Need-based HOPE legislation flies through Senate

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 496, which adds a need-based component to the HOPE Scholarship. The bill was approved in a 45 to 4 vote.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration. I have to admit passage surprised me as the concept seems to have little public support. I also thought the Senate would figure there were too many major issues this year to tackle something as controversial as awarding HOPE Scholarships, albeit smaller ones of $600 or $700, based on need rather than academic achievement. Even UGA President Michael Adams said that he didn’t endorse the idea because he felt it would reduce overall support for the HOPE program.

Here is the release from  the Georgia state Senate:

SB 496, The HOPE College Opportunity Grant, passed the Senate today with an overwhelming majority. Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), the bill’s author, went to bat for need based students throughout Georgia by proposing the grant which will be based solely on need.

“This is a ‘stay in college grant’ that probably only amounts to a few hundred dollars, but will certainly help the neediest students in Georgia. These grants will aid students who require our help most as the economy continues to falter and tuition begins to rise,” said Hill. “By giving these students a needed hand, we are cementing a brighter future of our state’s education system and economy; what we put in today is indeed an investment in the future of our state.”

“During this economic downturn, we want to proactively look for ways to support our college students who struggle the most to afford their tuition. Education provides the foundation that is necessary to develop and maintain a 21st century workforce in Georgia. And we are committed to growing and expanding our workforce in Georgia so that we will lead in job growth and workforce readiness. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Hill has led on this issue and I want to thank him for his hard work and efforts to provide assistance to our neediest college students,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.

In order to be eligible for the HOPE College Opportunity Grant, students must also be eligible for a Pell Grant during any term they apply for the grant. They must be full-time students attending eligible public postsecondary institution and meet enrollment standards including maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

The bill also notes certain residency requirements for grant applicants. The student must be classified as legal Georgia residents under the institution’s in-state tuition policy. Any student who is a Georgia resident at the time of their high school graduation must have met the residency requirements for at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes for which the HOPE grant is awarded. For any non-Georgia resident, this term is extended to 24 months. Additionally, dependent children of military personnel stationed in Georgia, who graduate from a Georgia high school or home study program, will be deemed Georgia residents.

The HOPE College Opportunity Grant is available until the student has earned a baccalaureate degree or until the student has attempted 190 quarter hours or 127 semester hours. The grant may be applied to any portion of the student’s cost of attendance.

Hill noted that 30 million in lottery funds are available to be set aside for this beneficial scholarship fund. Funding for the grant is based on appropriations, as well as how a specifics student’s need might change over their higher education career.

107 comments Add your comment

history teacher

March 27th, 2010
10:59 pm

If they are already getting Pell grants, why is there a need for more money? Lots of middle class kids need financial help and they are not eligible for Pell grants. Will they have to keep a 3.0 in college or is that not a requirement either? As much as we water down high school with our wonderful one track diploma, I seriously doubt that a student who cant earn a 3.0 in high school is going to do a lot better in college. We must have a bunch of fools in the state legislature..

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Greek Dawg

March 27th, 2010
11:29 pm

I do not trust the General Assembly to do the right thing when it comes to Lottery funds. The articles was devoid of the pertinent informtaion upon which to understand what was done other than the words of the proposer. I wish the Lottery funds would go for tuition and books as originally sold. Over the years every Tom, Dick an Harry project has been funded by Lottery funds. We need to reinstitute the originl intent and then pass a “Leave Lottery Funds Alone” bill that makes it impossible for the General Assembly to ever get their hands on them.

Greek Dawg

March 27th, 2010
11:31 pm

Please excuse the errors of spelling and tense in my previous post. I got angry and did not proof.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

March 28th, 2010
8:42 am

Although I do not trust the Republicans in the legislature, on its face the bill appears to be a good one. The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, but it looks like an effort to mitigate the effect of tuition increases on low-income students that the state budget has caused.

