ATLANTA (February 7, 2012) – The lottery funding model is broken. HOPE Program expenditures outpace lottery revenues and are expected to increase while lottery revenue growth is expected to flatten. The Georgia Student Finance Commission projects that the HOPE Program will run a deficit of $163 million by FY 2016, which may result in HOPE awards that cover less than half of tuition costs by FY 2016. Georgia cannot afford to prolong Lottery Fund reform. Failure to adequately address HOPE’s fiscal challenges threatens the future value of both Georgia’s Pre-K and HOPE programs.

Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) today released its new report, HOPE on a Tightrope: Maximizing Lottery Funds to Yield the Best Education Returns. The policy brief provides an overview of HOPE’s fiscal challenges and proposes six recommendations that will maximize investment of lottery funds in education. The recommendations make deliberate investments in early education and higher education, prioritizing investment in Georgia’s Pre-K Program and the HOPE Grant, while reorienting who benefits from the HOPE Scholarship Program.

“Addressing the fiscal challenges of Georgia’s HOPE Program is about more than simply preserving two education programs,” said GBPI Policy Analyst Cedric Johnson. “Reforming HOPE is about aligning funding strategies for early education and higher education with Georgia’s broader economic development strategy.”

Reform to the HOPE Program must address financial sustainability and access. The structure of the HOPE Program should align annual Pre-K and HOPE expenditures with annual lottery revenues and promote access to higher education for Georgia students.

GBPI offers the following recommendations:

  • Increase percentage of annual lottery revenue for Georgia Pre-K Program from the current 33 percent to 40 percent by FY 2016.
  • Reduce 3.0 GPA requirement for the HOPE Grant Program to a 2.5 GPA.
  • Institute $100,000 household income cap on the HOPE Scholarship and Grant programs.
  • Institute a sliding scale for traditional HOPE Grant and Scholarship award coverage of tuition costs.
  • Provide Zell Miller Scholars, from households with income in excess of $100,000, HOPE awards that covers 70 percent of tuition.
  • Convert existing Student Access Loan Program into College Access & Persistence Grant Program.

“Reforming how we spend lottery dollars presents a unique opportunity to use investments in early education and higher education to build a workforce that can meet 21st century business demands and attract good-paying jobs to Georgia,” said GBPI Executive Director Alan Essig. “In order to get the biggest education bang for our limited lottery dollars, we must fundamentally re-think and re-prioritize how Georgia spends these dollars.”

Download the full report.

GBPI Policy Analyst Cedric Johnson is available for comments and interviews.

Media Contact:
Utoia Wooten
404.420.1324 ext. 109



 About Georgia Budget & Policy Institute

GBPI is the state’s leading independent, nonpartisan nonprofit engaged in research and education about the fiscal and economic health of the state of Georgia. GBPI provides reliable, timely analysis of Georgia’s budget and tax policies, and promotes greater state government fiscal accountability, improved services and an enhanced quality of life for all Georgians.









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