State Sen. Jason Carter: We can still grandfather in current HOPE recipients and protect them from increases

State Sen. Jason Carter

State Sen. Jason Carter

The political debate over HOPE and the changes made to the popular scholarship program by the GOP-controlled General Assembly continues. DeKalb Senate Democrat Jason Carter says that it is still possible to exempt current HOPE recipients from the cuts pushed through by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Here is Carter’s statement, which is in response to the Regents vote today to raise tuition:

The Board of Regents voted today to increase both tuition and fees for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. With the recent changes to the HOPE Scholarship, that means that HOPE-eligible students and families will immediately be forced to shoulder roughly 13% of their tuition bill, plus the full cost of books and an additional $100-$350 in fees per semester.

“I am glad that the tuition increase was the smallest we have seen in awhile, but I am still convinced that the changes to HOPE will hurt the students who need HOPE most and result in fewer students who can afford to stay in school,” said Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur). “The relatively small increase in tuition still yields a dramatic cut in the HOPE Scholarship and an increase in fees at a time when students and their families can least afford it.”

During the Legislature’s HOPE debate, Senate Democrats advanced an alternative proposal for HOPE reform to maximize the number of students who receive full tuition HOPE scholarships. That plan would have called for an income cap for the HOPE Scholarship.

“Given the 3% increase in tuition, our plan would have been an even better option because it would have covered even more than the 94% of Georgia families originally reported,” said Carter.

Additionally, Sen. Carter introduced an amendment to “grandfather” in current HOPE recipients and high school seniors who have had no time to plan for the cuts. It would have allowed them to receive full tuition coverage for at least a one year “grace period,” and possibly for the remainder of their time in college. This amendment would have been fully funded by excess reserve revenue in the Lottery for Education account – money that has been collected over and above the necessary reserve and is not currently allocated for use.

That amendment was defeated by a party-line vote in the Senate.

“With the 3% increase in tuition for next year, it is now even easier to grandfather in current HOPE Scholars,” Carter said. “We owe it to our current students who have come into college with the promise of HOPE to keep our promise as best as we can, and to do everything we can to see them graduate.”

The “grandfathering” or “grace period” proposal could be enacted by the Governor and Student Finance Commission without additional legislative action.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

36 comments Add your comment

catlady

April 19th, 2011
4:42 pm

Jason Carter says, “Hah. Explain THAT to your constituents, Deal and pals!”

87% Tuition Coverage ( Nice Bargain)

April 19th, 2011
5:39 pm

Inflationary costs for gas, maintenance of facilities,insurance,food,etc.
necessitate an increase in tuition,but if the state is covering between
87% to 90% of a student’s tuition,that is a great deal. Even if a student
has to pay the full in-state tuition, the tuition is a bargain compared to
other universities outside the state.

SHR

April 19th, 2011
5:42 pm

I have 2 in college – one in tech school and one in a public, 4-yr university. We pushed for good grades all through school (not just HS) with the HOPE to obtain HOPE in college. Both of them earned HOPE and it would be dire for them to keep it until they finish (which will be on time). To be grandfathered in at this point would be a blessing.
It is time for the Democrats to keep pushing and show the constituents how the Republicans are truly failing our students. Hopefully Dems will keep coming up with possible solutions and get their stronghold back in the State next time around. When will everyone see the promises, promises, promises are never followed through – “No more furlough days, said Deal” – yep, sure buddy – how can you promise that then cut district funding?

November

April 19th, 2011
5:59 pm

Them dumbocrats are at it again, trying to spend the reserve. When are they gonna learn? Probably never, it’s in their genes.

87% Tuition Coverage ( Nice Bargain)

April 19th, 2011
6:32 pm

Inflationary Costs of gas,food,maintenance of facilities,insurance etc.
necessitate an increase in tuition, but if the state is covering 87% to
90% of tuition costs of HOPE Scholarship students,that is a still a
great deal. Even if students are paying for the full tuition, it is still
a bargain compared to many other universities.

oldtimer

April 19th, 2011
8:39 pm

I think there should be a grandfather clause…even though we do not owe them an education. I think it is unfair to change the rules once the game has begun….

SamIAm

April 19th, 2011
8:42 pm

Sen. Jason Carter is cut from the same cloth as his grandfather – promote every social program with no plan plan to pay for them. Please Dekalb voters, we can’t afford any more Carters in government – vote this guy out the first chance you get. Haven’t we learned anything?

Shar

April 19th, 2011
9:22 pm

Since the state is out of money, let’s take the HOPE logic one step further and cut the pensions of all public employees who have met the requirements for their retirement but had the state shift the pension funds into Go Fish and other worthwhile projects. Maybe those employees who were recently hired will be able to get their full pension but for those who did everything they were supposed to but find the piggy bank compromised, it’s still a great deal to get anything. Better than Social Security will soon be!

another comment

April 19th, 2011
10:20 pm

Jason Carter, and Stacey Evans are the Dems of the Future for Gov and Lt. Gov. That is who should run and win in 3.5 years.

