HOPE cuts also affect students in private Georgia colleges

Many students and parents are upset that the new HOPE limits revealed yesterday by Gov. Nathan Deal will be applied to students already in college.

Those students may have chosen Georgia public colleges based on an expectation that HOPE would cover full tuition as it has since its inception. Now, most will be downgraded to HOPE Lite, as they lack the required 3.7 GPA in high school and the 3.5 GPA in college to qualify for the full funding. Those students with the mandated GPAs to retain full funding have a new name,  Zell Miller Scholars.

(Wish the governor had not thrown another name in the mix. I think Full HOPE and HOPE Lite are clearer in their intent.)

HOPE Lite students will get around 90 percent of their tuition covered minus any money for books and fees, which means about $1,500 a year more out of pocket for students at the research campuses.

If you are among them, please call my AJC colleague Laura Diamond who is writing a deadline story today:  She is focusing on student/parent concerns on how to pay for what HOPE won’t cover. Will you rely on loans? Will you attend a different, less expensive college? Will you take fewer courses to save money? We’re interested in the different options students and parents are considering. Please contact Laura Diamond. ldiamond@ajc.com.

Now, back to the blog:

The state is also cutting the funds for Georgia students attending private colleges in the state, a decision that hasn’t stirred much response. If private college students had the 3.7 GPA in high school, the 3.5 in college and the required test scores, they keep their full private school HOPE amount. If not, they will see a $400 cut per year. I understand the argument that a $400 cut for the privates is actually a good deal, considering that the dollar loss to the UGA and Tech students is more than three times that amount.

But here is one student who says it will hurt:

It is very troubling that they have raised the GPA requirements for full financial coverage. I am a freshman, with 18 hours and a 4.0 under my belt. My mother is fully disabled and I can barely afford school as it is with the price for a private school.

It’s hard to see that they are raising GPA requirements and cutting the amount given to private schools by $400 (that I don’t have) so, I guess I will have to get a job that could interfere with my GPA. I’m hoping people will begin to realize that the PELL grant and others barely help cover tuition and for students like me, so HOPE is a blessing.

Reinstating the income cap would be the most beneficial thing. The higher the income, the lower the amount offered. I feel as though students who worked hard to earn HOPE, no matter their family’s income, should be rewarded, but others do need it more.

They could still offer some incentive for those families who make a large income without giving them the whole shebang. We are all scared, because losing money from HOPE could mean a lot of us will not know what it feels like to see a college diploma in our hands.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get School blog

89 comments Add your comment

Tonya C.

February 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

As bad as I feel for this student, knowing her/his family’s financial situation should have dictated the school chosen. Community College is a great option that would have saved money and given him/her a good foundation.


February 23rd, 2011
12:44 pm

I agree with Tonya. If the budget was so tight that $400 could make it or break it, then perhaps a cheaper school (or horrors!, a public school) should have been the first choice anyway. I say eliminate the private school stipend altogether.


February 23rd, 2011
12:52 pm

I understand the disappointment and fear a change like this causes. But the HOPE system must reform to stay solvent. We all have to deal with disruptions in our lives for time to time. Get over it and start working on your solution. If you are worried about a drop in GPA while working during school, take a semester off to earn some money, then go back full time. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

United States of Mediocrity

February 23rd, 2011
1:03 pm

I hate that we reward mediocrity. We give out awards to students who have all B’s at my school. What message are we sending? Your kinda good, but not great? Shoot, if that was me, I wouldnt bust my hump to earn more, and it shows.

I have been talking about this all day in my classes today and they are scared about it. Why because they got to earn it. Some students say they will go out of state instead. And then they realize that its even more to do that. And like students normally are they come up with some excuse about why Georgia universities are a joke.

Economic Laws

February 23rd, 2011
1:07 pm

As with every market that the government has involved itself it, we see unexpected and disasterous economic distortions. Private colleges are overly costly as are the government run institutions EXACTLY BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT. HOPE, guaranteed student loans, grants, etc. have all allowed massive price inflation at these institutions because someone else other than the parents and the students is picking up the cost. What seems like a helpful hand only worsens a problem that competition, limits on available monies, and other market pressures would have already fixed. In every market in which govenrment has little to no involvement we see quality going up and prices going down (of course the Federal Reserve printing press and govenrment created inflation undermine these processes). Yet everywhere government control is present, and in direct relation to the amount, we see failure, lowering quality and rising costs. Medicine, education at all levels, defense, public services. Feel free to add more.


