Georgia’s vaunted HOPE Scholarship has become welfare for the state’s rich

An Atlanta attorney argues that HOPE now constitutes "welfare" for wealthier Georgians and more lottery funds ought to go to pre-k.

An Atlanta attorney argues that HOPE now constitutes "welfare" for wealthier Georgians and more lottery funds ought to go to pre-k.

I ran an e-mail that I received from Emmet Bondurant, a prominent local attorney and education advocate, calling for the HOPE Scholarships to be limited by income so more funds can go to the critical needs of pre-k.

I asked Emmet Bondurant to expand his views into an op-ed and here it is. (A joint House and Senate education committee meets Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. to discuss HOPE funding. I plan to attend. Should be interesting.) I plan to run the piece on the Monday education op-ed page but this is a preview for Get Schooled readers.

I know many of you like HOPE the way it is, but Bondurant is looking at the issue of dwindling resources and what investment yields a greater return for the state. Again, there is no doubt that HOPE has done a lot to inspire high school kids to work harder and take more AP classes to get into UGA or Tech. And as the quality of the students has improved, so has the quality of the universities.

But would the state as a whole benefit more if we redirected increased funds to pre-k and to those youngsters for whom college is not a foregone conclusion from the cradle? (All research shows that HOPE influences where kids go to college, rather than whether they go.)

Read the piece and let us know what you think:

By Emmet J. Bondurant

It is now obvious that as a result of the recent increases by the Board of Regents in college tuitions, as well as the growth in the number of students graduating from high schools with B averages, the Georgia Lottery is not going to generate sufficient revenue to fund HOPE Scholarships at current levels. Allowances for books and student activity fees are going to be drastically reduced – and if the shortfall in lottery revenues continues, the HOPE Scholarships themselves will be in jeopardy.

I urge legislators to exercise real leadership and convene a study committee composed of genuine experts in public education to evaluate the real – as distinguished from the imagined – benefits of the HOPE Scholarship program and determine whether Georgians are getting the maximum bang for the buck from the hundreds of millions in lottery revenues that are spent on HOPE Scholarships and HOPE Grants.

Are the HOPE Scholarships and Grants the best way to genuinely advance public education – or would Georgia’s children derive a far greater benefit if the same dollars were used to make high quality pre-k available to all 3 and 4 year olds?

Georgia is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars annually in lottery revenues to subsidize the tuition costs for middle and upper-income families who would have sent their children to college on their own expense, without a hand-out from the state. To make matters even worse, these same families forfeit $2,500 annually in college tuition tax credits from the federal government by accepting HOPE funds from the Georgia Lottery.

Many studies by leading educators and economists have shown that the Georgia could achieve far more bang for the buck at all levels of public education by investing the revenue generated by the Georgia Lottery in pre-k than in HOPE Scholarships and Grants.

Legislators must take an honest look at the evidence and answer the hard questions about the value of pre-K versus HOPE that have been ignored for too long. Since the General Assembly is going to be forced by the shortfall in lottery revenues to do something, why not adopt real reforms, instead of merely nibbling around the edges and adopting half measures that are merely politically expedient?

There are two obvious ways for lawmakers to reduce the drain on lottery revenues. First, lawmakers should cut out welfare for the rich, and let families that can afford to send their children to college pay their own way. If the General Assembly were to reimpose a $75,000 means test for HOPE, for example, 73.5 percent of all Georgia families would still be eligible for HOPE Scholarships. The only families affected would be upper-income ones fully capable sending their children to college without a lottery welfare check or hand-out.

The idea of eliminating unneeded welfare payments to the rich should appeal to true conservatives who are willing put principle ahead of their own selfish interests.

The state could also save tens, if not hundreds, of millions in lottery revenues by cutting HOPE Scholarships to attend both public and private schools by $2,500 each. Such a change would cost the parents of HOPE recipients nothing, since they’d then qualify for the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credits against their federal income taxes. Then, the federal government, rather than the Georgia Lottery, would contribute $2,500 of the cost of each Hope Scholarship.

