The AJC is reporting that the lottery funded HOPE scholarship is not able to keep up with rising tuition costs. Therefore, the decision has been made to cut back a bit on HOPE scholarships and make the requirements more stringent.
Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday unveiled sweeping cuts to the popular scholarship program, many of which could kick in as early as fall.
A major change would cut scholarships for potentially 180,000 of Georgia's 200,000 HOPE scholars to 90 percent of current tuition levels -- a move that has current and future students mulling their finances, and, some feeling short-changed.
If the cuts are passed it means a HOPE recipient would have to come up with hundreds of dollars to cover tuition and mandatory fees now covered by the scholarship. For example, a HOPE scholar at the University of Georgia would have to pay $353 out-of-pocket to cover a semester's tuition based on today's rates. Additionally, that student would have to find a way to pay for more than $400 in mandatory fees per semester for services such as transportation, health care and student activities. Tuition and fees for next academic year could increase, which would raise even further what students would pay.
The change will take effect this fall and will effect all students, even those currently enjoying a 100% HOPE scholarship.
Another AJC article, called Drastic cuts unveiled for HOPE, pre-K gives a bit more detail.
Only the brightest of college students – those with at least a 3.7 high school GPA – will see HOPE cover all tuition, Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday morning as he released a drastic plan to cut escalating costs to the popular lottery-funded program.
For those earning at least a 3.0, the scholarship will cover at most 90 percent.
As for pre-K, parents will see the free program cut from 6 ½ hours to four, Deal said, adding that the change will allow the state to open more slots to the program.
"We're taking action today to strengthen the HOPE balance sheet," Deal said, as he stood before a podium that read: Enduring HOPE.
Deal released his proposal at Georgia State University’s student center, with students mixed in with the media. He shared the podium with representatives from both parties. The changes, he said, would save about $300 million.
There are multiple other changes for HOPE, most of which go into effect this fall:
- Decouples from tuition. Students earning at least a 3.0 will see the scholarship cover 90 percent of current fiscal year 2011 tuition rates.
- Ties future scholarship amounts to lottery revenue, not tuition rates.
- Cuts private college award from $4,000 to $3,600.
- Creates the Zell Miller Scholarship. Students with at least a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT or 26 on ACT will get full tuition at public colleges and $4,000 to private colleges. Students will need to maintain a 3.5 to keep the scholarship.
- Eliminates money for books or mandatory fees.
- Caps payout to 127 hours for HOPE scholarship and 63 semesters for the HOPE grant. Students will a post-secondary degree will be ineligible for the technical grant.
- Requires high school students to take "rigorous" classes to qualify for HOPE. This will begin this fall with incoming high school freshmen.