Thursday, December 16, 2010

Students Set to Respond to Proposed HOPE Changes

This is the time of year when Georgia's college students should focus on finals. Instead, some are taking a study break to plan how they will fight changes to the HOPE scholarship they depend on to attend college.

Acting in response to comments state officials made last week about potential changes to salvage a financially troubled program that covers tuition and some other costs for about 200,000 students a year, some students have planned protests.

Others are throwing out their own ideas to bolster the merit-based program, such as changing how students earn the scholarship and using tax revenue from Sunday liquor sales.

Legislative recommendations aren't expected for a few of weeks, but suggestions include decreasing the amount of the award and raising the minimum grade-point average to qualify for HOPE from a 3.0 to a 3.2, said Rep. Len Walker, R-Loganville, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

Both possibilities make students nervous. Some could lose the award. Others could have to delay graduation because they would have to work more hours to afford school, they said.


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