If our new governor and General Assembly don’t take the lead in reforming HOPE and pre-k, who will?

211 comments Add your comment

Involved Parent

July 23rd, 2010
1:22 am

I know many families who make just above $75,000/year who would not be able to afford to send their children to college. These aren’t families who live beyond their means, either. Reinstating income caps for HOPE may make sense, but it needs to be much higher than $75k and credits for families with more than one child in college at a time should be considered. Personally, we would be struggling to send one kid to college without HOPE, much less all three. I guess we could always tell the youngest two, “oh, well.”

I thought part of the idea of HOPE was to keep students in state?

gwinnetian

July 23rd, 2010
1:48 am

I agree with the above poster. It would be difficult to pay for college with no help with a family income of 75,000. I had 2 in college for several years, 7 years running between the 2 of them. Hope didn’t pay for everything, it only helps. The ‘fees’ were several hundred extra each semester and the books were ridiculously high and $150 toward them barely paid for one. The dorms are expensive and the meals are required, especially the first year. Then, they eat Ramen noodles and mac n cheese the rest of the time. I don’t know any kids that squandered their Hope money even though I’m sure there are some but not as many as some people think.

Mine are now both college graduates with no loans and are contributing nicely to society. Isn’t that what the basic plan was?

BB

July 23rd, 2010
2:01 am

I am a high school teacher. I received the HOPE scholarship throughout my undergraduate degree. I am politically pretty moderate, but a little left of center (which makes me a flaming liberal in the context of GA politics, I guess).

While some of his points are valid, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Bondurant. I think there’s some amnesia tied to the statement that HOPE affects where students go instead of whether. The way I remember things, college has become much more of an expectation (as opposed to a privilege for only a wealthy few) for lower and middle class students over the last two decades — since HOPE was enacted. I suppose perhaps I COULD have attended college without HOPE, but it would have either put my family completely in the poor house or left me with a mountain of debt. I think my older sister (too old to get HOPE) is probably still paying on all the loans she had to wrack up to get through. HOPE makes college do-able for families on the bubble like mine was (and who apparently Mr. Bondurant classifies as “rich”). That’s what it should do, if you ask me. I know that I was a better student for it, both in high school and college, because I was squarely motivated both to qualify for it and to maintain it. I understand the narrowing lottery revenue vs. increasing tuition costs equation. If anything, I’d say make the criteria for qualifying stronger before resorting to making it income-based. A B average? A kid leaving high school with just a B average is going to have a pretty tough row to hoe in college. Make it an A average. Add a minimum SAT, minimum number of AP exams passed, etc. The column also seems to ignore the fact that the lottery is a 100% optional tax — my favorite kind.

Lisa B.

July 23rd, 2010
2:03 am

My husband and I both teach in south Georgia and make together slightly above $100,000 per year. Of course we want our son to have the HOPE scholarship. He’s going into 11th grade and wants to go to Georgia State. Are we the “rich” folks who will lose out?

Lisa B.

July 23rd, 2010
2:04 am

BB, there are many of us in Georgia who are “middle of the road.”

BB

July 23rd, 2010
2:07 am

Lisa, as a teacher yourself . . . did you notice in the piece the part about ‘as the quality of students in GA’s colleges has increased, so has the quality of the schools themselves’ . . . gee, that’s unbelievable

Mike

July 23rd, 2010
2:27 am

I do think that something needs to be changed to keep HOPE alive, but I think this solution might be too blunt. The problem is, no matter what you set the limit to, there are always going to be families “on the bubble” of the cutoff. What about, instead of all-or-nothing, your HOPE scholarship became less and less with increasing levels of income? Sure, we’d have to decide about the levels, but that seems a little more fair to me. That way people with low incomes get the full ride, families with super-high incomes can handle themselves, and people towards the middle still get some help.

