Monday, February 24, 2014

Student research: funding structure for HOPE Scholarship

Written by Shaun Kleber, UGA sophomore from Atlanta and Carl Vinson Institute of Government Student Fellow. He is pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and political science.

Since its inception in 1993, the HOPE Scholarship has disbursed billions of dollars to hundreds of thousands of Georgia students. It has helped the University of Georgia transform from a school with below-average admissions selectively to one of the top public schools in the nation. And, probably most importantly, it has provided economically disadvantaged students with an opportunity at higher education they may not have had otherwise.

But because of the unreliability of lottery funds-the source of funding for the HOPE Scholarship-the program is potentially facing dramatic changes and even cuts.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government strives to improve government at many levels, and as a Vinson Institute Fellow this semester, I am hoping to further that goal by investigating the best way to improve the funding structure for the HOPE Scholarship.

I am working with faculty mentor Wes Clarke, senior public service associate at the Institute of Government, who researched the efficacy of this scholarship program in the early 2000s and has an impressive background in economic research. While my background and interests lie more in education policy than economics, I am looking forward to working with Dr. Clarke to investigate this timely topic that is relevant to so many students at UGA and other colleges and universities around the state.

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