What is the Zell Miller scholarship? Things to know about Georgia’s HOPE scholarships and lottery

This story has been updated.

Zell Miller, a former two-term governor and U.S. senator who gave birth to Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, died at age 86 on Friday, March 23, according to a family statement. 

» RELATED: Former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, 86, dies

During his time as 79th Governor of Georgia from 1991-1999, Miller founded the scholarship, which today helps 1.8 million students attend college in the state.

Information about HOPE: Under Georgia law, proceeds from Georgia lottery sales support scholarships and grants under the the HOPE and Zell Miller tuition assistance programs. The scholarships and grants can be used to defray the cost of tuition at eligible public and private Georgia postsecondary institutions. 

» RELATED: Georgia group makes recommendations to improve HOPE scholarship

The award amounts depend on the institutions and level of scholarship or help. For instance, a student taking 15 hours at Chattahoochee Technical College could get a $1,050 HOPE. A student at Georgia Tech on a Zell Miller scholarship, the highest award, could expect $5,004 for taking the same number of hours.

HOPE Scholarships

Merit-based awards available to Georgia residents. A scholarship recipient must graduate from high school with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and maintain that average to remain eligible. It provides help paying for tuition toward an undergraduate degree at eligible colleges or universities in Georgia.

HOPE Grant

For Georgia residents who are pursuing a certificate or diploma. Recipient must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative postsecondary grade point average.

» RELATED: Georgia House committee approves HOPE scholarship eligibility change

Zell Miller Scholarship

A merit-based award for Georgians, similar to the HOPE Scholarship, but with more stringent academic requirements and a higher level of tuition assistance. Recipient must graduate from high school with a minimum 3.7 grade point average combined with a minimum SAT score of 1,200 on the math and reading portions or a minimum composite ACT score of 26 in single national test administration and maintain a minimum 3.3 cumulative postsecondary grade point average to remain eligible. Eligible students are provided full-tuition assistance while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

The steps some parents are taking to make sure they can pay tuition.

Zell Miller Grant

A merit-based program available to Georgia residents pursuing a certificate or diploma. A Zell Miller Grant recipient must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative postsecondary grade point average to remain eligible. Eligible students are provided full-standard tuition assistance while enrolled at a Zell Miller Grant eligible college or university in Georgia.


For Georgia residents who earned a General Education Development (GED) diploma after June 30, 1993 awarded by the Technical College System of Georgia. The Grant provides a one-time $500 HOPE award. Full-time enrollment is not required.

HOPE Career Grant

HOPE Career Grant, formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG), is available to Georgia residents who are pursuing a certificate or diploma and eligible for, and receiving, HOPE Grant or Zell Miller Grant funding. The grant provides assistance toward educational costs for eligible students enrolled in an approved designated program of study.


Georgia lottery also supports the state Pre-K program

Georgia Student Finance Commission has more information about grants and assistance

Georgia Lottery results

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