Just a thought.

cobb mother

July 23rd, 2010
2:29 am

$75,000 and able to afford $50,000 a year for college, you are so out of touch and clearly this writer comes off raciest. Those of us between $75,000 and $125,000 are the ones that will be screwed can’t qualify for any finacial aid. Those who make under $60K will already qualify for other financial aid, Pell Grants, etc.. What is needed is a SAT cut off of 1100 or 1,200. Also cut off the for profit paper mills.

My oldest daughter went to a state funded Pre-k program. 5 years later my younger daughter went to the same program, 1/2 through the year they closed the school, the private provider claimed they found mold, no parent ever saw any. The hospital owner of the daycare, just wanted to get out of the Daycare business. So I and 23 other parents were stuck in the middle of the school year without a state funded Pre-k. I then had to pay over $4,000 for 1/2 a year in private Pre-k for 8-12 and then pay extra for care until 2. Their were no spaces in any of the GA Pre-K since you sign up a year in advance. I also found out at this time that the State Funded Pre-K are in Majority Black areas and their are a lack of State funded Pre-K in Buckhead and Vinings.

I already got screwed out of Pre-k for one of my kids. I don’t intend to get screwed out of the Hope Scholarship by an income cap. It is called the Hope Scholarship for a reason, it was not called the Hope Grant.

Does someone not like who is going to certain flagship universities or the rising SAT scores?

William Casey

July 23rd, 2010
2:40 am

I’m a retired teacher with a son entering his Soph year at Georgia Southern on HOPE. My out of pocket expenses for his first year after HOPE WERE $8,300. That’s not a fortune, but still a significant sum. I began a “college fund” savings program for him at age six months. I estimated that the after HOPE expenses would be about $30,000 for four years. Got it about right as things now stand. My pet peeve about HOPE is not that it subsidizes people wealthier than I am, but that it subsidizes a year of “partying” for many “students” of all income levels. I would favor making HOPE a reimbursement program. If my son makes the grades his frosh year, the state sends me a HOPE check. If not, he partied on my dime.

BB

July 23rd, 2010
2:44 am

Yes, I’ve long been a proponent of a reimbursement system, William. Good point.

Mike

July 23rd, 2010
2:49 am

William: That’s a really cool idea, and would probably go a long way to making sure students don’t slip up while on HOPE.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Eggleston, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Georgia’s vaunted HOPE Scholarship has become welfare for the state’s rich http://bit.ly/codCjx [...]

OTOH

July 23rd, 2010
3:40 am

Apples and oranges. The purpose of the Hope for college bound kids is to keep college educated young adults in Georgia. The purpose of the pre-K program is to boost school achievement of those who are less likely to succeed in school. Frankly, he lost even on his own terms. HeadStart has no lasting benefit, neither does the preK program. The Hope scholarship has helped Georgia retain its college educated.

RobertNAtl

July 23rd, 2010
5:13 am

It’s easy for Emmet Bondurant to advocate this….he’s a rich attorney who makes a half million dollars a year or more. HOPE money is like a drop in the bucket to families like the Bondurants. How about instead he advocates a 40% state income tax on income over $500,000 a year to cover full pre-k? How does that sound, Emmet?

Dianne

July 23rd, 2010
6:20 am

The HOPE scholarship should continue to be available to all students that maintain the B average regardless of parents income. Parents do not always pay for the students college & this prepares the students for life w/o a huge student debt after graduation.
PreK is a parents responsibility and is educationally enriching, but is replacement for day care in the end. We can’t look to the government for free daycare.

HOPE & CHANGE-??

July 23rd, 2010
6:29 am

CAN BET….along with HOPE……COMES lots of inflated grades…then in college…the student ends up in remedial classes…Teachers get rewarded for how many HOPE students they send off to college…not prepared for college level material.

HOPE & CHANGE-??

