Georgia’s merit-based HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees and a $150 per semester textbook allowance for all students who graduate from a Georgia high school in with a 3.0 GPA and attend a Georgia state school, is running into financial trouble.

According to an article by Dave Williams in the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

HOPE is projected to run $243 million in the red during fiscal 2011, which ends next June, said Tim Connell, the commission’s president. In fiscal 2012, that shortfall is expected to increase to $317 million.

Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said HOPE may have to be scaled back. “We’re going to have to make some hard choices that affect people’s lives,” he said.

The trouble with HOPE, which was created in 1993 under Georgia’s then-governor, Zell Miller, is that college costs in Georgia, like everywhere else, keep going up.

HOPE, however, is funded by revenues from the Georgia Lottery. While college is becoming more and more expensive, more people aren’t really playing, or paying more to play, the lottery. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer