HOPE Scholarship

Do I have to be admitted to Georgia College & State University before I apply for the HOPE Scholarship?

No.  Prospective students may complete either the GSFApps once or the FAFSA after October 1st each year prior to completing the application process for admission.  However, we will not actually evaluate your application or HOPE Scholarship eligibility until you are admitted to Georgia College.

Do I have to complete an application to receive my HOPE Scholarship every year?

This depends on the application you choose to complete.  If you are ONLY interested in receiving the HOPE Scholarship you may complete the GSFApps at www.GAfutures.org.  This is a one-time application so there is no need to reapply each year.  If you complete the GSFApps after your freshman year, please contact our office to ensure we have been successful in accessing your application.

If you are interested in other types of financial aid (i.e., PELL Grant and Stafford Loans) in addition to the HOPE Scholarship, you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.studentaid.gov  after October 1st each year for the upcoming academic year which begins each Fall semester.  Remember that the FAFSA application process must be completed no later than July 1st each year in order to have funds available by the Fall semester payment deadline which is typically in early August.

You may complete both applications and we actually encourage you to do this.  This will allow us to have your HOPE Scholarship available immediately after the Spring semester ends even if you have not completed your FAFSA to apply for other types of federal aid programs.

I am considered out-of-state for tuition purposes. Will I ever qualify for the HOPE Scholarship?

Generally, you must meet the residency requirements of the Georgia College Admissions Office. You must be a Georgia resident for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester you would like to receive the HOPE Scholarship.  In addition, if you graduated from high school on or after July 1, 2008, you must have been a resident of Georgia at the time of your high school graduation.  If you did not meet this requirement, your time frame required to establish residency is 24 consecutive months instead of 12 months.  Our office can help you to calculate the term you may be eligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship. 

What is the current HOPE Scholarship rate?

The current rates for HOPE Scholarship are listed here.


What does my HOPE Scholarship pay for?

HOPE Scholarship pays on a “per credit hour enrolled” basis toward tuition charges only.  This rate will change each academic year based on the decision of the Georgia General Assembly. The calculation for payment will stop at 15 hours per semester.  It is worth noting that Georgia College does not charge additional tuition for hours in excess of 15 each term.   Again, there are no additional tuition charges above 15 hours so the costs not covered by HOPE are the same.  HOPE Scholarship will not cover any costs associated with mandatory fees or book expenses.  HOPE Scholarship eligibility is limited to 127 attempted or paid hours, or the first bachelor's degree - whichever occurs first.

Does my HOPE Scholarship pay for classes that I am auditing?

No.  HOPE Scholarship does not pay for audit classes nor do the hours count in any of the HOPE calculations to determine your eligibility. 

Does HOPE Scholarship pay for Summer classes?

Yes, as long as you have maintained your HOPE eligibility after Spring checkpoint.  After you register for summer classes, our office will review you for summer aid eligibility.

I am a freshman, how do I qualify to receive the HOPE Scholarship?

As an incoming freshman, the Georgia College & State University Financial Aid Office does not determine your HOPE GPA or eligibility; the HOPE office does.  Your high school guidance counselor sends your final high school transcript information to The Georgia Student Finance Commission, also known as the HOPE Office.  They review your transcript data and determine if you have the required 3.0 GPA (un-weighted) for all academic (core) classes and have completed necessary rigor course requirements.  Once our office has your application on file, we will retrieve your HOPE GPA information from the HOPE Office.

How many hours do I have to enroll in order to receive my HOPE Scholarship each semester?

There is no minimum number of hours required to receive the HOPE Scholarship at Georgia College since we are a public university but you are limited to receiving a maximum of 15 hours per semester.  Please refer to the “What does my HOPE Scholarship pay for?”  answer for details on what HOPE Scholarship pays.

What are HOPE Attempted-Hours and why is it important for me to understand this?

Attempted-Hours include all classes taken after high school graduation.  All withdrawals, dropped classes, transfer hours, and non-credit courses are counted in Attempted-Hours.  It is important to understand because Attempted-Hours are used to determine when you will have your HOPE GPA checked at your "Tier Checkpoints" as well as the maximum time limit to receive your HOPE Scholarship.  Your Attempted-Hours for HOPE Scholarship purposes can very easily be different from what you may see on your PAWS account.  The official record of your Attempted-Hours as well as other HOPE Scholarship calculations will ONLY appear on your GAfutures.org account.

When will my GPA be checked in order to continue receiving the HOPE Scholarship?