July 23rd, 2010
6:30 am

UNDER OBAMA…& the LIBERAL DEMOCRATs…everything is free.now….pay for it later..in HIGH TAXES.

SouthernGal

July 23rd, 2010
6:32 am

I would like to see more money directed towards technical schools for the kids that are not going to college. We do a dis-service to those who need job skills that would enable them to become productive citizens.

Richard

July 23rd, 2010
6:35 am

The basic question is almost ridiculous….HOPE scholarships for funding college degrees or Pre-K for 3-4 year olds? A college education has tremendous value not only for the individual (in terms of career opportunities and related compensation), but for society overall. Pre-K, although beneficial, is just a step above daycare. The Pre-K “student” would derive very little net benefit from this program.

Ozzy

July 23rd, 2010
6:41 am

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs perhaps?

That’s been tried before folks. It won’t work.

Thank God.

DCB

July 23rd, 2010
6:45 am

Let me take a little different approach here. A welfare and entitlement state we already are. The HOPE scholarship program was sold to the public not so many moons ago as a program benefiting everyone – not only the needy. Is this to be another of those “the one hand giveth and the other take away” for entitlement programs? Give those of us in the middle and lower upper class a break! And let’s give the students who work hard for their grades a break – regardless of family income. Rewards for hard work and pride in accomplishment these days are hard to come by. Dang but I have come to hate the term “entitlement”.

Ray

July 23rd, 2010
6:46 am

No different from the voucher program being pushed by Judson Hill and Chip Rogers.

Dale

July 23rd, 2010
6:47 am

I came from a family situation that did not allow for me to have anyone pay for my college. Because of a slightly above average income for my father (who was strapped with medical and other expenses) I was unable to qualify for most assistance. I worked hard and put myself through school and excelled. I do not believe higher education should be linked to family status. A rich kid is not rich if his parents cut him off because he wants to study religion instead of business. I favor partial reimbursement and a tax on those higher income families to resolve this.

Bubba

July 23rd, 2010
6:51 am

Maureen, I find most of your blog postings to be very well thought-out but this one’s simply dumb. Please, at least change the headline to welfare for the ‘middle class,’ which is probably true. To suggest that HOPE only helps the rich is just absurd.

Mary

July 23rd, 2010
6:52 am

That’s a great way to drive excellent students from upper-middle class families out of Georgia. If you’re paying that much to send your kids to school, why not pay a little more and send them to a private school out of state?

One of the great things about the HOPE is not just that it made college accessible to anyone in GA but that it kept some of the best and brightest students here. You dismiss that so easily and I think that’s a huge mistake.

Susan

July 23rd, 2010
6:54 am

Is this a great country or what? Another opportunity to limit or even remove benefits for the “rich”. Yep, the ones paying the highest % of their income and by far, the most tax dollars. I know they pay a ton in taxes….but there’s more lower income people than “rich” people. Thus, this change in policy would only impact a few “rich” votes. As long as we’re at it, let’s look at limiting all benefits for the “rich”.

joe suggs

July 23rd, 2010
6:57 am

Pre-K is nothing more than a babysitting service for those too sorry to take care of their own kids. When are the so called poor going to start making a contribution. Medicaid,Food Stamps,SSI checks,Earned Income Credit,Public Housing???? We all should sit on our butts and not work. Everything is done for the so called poor.

lynn

July 23rd, 2010
7:03 am

I am puzzled about all these comments that students couldn’t go to college. There are maybe a handful of states that have programs like HOPE and kids still go to college. Cost of Attendance at GT and UGA is still around 10-12K a year and tuition costs would add about 8K to that.

How do students in Texas, South Carolina and North Carolina do when they or their parents have to foot the entire bill? These are states that have two “flagship” type universities.

Six year graduation rates at UT Austin, Clemson, NC State are nearly identical to UGA/GT. Texas A and M was slightly hirer and UNC was significantly higher. Admission standards probably play a role in this as well, UGA is no longer a safety school for very many students. HOPE has certainly changed the profile of the university.

