Since 1993, Georgia college students have been eligible for the HOPE scholarship: full tuition at any public Georgia college or university for students who earn and maintain a 3.0 GPA. HOPE is funded by the Georgia lottery, but recent tuition hikes, reduced lottery revenues, and heightened demand have left HOPE poised to run out of money in the next few years. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced proposed changes to the Georgia HOPE scholarship. If the legislature passes his program, here's what will change.
1. GPA Requirements
Students had been eligible for HOPE if they graduated from high school with a 3.0 GPA and maintained it in college. Under Deal's plan, only students who graduated with a 3.7 GPA would get 100% of tuition under a new program called the Zell Miller Scholarship. They would need to maintain a 3.5 in college as well.
Students who graduate and keep a GPA from 3.0-3.69 would be eligible for 90% of their tuition (based on 2010-2011 tuition rates).
Scholarship funding is currently tied to tuition increases. In the proposed plan, funding would be tied to lottery revenue.
3. Private College Cuts
HOPE Scholarships for private Georgia college students had been $4,000 annually; scholarships would now be $3,600.
4. Remedial Classes
Remedial classes would only be eligible for HOPE at Georgia technical colleges rather than all schools as they are now.
5. Books and Fees
Mandatory fees and textbooks are currently covered under HOPE. Deal's proposal would no longer cover them.
6. Regaining HOPE
Presently, there is no limit to how many times a student can regain the HOPE scholarship after losing it due to low GPA. Under Deal's plan, students can only regain the scholarship once.
7. Other Details
Current college students would have to earn HOPE under the new guidelines; they would not be grandfathered in to the old program. $10 million would be allocated to a 1% interest loan program for students who cannot maintain their 3.0 GPA. Loans could be forgiven for time spent teaching in specific subject areas.