Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Susan T. Gooden, PhD

Second Advisor

Stephen E. Condrey, PhD

Third Advisor

Elsie L. Harper-Anderson, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Nancy B. Stutts, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Colleen A. Thoma, PhD


The HOPE Scholarship began in the State of Georgia in 1993 and is a statewide, merit-based scholarship program for postsecondary students. The program is fully funded by the revenues received from the state’s lottery program, the Georgia lottery, which disproportionately receives contributions from minority and low-income populations. Using logistic and OLS regression analysis this research investigates the distributional equity of the HOPE Scholarship by comparing the award receipts of postsecondary students in Georgia. The study found that the race, ethnicity, immigrant generational status, first generation college student, and financial independence have a negative impact on the likelihood of a student receiving the HOPE Scholarship. The findings also suggest that HOPE Scholarship recipients who are black or African American, first generation college students, and those with financial independence receive less overall funding than those without these qualities. These results provide sound evidence that the HOPE Scholarship, a merit-based program targeted at helping to reduce educational disparities, may be failing to reduce higher education inequities in the state. Given the established relationship between education and future economic success, these types of merit-based, state-wide programs may inadvertently exacerbate existing disparities. Recommendations include a mandated program analysis to promote accountability among program administrators, policymakers, and the greater public.


© Lindsey L. Evans, 2017

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