February 23rd, 2011
1:08 pm

Change is never easy. It is often a necessity. Students today are part of a system where grades are inflated. Schools cannot give a “0″ to a student for not turning in an assignment or refusing to do an assignment. Teachers must offer to take the assignment at a later date, or give the student an incomplete until the assignment is done. This only benefits those with poor work ethics, giving them a chance to keep their grades up. Schools also offer recovery. Some schools require mandatory recovery for any student who fails a test. Students get an opportunity to study longer, and pass on the second go round. The idea is great, but most students see recovery as an opportunity to not study the first time, there is always another chance. Grades are not reflective of a students ability anymore, so a 3.7 is not too hard to get. If I had gone to school with an opportunity to recover, I would have had higher grades too.

Tonya C.

February 23rd, 2011
1:09 pm

And HOPE was never meant to fund private school (or at least it shouldn’t have). As long as there are options, this student needs to take a realistic look at his/her finances and understand the end goal is a degree.

Simple Mathematics

February 23rd, 2011
1:12 pm

What you all ignore is very simple — yes you can take HOPE away or further reduce (they already receive less than half of what students get to attend public institutions, but your solutions are all the same and won’t work:

The public University system cannot service/accommodate all of the GA students who qualify for HOPE every year. They already turn away 1000’s, many of whom end up at private colleges in GA where HOPE makes the difference in them going or not — if it was your child are you going to accept that they can’t go to UGA, Tech or any 4 year public school due to admission limits — and just say “oh well, go to a technical college or two year community college” which isn’t designed for these top academic students? To even say you’d do that to your own child is ridiculous and false.

And the only way for GA Public Univerisites to serve those 1000’s — uhhhh hello – more professors, more residence halls, more staff, more everything — i.e. 10’s of millions in additional spending every year.

You people just don’t get it — cutting the amount HOPE pays for students to go to private schools but at least stay in state would COST GA ASTRONOMICALLY more than what would be saved — plus then alot of those best and brightest would go out of state and never return.

Why do you think state budget writers didn’t mess with it as much — they’d actually be better off financially right now if MOOOOOORRRRREEEEEE GA HOPE students went to private colleges.


Goal Digger, Ph.D

February 23rd, 2011
1:17 pm

I was low SES and received a full scholarship to a private school. The private school was my first choice, and I knew it cost twice as much. Had I not got the full ride there was one waiting on me at state schools as well. Despite all this, I continued applying for scholarships and ultimately received $40,000+ in separate scholarships above what the university had already awarded me.

Sorry, no sympathy here.

A lot of these kids are getting ready to learn a lesson in diligence. Be diligent about your scholarship searches, never simply rely on HOPE or federal $. Or, work hard enough to get your GPA and SAT scores where they need to be so that you don’t have to rely on federal/state $ at all. The university can just pay you to come to them. That’s what I did. :-)


February 23rd, 2011
1:21 pm

An old saw: life ain’t fair and you weren’t promised a rose garden. I didn’t have HOPE or any other assistance back when, but I managed by working at night- jobs that today’s students would never consider.

DeKalb parent

February 23rd, 2011
1:22 pm

“Deal’s proposal includes allocating $10 million to offer loans, carrying a 1 percent interest rate, to students who can’t maintain a 3.0. The loan, he said, would be forgiven for those who teach math, science, technology or engineering in Georgia’s public schools. One year of the loan will be forgiven for each year spent teaching, he said. The program is based on one lawmakers passed in 2008 but never funded.”

Am I reading this correct? Deal wants give incentives to the lousy students to stay in Georgia and teach our public school students math and science! Wouldn’t we want to incentivise the top students to consider teaching as a career? Many of our state schools of education are already turning out graduates who are not prepared to teach middle or high school and struggle to pass the certification exam.

I agree with the other writers, that college should not be a free ride, academically or financially, for any student. I really don’t consider $400 or $500 a year as having that much “skin” in the game.

Old Skool

February 23rd, 2011
1:24 pm

Ummm, has that student ever heard of Pell Grant’s or student loans. That is how I financed my entire education (not having grown up in a state that gives away free tuition in exchange for grade inflation).

Also, if this student has a 4.0, why not consider applying for private scholarships.

Just more examples of people wanting the government to fully provide for them. Earning your education is not supposed to be cost free. It appears that this student still has quite a bit o’ learnin’ to do.