V for Vendetta

March 28th, 2010
8:46 am

This is a perfect example of our so-called “conservative” government failing to uphold even the most basic conservative principles. It is now apparent, I would hope, that no citizen of Georgia can trust a politician running on the conservative platform.

WAKE UP PEOPLE! The Republicans have been doing this for years: They make bold claims about small government, but, when the chips are down, they vote for just as many Big Government programs as the Dems. Pathetic.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
8:50 am

the concern I have is college is profoundly expensive. working at GPC I am routinely appalled by the cost of everything, most especially books. GPC, mind you – not UGA or Tech. of even Clayton St.

the cost of a 4 year degree can easily tax the resources of a family making $150,000.

with the coming tuition increases, and they are coming, the cost of educating Georgians is gonna continue to climb out of the reach of more and more families.

instead of dealing with issues of pork, cronyism, and waste, the legislature does its Nero imitation of fiddling while the state burns.
and these idiots wonder why so many jobs go to Asia?

this stupid act turns HOPE into just another welfare program. so much for the goal of a more educated Georgia overall.

Local student

March 28th, 2010
8:50 am

Just as we all feared—-Politicians just can’t keep their grubby hands out of HOPE. If poorer students need more money, the politicians can 1. approve and fund a new program, or 2. dip into HOPE. Of course they went for option #2.

This is a terrible bill, if the House doesn’t kill it, they’re idiots.

Enough Already

March 28th, 2010
8:52 am

I agree with History Teacher. Students whose parents income fall into “middle class” have to borrow money to attend college even though they study and maintain their HOPE, while the “low income” student gets HOPE and grants regardless. Both students will be in the same boat income-wise when they graduate from college. However, it will only be the middle class student that has loans to repay

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
8:53 am

gotta be honest about one thing: as voters this is sorta our fault.

if we spent 1/100th the time watching our idiot legislators as we do Georgia’s next recruiting class, these fools would be forced to be responsible or be tossed out of office.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
8:54 am

this sorta crap reminds me of why I left the GOP years ago.
they’re no different than the dems anymore.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

March 28th, 2010
8:57 am

A Republican advocating for the needy? How odd……….

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:01 am

here’s a thought:

increase joint enrollment possibilities. JE can cut a sizable dent out of nearly anyone’s college bill.

here’s another thought: make two year colleges initally free to any legal resident making their first entry into college. regardless of race or income. they keep the grades up, they ride the bus for free.
grades slip, they pay the going rate.

class warfare bills don’t educate Georgians, but they do exclude them.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:03 am

here’s another thought:

take the 9 mil Sonny is gonna spend on his horse park, and pay some tuition with that.

GeekGirl

March 28th, 2010
9:06 am

Part of the idea of Hope was to keep the academically gifted young people in the state. Hope succeeded in doing this. I predict the “brain drain” of our brightest young people will increase. What a pity in a state that already has low SAT scores and rural areas that are severely under-served for medical care.

RIGHT ON, BROTHER....

March 28th, 2010
9:13 am

NO HOPE FOR HOPE………
DEKALB , FULTON DONT CARE ABOUT EDUCATION.
SPEND THE MONEY ON CRIME PREVENTION.

David Hoffman

March 28th, 2010
9:13 am

Greek Dawg, twice the voters have told both Democrats and Republicans to not create need based scholarships, real estate property tax rebates, funding for K-12, and other such schemes out of the Georgia Lottery proceeds. I suspect that the Republicans wanted to hand out lottery money to military dependents to prove how patriotic and supportive of military families they are, even if the dependent children are not academically qualified for HOPE scholarships. The Republicans got the Democrats to go along by agreeing to give the same amount of money to students who are not academically qualified. The Democrats have always wanted to turn the lottery proceeds into another welfare program. HOPE to the Democrats means Helping Outstandingly Poorly Educated academically unqualified children get money. Outstanding academic performance to them means the student had an attendance record of at least 76% of scheduled school days. That’s it, the child came to school most of the time. The child could have a D- average, but that does not matter. The last time this kind of handout was proposed, there were brave legislators who worked to put the proposal on the ballot for the voters to decide. It went on the ballot and the voters told them to “Leave Lottery Funds Alone” as you put it. This time they cut a deal with each other so no one can force it to go to the citizens of Georgia to decide.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:15 am