All students have two (2) different types of "checkpoints".  The first is called the "Spring Checkpoint".  At the end of EVERY Spring semester, you must have a minimum of a 3.0 HOPE GPA in order to continue to receive the scholarship for the next semester.  The second type is your "Tier Checkpoint".    These tiers are reached when you have ATTEMPTED 30, 60 and 90 hours.  It is important that you understand the hours that are included in the definition of "Attempted-Hours".   At the end of the semester that you reach a "Tier Checkpoint", your HOPE GPA must be at least a 3.0 in order to renew your scholarship.  If you do not maintain the minimum GPA requirement, you will not be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship until you reach the next "Tier Checkpoint".  If you do not have the minimum GPA required at your "90-hour Tier Checkpoint", you will no longer qualify for HOPE Scholarship. Students who enrolled at least full time in either a fall or spring semester, will have a Spring checkpoint at the end of the spring semester. A student can lose and regain HOPE Scholarship ONLY ONE time.

Is my HOPE GPA the same as my Georgia College & State University Cumulative GPA?

These GPAs could be the same or could be different.  Your HOPE GPA will count all grades for courses taken after high school graduation.  This includes both grades when retaking a course, grades for non-credit coursework and all transfer grades (even if courses are not accepted at Georgia College & State University or paid for by HOPE). 

Grades that are not counted in your HOPE GPA are S (Satisfactory), U (Unsatisfactory), IP (In Progress), or W (Withdrawn).  Also, grades for courses taken prior to high school graduation such as joint enrollment, CLEP or AP credit are not counted.  If you receive an "I" (Incomplete) in a course, this is temporary.  Initially, the "I" will not be counted in your HOPE GPA calculation; however, when a grade is assigned, your HOPE GPA will be re-calculated and your eligibility will be retroactive according to the outcome.

How will STEM courses affect my HOPE GPA?

The STEM Weighted Course Directory located on www.GAfutures.org lists the STEM courses that have been approved for weighting for HOPE Scholarship recipients.  When a student's HOPE Scholarship GPA is calculated, an additional weight of 0.5 will be applied for grades B, C, and D in these eligible courses.

How do I view my HOPE GPA?

The My College HOPE Profile feature on GAfutures allows you to check your academic eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship.  Your My College HOPE Profile can be accessed through your GAfutures account at gafutures.org.

If you are currently NOT receiving HOPE Scholarship and are interested in having your GPA calculated, you may contact our office at 478-445-5149.

How long can I receive my HOPE Scholarship?

HOPE will pay up to a total of 127 Attempted- or Paid-Hours towards your first undergraduate degree.  Once you reach the 127 Attempted-Hours limit, the 127 Combined Paid- Hours limit, or receive your first undergraduate degree, you will be ineligible to receive further HOPE Scholarship payments.  If you are enrolled for a term in which you reach the maximum hours you will only receive payment for the hours up to 127.  For example, if you are at 120 combined Paid-Hours for Fall 2023 and are enrolled in 12 hours, your HOPE Scholarship payment will pay for the remaining 7 hours of eligibility.

What is HOPE Paid-Hours limit?

In addition to the Attempted-Hours limit, there is also a Paid-Hours limit to receive your HOPE Scholarship.  All hours that you received payment from your HOPE Scholarship, as well as any hours that you may have been paid from the Zell Miller Scholarship, and HOPE Grant, are included in calculating your total combined Paid-Hours.  You are eligible for a combined payment for a maximum of 127 semester hours.  Once you reach either the Attempted-Hours OR Paid-Hours maximum, you will no longer be eligible to receive your HOPE Scholarship.  Note: HOPE Grant is a program that pays for courses taken in non-degree programs (certificate and diploma programs) which are predominately offered at Technical colleges.

I am going to take a course(s) as a transient student. Can I receive my HOPE Scholarship?

Yes, if the institution that you are attending is a HOPE-eligible, Georgia institution AND if you are HOPE eligible, you may receive HOPE Scholarship as a transient student.  We will notify the HOPE Office that you are attending another institution so that the host institution (the institution where you are taking courses) can award HOPE.  The HOPE Scholarship award amount will be based on the host institution’s approved HOPE rate.  If grades for the current term need to be reviewed in order to confirm your HOPE eligibility, we will notify you by your university email that your eligibility needs further review.  You are required to pay all costs up front and be reimbursed your HOPE Scholarship if your HOPE Scholarship is not awarded to you prior to the host institution’s payment deadline.  In order to have your eligibility sent to your host institution, you will need to complete the transient survey emailed to you.  Instructions for the transient survey will be emailed to you after a transient form has been submitted to the GC Registrar’s Office. 

