Friday, January 20, 2012

Will HOPE survive? Concerns persist about scholarship's future

Despite some hopeful oratory from Gov. Nathan Deal in his State of the State speech earlier this month, concerns continue over whether funding will be available to support the HOPE scholarship for Georgia students in the future.

In his speech to the Georgia Legislature on Jan. 10, Deal heralded last year’s HOPE overhaul, which he signed last March and which brought about several changes in the amount of tuition assistance HOPE recipients can receive, as a move “that preserves HOPE for future generations.”

“One year ago, HOPE — arguably the nation’s most generous merit-based, higher education scholarship and grant program — was on an unsustainable course and faced a complete depletion of reserves as early as FY 2013,” Deal said.

But in a recent presentation to state lawmakers, the Georgia Student Finance Commission, the state body that administers the scholarship, told legislators that as enrollment and tuition continue to rise at Georgia colleges, and despite efforts of the Legislature to stop the program’s fund hemorrhaging, the amount of financial aid a student would earn from the HOPE scholarship could drop below half of the actual cost of college tuition within the next three years, leaving students to pay the difference.

Read more:Times-Georgian - Will HOPE survive Concerns persist about scholarship s future

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