Georgia Cannot Live On HOPE Alone: An Examination of Student Choice and the Georgia HOPE Scholarship Amidst Economic Decline



Keller, Tierney F

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This thesis examined the influence of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship Program on student choice to attend or not attend University System of Georgia (USG) institutions. The study focused on the factors that influenced Georgia high school graduates’ enrollment decisions as the value of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship lessened with declining Georgia Lottery funding. Using a combination of purposeful and snowball methods of data collection, participants were interviewed for this study. Georgia high school graduates who used the Georgia HOPE Scholarship to attend a USG institution, those who chose to forego their Georgia HOPE Scholarship to attend a different institution, and those who chose not attend an institution of higher education at all were interviewed. Participant responses were examined through the student choice perspective using Laura Perna’s (2006) four-layer model incorporating social, economic, and policy context, higher education context, school and community context, and habitus context.



Georgia HOPE, College choice