Do my transfer or transient hours count in my HOPE Scholarship eligibility?

Yes. Your transfer or transient institution will need to send Georgia College & State University an official transcript.  HOPE Attempted-Hours include all regular coursework attempted after high school graduation, all attempted transfer coursework, withdrawals, and courses dropped after drop/add period ends.  Courses taken as a transient student must be transferred back to Georgia College & State University upon completion and these course grades and hours will be used in your HOPE GPA and hours calculations.  You are responsible for requesting that your host institution send an official transcript to GCSU.  Failure to do so in a timely manner could result in an inadvertent over award of HOPE Scholarship which would require immediate repayment.

If I drop a class how will it affect my HOPE Scholarship?

If you drop a class before the end of the drop/add period it does not affect your HOPE Attempted – or Paid-Hours, and the HOPE funds are removed from your account if the reduction in hours affects your HOPE eligibility amount. This action may require you to owe a balance to GCSU Business Office.   If you drop a class after the drop/add period, those hours are counted as HOPE Attempted and Paid–Hours, and you do not have to “pay back” any of your HOPE funds. 

If you withdraw from ALL of your classes any time after classes begin, which is the first day of the term enrolled, the hours are counted as Attempted and Paid-Hours. A calculation must be performed to determine if any funds are owed back to GCSU. Please check your student account center to see if you owe a balance, if adjustments are made. 

Can I decline the HOPE Scholarship for a semester to save my eligibility?

No.  Once you reach the 127 Attempted-Hours limit, the 127 Combined Paid-Hours limit, or receive your first undergraduate degree, you will be ineligible to receive further HOPE Scholarship payments.  Students cannot save eligibility because the hours taken during that term will still count towards the 127 Attempted-Hours limit. 

I do not have HOPE Scholarship now. When can I get it?

If you did not graduate from an eligible Georgia High School as a "HOPE Scholar", you may be evaluated by the Georgia College & State University Financial Aid Office once you have attempted 30 semester hours.  This is called your "30-hour Tier Checkpoint".  If you do not meet the minimum requirements at 30 Attempted-Hours, you may be re-evaluated at 60 and 90 Attempted-Hours.  Make sure you understand what hours are counted in your HOPE Attempted-Hours. In addition, students are only eligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship until 10 (ten) years from the date of the student’s high school graduation, home study completion, or successful GED test.  This expiration date will be June 30th of the tenth academic year after either of these.  However, students that served on active duty in the U.S. Military after their date of high school graduation, etc. AND before the calculated expiration of eligibility date may request an extension of eligibility based on such active duty service time (application on HOPE website must be submitted to their office). 


If I am not currently awarded HOPE Scholarship, but I think I am eligible, what do I need to do?

You need to contact our office prior to the last day of the semester in which you are seeking HOPE Scholarship. Our office makes every effort to identify possible candidates based on academic history, but it is the student’s responsibility to initiate a review of their eligibility prior to the end of the semester he/she is seeking payment if he/she have not been awarded these funds. This policy is necessary due to imposed state-mandated deadlines for universities to finalize reconciliation of all payments. 


Can I file an appeal to receive my HOPE Scholarship if I do not qualify?

Yes.  Students who believe that the rule, policy or regulation was incorrectly or improperly applied can request an Administrative Review with Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).  These students should submit a written request for an Administrative Review within 45 calendar days of receiving notice of denial from Georgia College & State University.

Students who have been denied eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship and the student had extenuating circumstances, the student can submit a request for an Exception to GSFC.  Each individual HOPE Scholarship recipient is limited to one Exception for one school term during which the HOPE Scholarship funds were received. Students who withdrew completely from a term and lost eligibility at a Checkpoint must submit a written request for an Exception no later than the last day of the term of re-enrollment. Students who previously withdrew completely from a term but did not lose eligibility and is now reaching the Attempted-Hours or Paid-Hours limit, must submit a written request for an Exception during the term in which the student has reached or is within 15 hours of the Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours Limit.

Administrative Reviews and Exceptions can be mailed to GSFC  to address:

 Program Administration
 Georgia Student Finance Commission
 2082 East Exchange Place
 Tucker, GA  30084 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our office at 478-445-5149 or financialaid@gcsu.edu.