“A Little Encouragement in Pulling Themselves up by Their Own Bootstraps”: American Individualism and Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Open Access

Sirois, Isaiah (Fall 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/xp68kh34w?locale=en


In the mid-1990s, Georgia Gov. Zell Miller created the HOPE scholarship out of lottery revenue to reward high achievement, prepare the state for a shifting economy, and to increase college access. While the scholarship program earned high praise, and other states have even created similar programs, the scholarship’s story is much more complicated than its popularity would suggest. Miller created the scholarship in 1993 with both need- and merit-based components, but by 1995, it had become just a merit scholarship. Then, after a series of revenue shortages, Georgia increased the academic standards for HOPE in 2004 and 2011, explicitly declining to reinstitute any need-based provisions. This thesis situates HOPE in the broader context of the 1980s and 1990s to argue that the individualist framing through which politicians described the program, and through which the public understood it, allowed later lawmakers to make the scholarship harder to earn.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 1

Chapter 1: New Democrats, Old Strategies: 9

Chapter 2: Giving America Hope: 25

Conclusion: 42

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files