Example of HOPE Scholarship Success

By Ben Wolf
Thursday February 8, 2007

Meet VSU senior Shanna Lankford, a small town girl in the middle of accomplishing big time dreams.

"My graduating class had less than 100, so I mean graduating in 2000, it took me a while to determine what I wanted to be," she said.

Fast forward to 2003. That's when Lankford enrolled at VSU, majoring in middle grades education.

As with more than a million college students in the Peach State, the Homerville, Georgia native took advantage of the HOPE Scholarship.

"It's benefited almost everyone I know. We all say the same thing. If it wasn't for that, Lord have mercy, where would I be?" she exclaimed.

So just how much is this scholarship helping?

"My normal tuition was $1,600 and my books cost around $200. It paid for all of that," Lankford said.

In addition to the regular undergraduate HOPE Scholarship, Lankford is receiving funds from the Promise Teacher Scholarship, a component of the hope program. Part of the deal is that she has agreed to teach in the state of Georgia for the first three years after she graduates.

"It's intended to not only provide additional professionals here in Georgia, but to give them an incentive to stay and work here in Georgia," said VSU financial aid director Doug Tanner.

Lankford says she is beginning to see her experience with the HOPE Scholarship come full circle. She'll soon use the education the scholarship made available to her to influence young minds in the classroom, and she already has a message for them when it comes time for college.

"It's crazy not to go to school when you have all of the help out there that you can get."

It’s help that's available to any hard working student in Georgia. Just ask Shanna Lankford.