Many students and parents are upset that the new HOPE limits revealed yesterday by Gov. Nathan Deal will be applied to students already in college.
Those students may have chosen Georgia public colleges based on an expectation that HOPE would cover full tuition as it has since its inception. Now, most will be downgraded to HOPE Lite, as they lack the required 3.7 GPA in high school and the 3.5 GPA in college to qualify for the full funding. Those students with the mandated GPAs to retain full funding have a new name, Zell Miller Scholars.
(Wish the governor had not thrown another name in the mix. I think Full HOPE and HOPE Lite are clearer in their intent.)
HOPE Lite students will get around 90 percent of their tuition covered minus any money for books and fees, which means about $1,500 a year more out of pocket for students at the research campuses.
If you are among them, please call my AJC colleague Laura Diamond who is writing a deadline story today: She is focusing on student/parent concerns on how to pay for what HOPE won’t cover. Will you rely on loans? Will you attend a different, less expensive college? Will you take fewer courses to save money? We’re interested in the different options students and parents are considering. Please contact Laura Diamond. email@example.com.
Now, back to the blog:
The state is also cutting the funds for Georgia students attending private colleges in the state, a decision that hasn’t stirred much response. If private college students had the 3.7 GPA in high school, the 3.5 in college and the required test scores, they keep their full private school HOPE amount. If not, they will see a $400 cut per year. I understand the argument that a $400 cut for the privates is actually a good deal, considering that the dollar loss to the UGA and Tech students is more than three times that amount.
But here is one student who says it will hurt:
It is very troubling that they have raised the GPA requirements for full financial coverage. I am a freshman, with 18 hours and a 4.0 under my belt. My mother is fully disabled and I can barely afford school as it is with the price for a private school.
It’s hard to see that they are raising GPA requirements and cutting the amount given to private schools by $400 (that I don’t have) so, I guess I will have to get a job that could interfere with my GPA. I’m hoping people will begin to realize that the PELL grant and others barely help cover tuition and for students like me, so HOPE is a blessing.
Reinstating the income cap would be the most beneficial thing. The higher the income, the lower the amount offered. I feel as though students who worked hard to earn HOPE, no matter their family’s income, should be rewarded, but others do need it more.
They could still offer some incentive for those families who make a large income without giving them the whole shebang. We are all scared, because losing money from HOPE could mean a lot of us will not know what it feels like to see a college diploma in our hands.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get School blog