Larry Major

April 19th, 2011
11:18 pm

To grandfather this in without an income cap sounds a little risky for the reserve.

What would be nice is stop handing $50 million a year over to private schools while they’re reducing funding for public entities.

NWGA Teacher

April 19th, 2011
11:23 pm

@ Larry Major: Well there you go. Stop handing over the $50 million to private schools, grandfather it in, and call it a day.

William Casey

April 20th, 2011
12:25 am

To harken back to the Old West, only a conniving, four-flushing, bush-whacking varmint changes the rules in the middle of the game. There were other solutions for restoring financial order.

Larry Major

April 20th, 2011
1:53 am

@NWGA Teacher: Unfortunately, that day can’t happen until next year.

Because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, taxpayers have no legal standing to challenge diverting any – or all – state revenue to private and religious schools via tax credits. The only way to eliminate this situation is to elect lawmakers who will repeal the laws that allow it to happen.

Maybe taxpayers don’t know about this decision, but I assure you lawmakers do, so it might be a good idea to ask your state representatives about their position on this issue before the next election – just in case you think things like a functioning legal system are more important than a family’s desire to enroll their kids in a private school without paying for it.

Dr NO

April 20th, 2011
7:35 am

More of the same from these people who dont wanna pay their fair share.

Double Zero Eight

April 20th, 2011
8:35 am

If “Sonny” had not buried his head in the sand like
an ostrich, we would never have been in a predicament
where drastic action had to be taken. It is not fair for the
graduating seniors.

Dr NO

April 20th, 2011
8:49 am

Life isnt fair and thats just the way it is.

GT Student

April 20th, 2011
8:54 am

I really wish all of this could be finalized, so I can plan what I’m going to do next Fall…

Double Zero Eight

April 20th, 2011
9:30 am

Something is better than nothing.

Double Zero Eight

April 20th, 2011
9:39 am

GA will pay 90% compared to Florida’s 75%, if my
memory serves me right.

I

Dr NO

April 20th, 2011
9:46 am

“Sen. Jason Carter is cut from the same cloth as his grandfather” Oh no…not Jimmy Carters Grandson. Its no wonder this fool is out to lunch like grand pappy.

Philosopher

April 20th, 2011
10:19 am

I often wonder at people who are contemptuous of those who strive to improve the lives of the weaker, and the struggling. Perhaps it is because a very tiny, stingy, self-absorbed heart battles with the knowledge that a self-focused life is an empty life. We need to educate our youth not to give them a means to become rich…but because they are our future. They will provide our food, shelter, health, and entertainment, and they will try to clean up the mess we have made of our environment. Their education is crucial to all of us.

bob leblah

April 20th, 2011
11:01 am

What is it that people don’t understand? We don’t have money, therefore you are not obligated to a scholarship for having average brain. (or any brain for that matter) A 3.0 in some high schools in this state mean you can walk and brush your teeth once in a while.

Philosopher your philosophy is fine when there is money. You don’t burden the doers in society with paying for other people’s education. Those of you that act like there is no way to get an education if HOPE isn’t around is ridiculous. I say NOPE

Jackie T

April 20th, 2011
11:06 am

HOPE should be tiered – perhaps in multiple dimensions.

Those with the highest academic achievement (GPA and SAT) will get 100% support for 4-year institutions, plus some fees/books allowance. If students who don’t meet the academic criteria, and choose to go to 4-year institutions, they get only 75 % of tuition with no fees/books allowance. Those who choose to go to 2-year colleges will get 100 % tuition and some fees/books allowance. If students maintain the minimum academic requirements and graduate from 2-year institutions with Associate degrees, then they can transfer to a 4-year institutions with 100% tuition support and some fees/books allowance at that point.

This way, we encourage more students to go to 2-year colleges first. This does two things. 2-year colleges are cheaper in general. So, it reduces the cost to the state. Also, for those borderline students, 2-year institutions are better place to start academically.

Steve

April 20th, 2011
11:17 am

@NWGA teacher. Why all the attitude toward private school recipients of the Hope? Isn’t Hope about keeping the best and brightest here in Georgia? My son will be attending an in-state private school next year on Hope and he had LOTS of choices from top tier state schools. For him (and us) a private school education was deemed to be the “best” education available for his circumstances. According to state statistics, he will be saving the state over $9,000. $12,900 (projected cost to educate an undergraduate from the state regents) -$ 3500(Hope amount he will receive) What’s wrong with that ? Keeping the “best and brightest” in Georgia AND saving the tax payers BIG money? I don’t understand your point. Looks like a win -win situation to me. Unless of course you think government involvement is ALWAYS better?

Sherry

April 20th, 2011
11:19 am

Well I am all for grandfathering these kids in. I am a single mother and can’t afford all the cost myself.
I too have not had a raise in 5 yrs and no plans on getting one anytime soon. But my gas, electricity, food has gone up. I don’t get to raise my ways of means. This is really getting out of hand. No one can afford anything anymore. What a Legacy, we can’t even give our kids a education anymore it has gotten so expensive., enough is enough!

catlady

April 20th, 2011
11:40 am

Any idea when we will see the “revised” thread of that blog from yesterday, Ms. Downey? I am interested in Dr. Trotter’s comments about it.