@ geekgirl

its not just gonna be the students.

those of us who make education happen -from the janitors to the professors – are taking notes of just how inept the legislature is
in this matter.

we’re asking ourselves why should we stay in a place which doesn’t
want us, or value our contributions? when the economy picks up there is a very good chance many of the best of us will be on the first train
outta here.

and Georgia will be left with the least qualified, motivated, or nearly retired teaching the dumbest, least motivated Georgians.

smooth move legislature – smooth.

blackbird13

March 28th, 2010
9:17 am

People on this board seem to be under the impression that HOPE is going needs-based, but from what I read this is simply an add-on to the program. Whether that is a good idea or not is debatable; however, it appears that it has no effect on the regular HOPE program.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:18 am

seems the legislature is taking a note from Congress.

screw the wishes of the people, we gotta pander and pay off
some political debt.

Local student

March 28th, 2010
9:21 am

“Has no effect?” HOPE money is not endless. What happens when there is not enough funding for the original recipients?

RIGHT ON, BROTHER....

March 28th, 2010
9:22 am

OMAMA GONNA TAX THE HE** OUT OF HOPE.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:24 am

if HOPE runs dry, it runs dry.

maybe then, and only then, will local politicians stop
looking at it as this vast, untapped monetary resource.

maybe, but I’d not count on it

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:27 am

@blackbird

to me, the issue has nothing to do with how much or little
the add on effects HOPE.

what bothers me is that we, the Georgia voters, have told those
crooks time and again not to muck with HOPE, and they try anyway.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:28 am

stupid filter

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2010
9:31 am

is there some kind of IQ test to be a elected representative?
if your IQ exceeds a certain level, you’re not allowed to run?

old teacher

March 28th, 2010
9:36 am

Really poor kids get all kids of help. Middle Class kids get, other than the HOPE, very little. Even with HOPE books and fees cost more than my undergras-grad. work at a privite college years ago.

td

March 28th, 2010
9:37 am

The lottery is the only way the moochers pay any taxes. I can not believe we have this many RINO’s in our legislature. Time to go to the primary and vote for anyone without a I (incumbent) by their name. Time to throw all the bums out and start over.

truth

March 28th, 2010
9:42 am

Sad truth is that a academic low achiever on paper in GA needs more incentive to keep their grades up not less. In reality, they probably don’t belong in overfilled colleges to begin with.

How manty times are we going to say…”starting this year you have to start getting better grades.”

Larry

March 28th, 2010
9:47 am

Surprised. That’s a nice word.

So, Maureen, is there an equally nice phrase to convey “go down there and bang 45 heads together to see if I can knock some sense into ‘em”?

JE doesn't save money

March 28th, 2010
10:13 am

@bootney

JE credits are counted in HOPE – so, if you take 12 credits during JE, you use 12 credits of HOPE. So, JE really doesn’t same money – unless you know you are going out of state for your colleges, or possibly going to a GA private college.

But, in general, I strongly support JE. Classes are much more rigorous and instructors know a lot more about the subjects.

Wee Willy

March 28th, 2010
10:15 am

Pat Buchanan said in 1991 “you have to remember, the Democrats and the Republicans are both wings of the same bird of prey”. I strongly support term limits and even though that subject is taboo to career politicians, we, the voters, can institute term limits on both the national, state and local level if we have the fortitude. Two terms and out, I say.