February 23rd, 2011
1:31 pm

Cut out any funding to the 4 yr Pre-K. Is it really necessary to send a kid to school at 4. I feel that a secondary education is much more important than starting a child at 4 years of age. The HOPE should not fund anything more to a private college than it does a public university.

Tommy Gunn

February 23rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Ok, Why give ANY money to ANYONE attending a private school? This should have been cut first, THEN set a scale based on income. Heck, who do you think plays the lottery anyway? Think about it? Don’t forget, they are cutting pre-k too. The idea that cutting to 4 1/2 hours and getting some people off the wait list sounds good, but in REALITY, a school system will have to think about cutting the program altogether, because you can’t pay people to work part time. Good work politicians!


February 23rd, 2011
1:39 pm

Back in the old days (late 80s, early 90s) when I went to college, my parents were middle class so I did not qualify for any type of financial aid other than loans. I selected a local campus of the state university system, lived at home to save money, and worked one or two part-time jobs at a time to pay my tuition so I wouldn’t have to take loans. I managed to get two degrees with honors. I got married and worked and took minimal loans in law school also attending a lower priced state university and graduating near the top of my class. I understand that tuition increases have gotten a little bit out of control (thanks to all of these scholarships), but I am really sick of hearing from students (and parents) who act like having to come up with a few thousand dollars a year would make college unattainable. Get real. Get a job. Take a loan. Make an investment in your future. Have some skin in the game. Someone besides you has already invested in the first 13 years of your education and you whine and cry and stamp your feet when asked to make an investment in the next 4 years (yes, I said 4 years…..get your damn degree instead of screwing around for 6 years). How sad that our nation is full of people (children and adults) who don’t know how to manage things for themselves and endure some hardship to make their way in the world. sigh

full disclosure – I put money in a college fund for my child, but he doesn’t simply “get it” – choice of major and maintenance of grades will determine his fate.


February 23rd, 2011
1:42 pm

The only change I would propose to the Deal plan is to convert the HOPE award to a loan if the student fails to obtain a degree. It can be a principal only repay with generous terms, but we need to recover the funds from those students who do two semesters and then drop out.

Atlanta Mom

February 23rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Simple Mathematics,
You stated “and just say “oh well, go to a technical college or two year community college” which isn’t designed for these top academic students”.
If they were top academic students, they would have been accepted into one of Georgia’s 4 year Universities.


February 23rd, 2011
1:45 pm

Life is not fair. What you aspire for is not fair and comes with sacrifice. When I attended private college out-of-state, I was happy with the partial scholarship and worked my butt off attending school full-time during the day and working odd jobs at night and still consistently maintained a GPA greater than 3.6. These parents are crying about having to pay $1,500 in fees (about $125 monthly) when these kids are carrying iPhones, iPads, Mac Laptops, driving high powered cars, wearing designer clothes, etc. but you can’t save $125 monthly for your future? I’ve run out of strings to play on my violin for their “sob stories.”

Regarding the regquired GPA in high school and college, yes you should be able to maintain this. I want to see the money go to high achiever than to students to do the bare minimum just to get by. You don’t deserve it! As far as trimming down pre-K, why aren’t parents taking this responsibility themselves instead of passing this off on others? Oh I forgot, many of the parents are were babies when they had babies so there’s not much of experiences to pass on.

Simple Mathematics

February 23rd, 2011
1:46 pm

The entitlement mentality is a different issue. I financed 3 degrees and 89 years of school on my own – so what. Times change. I agree students should not be taught it is a right or entitlement.

But to Tommy Gunn’s point — if those 1000’s don’t attend a private school with HOPE where will they go? To public schools — where more students will get told no because we don’t have room. So more go out of state to public institutions who have tuition equalizing grants for good students – and never come back.

It’s not a zero sum game people — either those students stay in GA or they don’t — spend $20 Million a year (not including the capital/construction costs of new facilities) to make room for all of them — or pay a small fraction of that and no capital costs so some large portion can afford to go to a private GA college that has room. Or go back to exporting our best and brightest to other states.

And you all act like if a student goes to a Private College with HOPE it’s helping the rich kids…. not a chance. “Rich” kids go to school wherever they want because mommy/daddy/insert relative here writes a check.

The great majority of kids who go to college in GA don’t fit that category people. Private schools provide TRIPLE the internal financial aid state schools do and a much higher “discount” rate (look it up if you don’t know what that means).