Philosopher

April 20th, 2011
11:50 am

@bob leblah -it’s all about priorities. And when you face cancer, heart disease and diabetes, betch you’ll be hoping that some of the few who make it through college (and being wealthy enough to go to college doesn’t mean you’re intelligent) are working as hard and fast as possible to find a cure …for you.

bob leblah

April 20th, 2011
11:53 am

hey sherry can your kids work? so b/c you haven’t gotten a raise, everyone else needs to absorb your kids college tuition costs? Sounds flawed to me..

bob leblah

April 20th, 2011
12:00 pm

phil- i think you just talk without thinking, b/c what you just said is a load of non-sense.

FBT

April 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

My daughter just realized she is going to have to pay for some of her tuition due to the changes. Maybe she will take school and her future a littel more seriously.

lynnbo

April 20th, 2011
12:55 pm

I will surely enjoy the education bubble that is going to pop soon. Perdue and his Regents went on a spending spree and profited off the massive building boom for edcuational buildings. Not to mention the land his friends sold to georgia counties for future schools (ha ha). Thats why he encouraged such a hugh influx of illegal citizens, Perdue needed the numbers to get rich off of and build his empire while in office.
The republicans are to blame for this mess and do not forget come vote time.

Dr. John Trotter

April 20th, 2011
1:01 pm

@ Catlady: I think in Clayton County, it is a matter of the Edmond Heatley Administration saying: “We take your money. At Christmas time, we give it back. Yea! Oops, we take back your money.” Everyone — even school board members — seem confused over Heatley’s rationale and explanation.

Didn’t we vigorously warn the school board in the spring of 2009 that Heatley was not the one. It appeared then and it appears now to me that the school board in Chino Valley, California wanted to get shut of him…just like the school board in Illinois apparently wants to get rid of Arthur Culver. By the way, Glenn Brock gave the Clayton County Board of Education his solo finalist, Edmond Heatley (a graduate of the Eli Broad Foundation’s program).

By the way, it looks like ole Mark Elgart will have another “pickle” (we like this word this morning, right?) on his hand about Clayton County’s “SACS accreditation.” There is no rhyme or reason why — compared to Atlanta, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Fulton — that Elgart would not give back to Clayton SACS’s fake accreditation. Well…perhaps one reason…because the Clayton County Board of Education apparently still believes in the democratic process and has split votes on many topics. Remember that old Markie Elgart like unanimity of opinion on virtually all matters. Mark Elgart apparently wants to govern how the Governing Board governs. School board members, to please him, apparently have to become mindless boobs. Let’s see what Mark Elgart will do with Clayton County. This will be fun to watch. Better than good cinema!

Dr. John Trotter

April 20th, 2011
1:10 pm

Typo: “…Mark Elgart like[s] unanimity of opinion…” By the way, where did Mark Elgart come up with the fallacious notion that unanimity of opinion on boards are important? Diversity of thought is theoretically sought on boards of directors. But, when it comes to elections, diversity of thought is expected.

Dr. John Trotter

April 20th, 2011
1:14 pm

Trying to do too many things at once…another typo…”unanimity…is [not are] important…” Multi-tasking today, but I knew that you would want my stupendous thoughts on this blog today. Ha!

Ole Guy

April 20th, 2011
3:20 pm

Not a good idea, young man. This may appear well-and-good on the surface, but remember, this course of action would develop yet another multi-tiered system. If I was a college hopeful facing this scenario, I would probably choose to “misuse” the system by immediately enrolling in some mickey mouse course of study for the sole purpose of obtaining “grandfather” status, while pissing off a lot of my contemporaries who choose to play by the rules.

Still working 2 jobs (even with HOPE/Pell)

April 20th, 2011
8:00 pm

A three percent increase may not sound like much, but the cost per credit hour has increased dramatically in such a short period of time. In five years, UGA’s tuition has increased by almost 52 percent, comparing Fiscal Years 2007 and 2012. My own institution, Gainesville State College, has increased by about 42 percent.

Some of you are treating HOPE revenue like another tax you have to pay. It’s not. You don’t have to buy into it, you don’t have to support the program. In fact, if you’re posting on this board, chances are you don’t buy lottery tickets anyway.

If we voted to create the Georgia Lottery Corporation in 1992 with the purpose of providing financial support for college, then we should feel that our students are entitled to those funds, not that they should be “just grateful” to have them.

But the Georgia Lottery Corporation, while increasing in its profits since the recession, has not given 35 percent of its revenues to the state since 1997– 26.1 percent went to education in 2010. In their annual report this shortfall is attributed to “vague language” on part of the Georgia Lottery Education Act… though the act clearly states “As nearly as practical, for each fiscal year, net proceeds shall equal at least 35 percent of the lottery proceeds.”