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Governor Perdue, Governor Miller Celebrate One Million HOPE Recipients

Thursday, January 25, 2007  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Governor Miller Praises HOPE Chest amendment to protect Lottery revenues


ATLANTA Governor Sonny Perdue joined former Georgia Governor Zell Miller today on the campus of Georgia State University to celebrate a significant milestone – more than one million Georgia students have received tuition assistance from Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE programs.

"Because of the foresight of one of our state's greatest leaders, more than one million students have now benefited from Governor Miller's vision of educational opportunities being open to all," said Governor Perdue. "Georgia was the first state to recognize that access to education is the key to economic prosperity, and it is only because of Zell Miller's leadership during his tenure as Governor that we are here today celebrating this milestone."

"My dream was that someday in Georgia there would come a time when the question of Georgia parents would be not whether their child would go to college, but where they would go," Governor Miller said. "Thanks to HOPE and the lottery, that's the case today in Georgia."

Governor Miller added that Governor Perdue's proposed HOPE Chest amendment should be enacted to put a permanent end to redirecting lottery funds for projects other than HOPE or Pre-K.

"I was so determined to make sure that we kept Lottery proceeds separate from the general budget, and I think that was the best decision we ever made," Governor Miller said. "That's why I think the HOPE Chest idea of Governor Perdue is such a good idea and it is time that it should be done."

Three Georgia students were on hand at today's announcement to represent the three types of HOPE programs – John Thomas Smith of Georgia State University, HOPE Scholarship; Marilyn Findley of Albany Technical College, HOPE Grant recipient; and Tiffany Tuders of Brenau University, HOPE GED Grant.

"To date, HOPE has provided $3.5 billion to help more than one million Georgians attend college," said Tim Connell, president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), the state agency that administers HOPE. "All Georgians can be proud of HOPE's success and the tremendous investment that has been made in the lives of individuals, families and communities throughout our state."

GSFC is the state agency responsible for administering HOPE and all other state- and lottery-funded financial aid programs that help Georgians attend college. GSFC provides free informational workshops and consultations for schools, students and parents, and it manages, the state website that helps Georgia students plan, apply, and pay for college.

Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has returned over $8.8 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs including Georgia's HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K Programs. In addition to the more than one million students that have received HOPE, almost 800,000 four-year-olds have attended the statewide, high-quality Pre-K Program. With record-breaking sales and proceeds to education in fiscal year 2006 and a strong start to fiscal year 2007, the Georgia Lottery Corporation continues to be one of the top-performing lotteries worldwide.

"We are committed to our mission of maximizing dollars for lottery-funded educational programs," said Georgia Lottery Corporation President and CEO Margaret DeFrancisco. "Reaching the milestone of one million HOPE recipients is an achievement that all Georgians can celebrate."