HOPE is still helping low SES kids – maybe even more at Private Colleges (where they get more need based aid) than at State Schools.

Simple Mathematics

February 23rd, 2011
1:49 pm

Atlanta Mom — you miss the point entirely — yes those students would likely be accepted into a top state school — EXCEPT that they can’t accommodate everyone. So top qualified students get denied from state 4 year schools EVERY year now that HOPE is in place.

I would agree with your point completely — except USAG simply can’t accept everyone that applies and qualifies for HOPE. THat’s just reality – call their admissions offices and ask them.


February 23rd, 2011
1:49 pm

There is only one exceptional private school in this state. The others are generally inferior to the upper echelon of the State’s public offerings.

Unless she’s going to Emory, she could have gotten a better cheaper education in Georgia.


February 23rd, 2011
1:51 pm

@Margaret, you sound old and bitter.

Simple Mathematics

February 23rd, 2011
1:52 pm

8 years of school ( trying to change the 9 to an 8) 89 years of school and I wouldn’t be commenting… I’d be elsewhere..


February 23rd, 2011
1:54 pm

The student with the disabled mother is laboring under a false sense of entitlement. My father died when I was 10. My mother never re-married and raised four children on my father’s military pension (a small amount as he died in 1968). I worked and put myself through university and graduate school. I supplemented that money with earned scholarships and student loans which took a number of years to pay back. When I graduated I entered the teaching profession. My first job was in a private school making 10,000 per year –which had to cover living expenses as well as student loans. I was accepted at a number of universities but my choice was based on affordability. If you want the education you will make it happen. You are not entitiled to a free ride. Your belief that you should have a free ride will not work well for you in the future.

Simple Mathematics

February 23rd, 2011
2:02 pm

My guess is jarvis is an Emory alum? Maybe? “generally inferior” eh? and you back up that statement how? Emory is a Carnegie I research University – your rankings profile isn’t comparable to Agnes Scott, Brenau, Berry, Mercer, etc.

2 cents

February 23rd, 2011
2:08 pm

have to say around $1500 per year for a college education still aint bad. truly needie students can still get Pell money; other scholarships; and of loans.

Finishing a four year degree and only owing $8000 or less in loans will not bankrupt any student


February 23rd, 2011
2:09 pm

I hate to see these changes being made as my son is a sophomore in HS but something has to give. I still feel like a 90% scholarship on tuition is a great deal. Especially compared to much of the nation who has no program like HOPE. I kind of figured fees & book funding would disappear but compared to some of the other proposals, I like the idea of having to personally fund 10%. It makes the education something to work for versus receive and I think more students will think about screwing around, partying, dropping out, just getting by with a B if they have to fund some of it.

To the girl in the blog, get over it. You’ve already learned life is not easy. Coming up with a few hundred dollars a semester is not going to kill you or make you drop out. Take out a loan, get a part time job (I worked full-time my entire time in college and still graduated from college in less than 5 years).

What I didn’t understand is that the Pre-K extended care and transportation were being increased! Someone explain to me how this isn’t simply paying for babysitting services?


February 23rd, 2011
2:10 pm

private schools should not get a dime,and I will never buy a lottery ticket in ga again.People should pay for ur own childs education and stop welfare for the rich!

navy person

February 23rd, 2011
2:12 pm

how about enlisting in the military for a few years then get a full ride on the GI bill. Kill two birds with a stone (service to your country and then education)


February 23rd, 2011
2:14 pm

Kudos @Simple Mathematics. I’m glad someone sees the costs behind the situation.

To the rest…let’s not be even more penny wise & pound foolish!

A student that gets into a good private college, probably would have gotten into a good state university. Had that student stayed here, the HOPE burden would have been much more…so the fiscal problems of the HOPE program would have been higher. This student actually does a favor to the HOPE program by going to a private school. Furthermore, some student that barely got into a state school (probably without HOPE funds, thus less of a fiscal burden to the taxpayers) was not bumped from admitted to wait listed or rejected.

For all you who chiseled wheels from stone to pay for your education…are you saying you would not have used a program like HOPE if it existed in your day?

You cannot blame students for using resources that are made available to them. While I won’t root for extra entitlements, I won’t blame people for using them if they are available. That’s why most folks use employer subsidized health insurance instead of buying it on their own.


February 23rd, 2011
2:16 pm

@ pete – that’s just an ignorant comment. Not everyone who sends their kid to a private college is rich and not every rich kid goes to a private college.

