billion mark in public financing of higher education in the University System of Georgia since it began 25 years ago. - photo by Scott Rogers

Over a quarter century, about 1.8 million Georgia students have achieved their scholastic aspirations with help from the Hope Scholarship program.

This includes Gainesville City School System Superintendent Jeremy Williams.

“As a previous Hope recipient, I continue to be optimistic the program opens the door for many students and their families to higher education opportunities,” he told The Times.

This year, the scholarship program surpassed $10 billion in total financial aid assistance awarded to students to attend eligible postsecondary institutions located within the state.

More than 8,000 students across every University of North Georgia campus have received financial assistance through Hope during each of the last three academic years.

University of North Georgia

Number of enrolled students receiving HOPE Scholarship

  • 2015-16: 8,068
  • 2016-17: 8,231
  • 2017-18: 8,101*

*-Final total will not be known until the end of academic year in August.

For more information about Hope, visit www.GAfutures.org.

And that has helped keep student loan debt at record lows.

The university was also singled out by U.S. News & World Report this year as being the top regional university in the South for the lowest amount of student debt load at graduation.

Kate Maine, UNG chief of staff, said the school also uses a Student Money Management Center to help students learn budgeting and personal finance skills.

Supported by the Georgia Lottery Corp., the Hope Scholarship Program was created in 1993.

The Hope program offers financial aid assistance to any Georgia student, regardless of his or her field of study, in liberal arts universities and technical colleges through six subprograms: the Hope Scholarship, the Zell Miller Scholarship, the Hope Grant, the Zell Miller Grant, the Hope Career Grant and the Hope GED Grant.

“The Hope Scholarship program is one of our most effective investments for developing Georgia’s growing workforce,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement last week. “For more than 25 years, Hope has set our state apart by offering one of the most generous state scholarships for students, allowing us to keep our brightest students in Georgia so that they will thrive here after finishing their education.”

Williams said the scholarship allows educators to guide students to future success in academia.

“The potential return on investment is unparalleled for our communities,” he added.