I believe that many students lose HOPE because they aren’t college ready. They aren’t college ready because they didn’t take the challenging courses in high school in order to make sure they get the HOPE. It is a vicious cycle.

Ken

July 23rd, 2010
7:05 am

PreK at best, is a glofified baby-sitting service… a pre-k child thinks “Hope” is am I gonna get a cookie, or a cracker at snack… Hope was intended, for the most part, to get our kids into a college when most of Georgia (outside of the metro area), could not afford the cost of furthering an education. This would, fortify the work force an educated employee, that could attract business to the state, beyond the minimum wage factory laborer. Part 2 was to fortify the primary education system.
But like every other system that has money, seen, and in a pot, we siphon a bit here and then there, and then say, “where did it go!!! we need to cut back!!! and reduce its intended purpose!!!

Color me confused

July 23rd, 2010
7:05 am

Susan

The rich actually buy very few lottery tickets. The lottery is actually a poor man’s tax.

Sorry. I wonder how many parents of HOPE recipients spend even a 100 dollars a year on the lottery?

Frank

July 23rd, 2010
7:05 am

All rich children don’t make the grades for HOPE funds. HOPE is given to ALL students that makes good grades . It’s NOT base on how much money you have BUT how smart a student is. I don’t see a problem with this. And what can be done to improve lower education- MORE parents that will help their children.

Hmmm....

July 23rd, 2010
7:10 am

Don’t think the rules should be changed on HOPE and how it came to be. My two oldest have been beneficiaries of HOPE….My son keeping it all 4 years while at GT and my daughter, who will be a senior at UGA this year, will be keeping it for all 4 years, too. This has been a huge help for us, even if my husband and I make more than $75,000. Believe me, we are far from rich….It isn’t easy raising 3 kids and HOPE has been a blessing. BTW, I went back to school in ‘96 to become a teacher and was able to qualify for HOPE. That was at a time when only my husband worked. I say leave HOPE alone!

Lynn

July 23rd, 2010
7:11 am

I need to add to my comments above. My point about the graduation rates is that kids are clearly getting through those schools without HOPE and graduating at the same rate as UGA/GT.

When you leave the two flagships and start looking at other public colleges in GA, the graduation rate at public 4 year colleges and universities is dismal. Albany State comes next after UGA/GT with a 50 percent 6 year grad rate and it goes down from there to about 20 percent at Augusta State.

Interestingly, North Carolina has 6 non-flagship public universities that have graduation rates higher than Albany State and have none as low as Augusta State.

The question might be asked is HOPE a good investment for most students?

EnlightenMind

July 23rd, 2010
7:12 am

I hate to say it but its the family’s responsibility and the child’s to pay for college. HOPE is a good idea and the program needs refinements to keep the program viable. Income limitations should be studied but 75K maybe too low since the cost of college is outrageous. I paid my way through undergrad, messed up my opportunities for the pell grant and Hope did not exist. If you want to get a college degree you will find a way if HOPE is not available.

wow!

July 23rd, 2010
7:12 am

I graduated from college last year, after 17 years of going to night school that I paid for myself while working full time during the day. I was in the 1st class elgible for the HOPE when I graduated HS in 1993. I have wittnessed first hand the significant improvement of several state schools. My GPA did not qualify me for HOPE and my parents would not pay for college.

You don’t have to earn a certain GPA for wellfare. Families are attending college, young adults who worked very hard to earn and maintain HOPE. The last time I checked HOPE was performance based. I guess welfare is performance based too.

My younger brother earned and maintained HOPE through college and knowing how he worked to earn and maintain his HOPE it disgusts me to mention those 2 programs at the same time. The real issue here is the veiew point of entitlement.

As the father of a 7 month old baby, I highly agree with providing all 3-4 year olds the opportunity for preschool. But if you really want care about GA then find your funding some where else. Zell Miller did.