Vote Republican

February 23rd, 2011
2:17 pm

Pay your own way, all of you Republican voters and Republican lovers. That’s capitalism. Less government involvement in your lives: isn’t that why you voted Republican in the first place. Well, you are getting what you wanted and what you voted for. Get happy. In another 4 years, re-elect the same group and see what you get—more of the same.


February 23rd, 2011
2:18 pm

@navy person – you are absolutely correct. My beloved was a recruiter for many years (among other things) and helped a great many young men and women realize their dreams of a college education along with service to their country and learning skills (including how to be an adult). He was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who joined “just to get college money” only to hear years later that they had re-enlisted because they decided that the Army was where they wanted to stay.


February 23rd, 2011
2:18 pm

HOPE was a promise that should be kept. We are changing the rules in the middle of the game — and think that our students will be better than us when they make promises in the future…


February 23rd, 2011
2:20 pm

children learn more in the first five years of life than anyother time.Tell ur big kids to get a job and pay for their education like mine had too!

UGA Student

February 23rd, 2011
2:20 pm

There should be no cuts to HOPE until the lottery created to fund this project does so at the rate perscribed in the law creating it. The lottery officials are walking away with 6 figure bonuses while they are 10% under the prescribed amount that they are supposed to fund hope with. If this problem was corrected the HOPE fund would have a surplus.


February 23rd, 2011
2:26 pm

As the PARENT of 4 children who attended public colleges in GA (and how many of you who defended HOPE cuts actually are current parents of college students?), I see one major unfairness to the required GPA. A 3.5 in an engineering program at GA Tech or even at UGA is a lot harder to attain than a 3.5 at Kennesaw State. I have a transfer student who left KSU with a 3.8 GPA. She has studied much, much harder than she did at KSU and has still watched her GPA drop to a 3.46. She will now be eligible for only HOPE lite. What is the answer here…stay at KSU or another weak public school in order to keep HOPE? We are not a 6 figure income family so HOPE is greatly appreciated. And yes, my children do work to pay their own spending money and I cover their room and board. I think that the income restrictions are a better way to go. If we made over $100K a year, then we could afford to shoulder more tuition. BTW…2 of my 4 children did lose HOPE. They took out loans to cover their tuition. They both graduated with engineering degrees and got decent jobs but have approximately $28K in loans to pay back. It is a struggle for them to make that monthly loan payment….here’s a shocker for you heartless people who think kids need to struggle in order for their education to mean something…the economy is bad and they did not find 6 figure jobs to soften the blunt of the payments.

Georgia Matters

February 23rd, 2011
2:27 pm

TO DeKalb parent – Im not sure I would want a teacher who could not maintain a 3.0 in college teaching my kids. Thats the problem that we have here now. To many C-D college students who have moved on to teach our kids. Not good enough, not good enough at all.

2 cents

February 23rd, 2011
2:30 pm

@Navy person

can do; thats what paid for my college and being a CE2 (Seabees) really helped in becoming more mature and it also kick started my brain into critical thinking


February 23rd, 2011
2:32 pm

“Many students and parents are upset that the new HOPE limits revealed yesterday by Gov. Nathan Deal will be applied to students already in college.

Those students may have chosen Georgia public colleges based on an expectation that HOPE would cover full tuition as it has since its inception. Now, most will be downgraded to HOPE Lite, as they lack the required 3.7 GPA in high school and the 3.5 GPA in college to qualify for the full funding. Those students with the mandated GPAs to retain full funding have a new name, Zell Miller Scholars.”

I 100% agree with this. It’s not fair to the students already in college.


February 23rd, 2011
2:33 pm

Sadly, for many of the students who are receiving the HOPE Scholarship this reduction in funds is really just a cut into their beer funds.

Otherwise, I’m proud to say that my grandfather, a man who never finished high school, whose mother died when he was 17, and whose father basically abandoned him, paid half of his younger sister’s tuition, four of his five children’s UGA educations, and the college educations of five grandchildren (so far). It seems to me that those who weren’t able to get an education value it much more than many of those who have an alphabet behind their names.

Inman Park Boy

February 23rd, 2011
2:33 pm

There are many, many ways that taxpayers foot the bill for college education (veterans scholarships, etc.) HOPE ain’t one of them. You don’t want to pay? Dont play the lottery. Simple.