HOLY MOLLY

March 28th, 2010
10:55 am

Sent five childern to college on Hope.All of them kept Hope during college,however the cost of books and fees that hope did not cover was around 700.00 per semester or 1400.00 per year.Also as most students know,extra money is needed for school supplies and other expenses that the Professor has requested for that class. My family did not receive a supplement from Hope and WE DID NOT QUALIFY FOR PELL. Our household income was around 72,000.00 at that time. It took everything we had plus working two jobs to send my Kids to college. Why the hand out for the students who cannot keep Hope and still QUALIFY for PELL GRANTS?LET’S all get sorry ;go on welfare,pay no tax,live in public housing,and have the Federal and STATE goverments keep us up. SENATOR HILL shame on you!

V for Vendetta

March 28th, 2010
11:21 am

Bottom Line in 2010 and beyond:

If you vote for a Republican, you’re an idiot.

If you vote for a Democrat, you’re an idiot.

Vote them all OUT.

Libertarian all the way.

What Inclusiveness?

March 28th, 2010
11:30 am

This is a RIDICULOUS decision. If anything, this money should be going to elementary education needs.

Maureen Downey

March 28th, 2010
11:41 am

blackbird, You’re right that this is an add-on to the existing HOPE program. The big question is whether lottery funds can keep up with HOPE demand overall, and satisfy the continued demand to expand pre-k, which is also lottery funded and now has waiting lists in some areas. (And there is a push to extend pre-k to low-income 3-year-olds.)
Maureen

read4me

March 28th, 2010
11:43 am

A state school in Georgia is cheap compared to private school education or the cost of a state school in many other states. What happened to students working a few jobs to get through college? My tuition at a state school in anther state cost the same as Georgia Tech does now and I went to undergrad in the early ninty’s. Tuition is not expensive in Georgia. Our students are undereducated for what is expected of them in college. The children also need to work and pay for some of the schooling themselves. It’s only because I had to help pay that I gave a crap and worked my tail off to earn good grades and stay in school. Hard work never hurt anyone. Handouts just keep people down. HOPE the way it was intended gives a hand-up, which is an incentive for children to work hard and earn good grades. This new thinking is just crazy.

Move on When Ready

March 28th, 2010
11:47 am

Move on When Ready allows students to attend college full-time their junior and senior years of high school, paid through Ga DOE rather than using their HOPE credits. http://www.gpcinthelooponline.com/component/content/article/233.html

If they change HOPE, I wish they’d revise it so HOPE funds can’t be used for remedial classes in college. If students require remediation, it means they didn’t take advantage of opportunities offered in high school and/or teachers inflated grades. Other students shouldn’t be short-changed in HOPE eligibility to pay for remediation for other students.

Current parent, former teacher

March 28th, 2010
12:10 pm

Well said, Local Student. Succint, precise, and pithy!

Courtney

March 28th, 2010
12:33 pm

My support for HOPE just turned into opposition. Another Welfare program for the lazy!

Bill

March 28th, 2010
12:41 pm

OK, somebody has to take the other side. For years, middle class students have had their education subsidized in a big way (Hope) by poor people (who buy most of the lottery tickets. Now, they are screaming because a tiny fraction is going to go to poor people who pay most of it in the first place. For all the 3.0 students screaming that you earned it; you just did what you were supposed to, and you had lots of help along the way. Instead of whining, you could trade places, and see if your opinion changes

budman

March 28th, 2010
12:49 pm

Hope scholarship for years I thought it was joke scholarship

blackbird13

March 28th, 2010
1:29 pm

I don’t have a problem with HOPE becoming need-based, as long as the gpa requirements remain (or are raised). I do object to money being diverted from the merit-based program into one that doesn’t factor in grades. If you failed to achieve a 3.0 in high school, for whatever reason, you aren’t shut out out of HOPE now: you can qualify for the scholarship after completing 30 hours of college credit with a 3.0. This was the case for me, but I had several years between high school and college; I went to college because I wanted an education, not to avoid work, to party, or because my parents insisted. For those who go straight to college after getting mediocre grades in high school, they almost certainly will struggle to pass college-level courses. So I say if they didn’t earn it in high school, let them prove they deserve it in college. Too many kids are going to college who should be looking at other alternatives.