Jsscott

July 23rd, 2010
7:14 am

Middle and upper class people pay the taxes, lower middle class and indigent reap the rewards. Why should I, as a taxpayer for 34 years now, be ashamed to use some of that tax money for my own benefit? Especially when it comes from a voluntary tax like the lottery? I am tired of being made to feel inadequate or like I am cheating because I want a return on my investment now and then.

Kim

July 23rd, 2010
7:16 am

Mike: “What about, instead of all-or-nothing, your HOPE scholarship became less and less with increasing levels of income? Sure, we’d have to decide about the levels, but that seems a little more fair to me.” — this is actually what I was hoping the author was going to suggest.
Also, pre-K is one thing that will help students eventually make it to college.
Finally, having taught @ both KSU & GSU, you all do realize that keeping grades up in HOPE is a joke for many marginal students? They have to maintain a certain grade (can’t remember, it’s been a few years) & if they don’t have that grade by mid-semester, they drop the class(es)!! It’s a game! At both of these schools I had some of the best & worst (marginally literate) students of my 15-year academic career.

Christina

July 23rd, 2010
7:17 am

HOPE is exactly what is should be…a meritocracy. Those who work hard and earn good grades get HOPE. Those who don’t, wont. That would be the exact opposite of welfare, Mr. Bondurant.

mcgruff04

July 23rd, 2010
7:24 am

I think a lot of you have forgotten the intended purpose of this scholarship. The name should remind you that this was meant for students that have the grades but don’t have the funds to attend college. It was never meant to supplement the funds of those that can afford to send their kids to school anyway. There needs to be an income restriction, but I wouldn’t be opposed to other requirements as well (higher GPA, more AP classes, etc…)

The Mayor of Dunwoody

July 23rd, 2010
7:25 am

There are many good points made by posters above. One of the things that I really appreciate about the Hope Scholarship is that it is an incentive for the kids. It does not discriminate – regardless of sex, religion, or race. The requirements are well know and attainable for most who are willing to work for it! As such, it reinforces what kids are going to encounter in the workplace, which is hard work and focus are usually rewarded. Accepting mediocre performance, not so much!

87dawg

July 23rd, 2010
7:29 am

You can’t decide who gets the scholarship and who doesn’t based on income. That is ridiculous. The lottery is funded by anyone that purchases a ticket, regardless of how much money they make. Does this mean that there will be an income cutoff for purchasing lottery tickets? “I’m sorry sir, I need to see your prior year’s tax statement before I can sell you this lottery ticket.” After you win does that mean you are now exempt from ever playing again? Or will they just skim an additional 10% off the winnings to pay for everyone else’s kid but yours?

I am amazed that folks just don’t get how wrong it is to discriminate against people simply because they are successful. Did you for once think that someone busted their tail to get where they are and very few of the “rich” had ANYTHING handed to them? Long days and nights building something, time away from family to make their lives better, investing your own money when you don’t have it to invest, beating the bushes with hundreds of rejections just to get a solid client base all because you wanted to make a better life for you and your family? Now folks are telling you that you don’t really matter because you tried harder than someone else and you need to accept that you have to shoulder the burden of society. And now you won’t even get the benefits of a public fund simply because you did well?

HOPE scholarships were created to help any student that did their work in class. So now you’re saying that they can be lazy, get bad grades (or not as great) and that is acceptable because mom and dad will pay their way? Condoning stupidity and laziness…amazing.