February 23rd, 2011
2:40 pm

The lottery was a promise to students. Those that earned it, who are now in college, should be able to keep it. Students beginning HS next year can have the game change.
To those that say private schools are for the rich…You need to think again. When I graduated high school my very well paid father was not able to help due to a serious family medical problem. I did not qualify for any state aid to a public school. I was able to attend La Grange College with a work study and an assortment of scholarships. I also worked in the summer and Christmas break, I received a wonderful education at a top school. I hope this young student will talk to the aid people. Private schools will work to help her stay there.


February 23rd, 2011
2:41 pm

I think the GPA deal should be phased in over a few years but the system is in such a dire situation that they don’t have time for a phased approach.

@gagrad, I don’t see how they could make it fair or manageable to have different GPA requirements at different schools or for different degree programs. I completely agree that it’s much tougher to graduate from Tech with a 3.7 EE degree but very achievable with an art history degree from KSU. BUT how would you implement that?

Rex Dogma

February 23rd, 2011
2:46 pm

Inman Park Boy Great point. Private Schools only get Hope Money if a Student is from GA and goes to a private school in GA. What don’t you understand. Cut the lottery brass and Gov. Deal’s salary. Oh no he’s bankrupt.

UGA Grad and Parent

February 23rd, 2011
2:49 pm

The shortage in Lottery funds is due to the lack of the required funding form the lottery officials which should be rectified before any cuts are made. Also when I graduate in the early 80’s tuition started at 350 and ended at 650 my senior year. Now the fees alone cost as much as my tuition and my gosh the tuition is over 3,000 dollars a semester. Colleges have jacked up all the costs in both areas because they could rely on HOPE to cover the rest. Now think of all the athletic sports in college who do not have full rides for their players and relied on HOPE. They will go down as well. I hope the legislature comes back with something better than Deal’s plan since we all know due to his financial problems is not a great person to purpose anything.

Tired College Student

February 23rd, 2011
2:50 pm

Everyone that goes to a private college is not rich. I attend a private college because of the fact that with merit based financial aid in combination with need based programs it was a much better deal due to the fact at a private school there would be less students and more personal attention from professors. Honestly, if the purpose of HOPE is to “keep the best students in Georgia” then it should not matter where they go public or private. I chose private because it was the best deal for the money.

Double Zero Eight

February 23rd, 2011
2:54 pm

Sonny should have paid more attention to the HOPE than
Oaky Woods and the special legislation passed that
allowed him to buy that prime real estate in Florida.

Eliminate HOPE at private schools.
If it is not a state school, it should not be supported by


February 23rd, 2011
2:56 pm

I think many of you are missing several major points. We are looking at different times. Not every student is a 4.0 student. I graduated for high school with a 3.4 does that make me less than a student with a 4.0.

NO because I challenged myself and took classes that I didn’t need to graduate like Honors Calculus, Physics and AP English.

I got accepted to Boston University and the only reason I stayed in Georgia was because of my Hope Scholarship.

Simple Mathematics-I couldn’t agree more, 4.0 students get turned away for state schools all the time. Grades are not the only determining factor for admission.

I feel like people on this blog are faulting parents and students but even parents that saved for their child’s tuition may fall short especially in these tough economic times. Also, what about the book allowance? As a nursing student I had to shell out almost $1000 on books a semester.

UGA Grad and Parent

February 23rd, 2011
3:00 pm


December 3, 2007

Bonuses for Georgia Lottery’s Officials Draw Lawmakers’ Attention
Legislators in Georgia are irate over news that employees of the state lottery program collected close to $3-million in bonuses this year. Sales of lottery tickets, which finance the state’s HOPE scholarship program and pre-kindergarten classes, reached a record level, topping $3.4-billion for the fiscal year that ended in June.

In an article in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bill Hembree, a Republican who is chairman of the Georgia House’s Higher Education Committee, said the compensation was “insane.”

Margaret DeFrancisco, president of the Georgia Lottery, received a bonus of $236,500 on top of her $286,000 salary. Raises for the lottery’s 260 employees amounted to about 4 percent in the past year, compared with 3 percent for state employees.

According to Tony Campbell, chairman of the lottery’s board, the bonuses are par for the course in sales jobs, and it is unfair to compare the lottery employees with government ones. Besides, Mr. Campbell says, the bonuses have been effective in keeping employees focused and ensuring the program’s success.

Legislators previously complained about lottery officials’ bonuses in 2004, and the amount of bonuses awarded in the past year is more than 10 times as high as those granted in 1993, the lottery’s first year. —Elizabeth F. Farrell