Local student

March 28th, 2010
1:35 pm

Bill, if you want to take the other side—pay for them.

The issue, for me, is not helping low-income students attend college. It’s taking HOPE funds, which were set aside for an EXPLICIT purpose, for another reason. That reason would be “hey, lookit all this money sittin’ here!”

Equal Opportunity

March 28th, 2010
1:45 pm

Here we go again. If education is the goal, why would we take away the one incentive our kids have to make good grades. There was nothing wrong with asking students to maintain good grades. If a child is not working hard enough in High School to maintain a 3.0 grade point average, what makes anyone in the legislature think that they are going to work hard enough to graduate from college? Now, our money can go to those who will waste it on taking classes that never materializes in a degree. Congratulations, you have found a new way to waste taxpayer money.

catlady

March 28th, 2010
2:32 pm

While I support needs based aid and support tightening up HOPE requirements, this is a first step in letting the legislators get their hands on HOPE. It will probably end up going to support someone’s pet project, or help someone’s special kid.

If we want needs based help by the state, let’s re-fund SSIG, which the feds will contribute to.

Keep your hands off HOPE, legislators! We don’t trust you! We have seen you in action before!

BTW, HOPE cannot be used for remedial work, I believe. And some institutions cannot offer remedial courses at all.

HOPE is BS

March 28th, 2010
2:34 pm

The people who truly benefit from HOPE and Pell Grants are minorities. Just a thought…. what shape would the HOPE be in if it didn’t pay for Pre-K (free childcare for parents), free training for day care workers, help to pay for fireman and policeman pay for specialized training, and all other money that is used to pay for programs have absolutly no business being covered under the HOPE? How many out of state people have come to this state and used our HOPE Scholarship to pay for their education? The HOPE needs to be re-vamped. No longer should scholarship athletes receive HOPE. No longer should minorities be allowed to benefit from HOPE and other programs that have been set up to benefit just minorities. Seems to me that people of color benefit disproportionately to whites and asians. Low income students are favored over students who are academically superior. Please explain how this helps the intelligent students of all colors out there?

HOPE is BS

March 28th, 2010
2:34 pm

The people who truly benefit from HOPE and Pell Grants are minorities. Just a thought…. what shape would the HOPE be in if it didn’t pay for Pre-K (free childcare for parents), free training for day care workers, help to pay for fireman and policeman pay for specialized training, and all other money that is used to pay for programs have absolutly no business being covered under the HOPE? How many out of state people have come to this state and used our HOPE Scholarship to pay for their education? The HOPE needs to be re-vamped. No longer should scholarship athletes receive HOPE. No longer should minorities be allowed to benefit from HOPE and other programs that have been set up to benefit just minorities. Seems to me that people of color benefit disproportionately to whites and asians. Low income students are favored over students who are academically superior. Please explain how this helps the intelligent students of all colors out there?

Christie S.

March 28th, 2010
2:35 pm

@bootney, Mar 25, 9:01

“here’s another thought: make two year colleges initally free to any legal resident making their first entry into college. regardless of race or income. they keep the grades up, they ride the bus for free.
grades slip, they pay the going rate.”

Yep. I like this. Make it a program that gives them a student loan for their “free ride”, but with all payments deferred while they maintain at least a 3.0. Upon completion of a technical degree or associates with that 3.0 intact, the loan balance is forgiven. If they fall below the gpa requirement, the money becomes an unsubsidized loan amount, with payment being deferred until after 6 months out of school, just like other government student loans.

TJ

March 28th, 2010
2:40 pm

Someone told me a long time ago that the lottery was the only tax poor people paid. I think it’s about time we got something from them, since we spend so much on them across the board.