I

July 23rd, 2010
7:29 am

I am very glad my son gets HOPE; he’s kept it the whole time. The college fund we started years ago took horrible hits, and would not have paid for school. Our additional costs are about $6K each year at UGA. Son has a job and pays for food and incidentals; we pay rent and utilities. He always finds bargain books.
I never used the state pre-K program for my youngest. I felt like the best pre-K education came from me. Mine did a church preschool at age 4, and by then knew all the basic preschool stuff, plus a smattering of sight words and math facts. His brothers did basically the same thing, and were fine for school. Learning and playing should be part of what they do at home, and not restricted to pre-K. Everyone can teach his/her kid basic skills; pre-k is free childcare/babysitting. If you are going to have kids, you should take responsibility for making sure they go to school with some basic early learning (colors, letters, numbers, vocabulary, etc). You don’t have to be a teacher to do this…read to your kids!

Dave

July 23rd, 2010
7:29 am

Yes, and HOPE is also racist as it doesn’t include grades from PE, so says Frank Ski.

Rich Rule!

July 23rd, 2010
7:30 am

The poor people use their welfare money to buy lottery tickets to fund education for the upper class and rich kids to go to college. Sounds like a good system. Money is a zero sum game.

Eric

July 23rd, 2010
7:30 am

What are you all complaining about? Georgia has meanwhile terminated the Hope Teacher Scholarship Loan program, so that I’m paying completely out of pocket for my teaching degree in a critical shortage area.

benny

July 23rd, 2010
7:31 am

Before I could make an educated decision I would like some information. How many high school students earn HOPE, go to college and then lose HOPE due to low grades (partying, thinking they can pass without studying, etc.). How many parents actually support Pre-K and how many use it as a day care center? Has there been any valid research in Georgia that would show progress of Pre-K and non Pre-K students? What is the graduation rate of HOPE recipients versus those not receiving HOPE? I am tired of the entitlement thing and believe that unless there is a form of sweat equity there is no value placed on any program. I firmly believe in HOPE and believe that it has helped many that would not have been able to attend college. I also believe that Pre-K would have to provide some form of benefit for attendees. I just disagree that without stricter guidelines there is a lot of waste. I am actively involved with public education and follow former students progress. It amazes me how many did nothing in high school and earned high grades. They then go to UGA, GT, Georgia State or some other institution and within a year are back in town not going anywhere. No figures but it has to be a lot of wasted dollars. What are the grad rates for HOPE recipients? Non HOPE recipients? Do they complete in 4 years (or like my brother in 7 years)? If this is public information I would like to know where it is located.

mystery poster

July 23rd, 2010
7:32 am

I would not make HOPE a graduated-level or reimbursement program. The purpose of HOPE was to encourage GA students to stay in state to complete their degrees and prevent a “brain drain.”

I would propose that for students who didn’t complete their degree within a period of time, say five years, HOPE reverts to a student loan and must be paid back.

mystery poster

July 23rd, 2010
7:33 am

There are plenty of grants and scholarships available for low-income students. HOPE is a merit-based scholarship. I think it should stay that way.

Germaine

July 23rd, 2010
7:33 am

Make HOPE yet another entitlement program, with benefits cut-off starting with the middle class??!! Is this a joke?

The cost college tuition is all but out of reach for “middle & upper-middle income” families. And the idea that we need yet another entitlement program is frankly disgusting, especially coming from a limousine liberal like Mr. B.

West Cobb

July 23rd, 2010
7:35 am

I love blogs on AJC.com, because no matter the subject, it’s only a matter of time before some far right lunatic attacks Obama (on HOPE schlarships?? give it a rest, will you?) and the some whiny leftie with a chip on his shoulder blames the rich (the white man, or both) for all his problems. :)

Couple of points on HOPE, there are already tons of income based scholarships and grants available. The less you make,the more your kid can apply for, so adding one more is wasteful. One poster suggested making HOPE a reimbursement based on grades. It is grades based already, so don’t maintain your b minimum, you lose HOPE, so there’s no change necessary.

The problem with HOPE is that it has no cap. Why not just divide the available dollar amount among the number of students eligible? Or better yet, since the drop out rate after the first year is so high (probably due to HOPE getting kids in colleges they shouldn’t really be in), Why not make HOPE only for the Sophomore through graduation years?