Amanda Mull, staff writer at The Atlantic, went to a public, in-state university — the University of Georgia — and graduated with zero debt, thanks to the HOPE Scholarship Program, a program in Georgia that assists students who meet certain GPA thresholds with tuition costs. “I didn’t have to take out any student loans. I knew people at UGA who had student loans for living expenses and things like that, but I didn’t know anybody who had this sort of high, five- to six-figure loans that are really common among people who went to private schools,” Mull tells Refinery29. “I went essentially for free.” Other states have similar scholarship programs, including California, Louisiana, Missouri, and South Carolina. Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and New Mexico fund student scholarships through state lottery winnings.

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