Did Gov. Deal complicate HOPE in a way that penalizes UGA, Tech and Georgia College?

I continue to get weekly e-mails from parents either baffled or angered over the changes to the HOPE Scholarship by Gov. Nathan Deal, who maintains that his reductions saved the popular scholarship program.

But what parents are telling me is that Deal also complicated it.

Here is one such e-mail about how Georgia Tech, UGA and Georgia College students are discovering some of the quirks to the changes the hard way:

This weekend, one of my daughters told me that a friend had dropped a class during drop-add, leaving her with 12 hours.  Then she got a tuition bill.  She called Financial Aid and they said it was because they bill a flat rate for seven or more hours and HOPE  pays on a credit-hour rate now.  I had seen the HOPE payment schedule by college and had wrongfully assumed that since UGA’s schedule was by credit hour that they had changed their tuition schedule from a flat rate to a credit hour rate.  As far as I know, the HOPE students were not told of these changes until they dropped below 15 hours and got the bill.

I checked the Board of Regents website and there are only three colleges that bill with a flat rate, GA Tech, UGA and Georgia College.  It says it is to encourage students to take 15 hours a semester and finish in four years.  With the HOPE changes, they are financially punishing “the best and brightest” who come from middle class and lower socioeconomic status.  Students at UGA and Tech are already paying the highest tuition and fees in the state.

In my opinion, this change means that Gov.  Deal has lied or at least mislead the students at UGA, Tech and Georgia College. The HOPE scholarship is not paying 90 percent of last year’s tuition at UGA, GA Tech and GSCU. Last year’s tuition rate for 12 hours at UGA was $3,535, not $2,828, which is what they are using for the calculation.

Do you think the governor and his “people” knew this and just didn’t care about the impact on the students?  Or are they just ignorant about the fee schedules of the University System of Georgia?  I mean how can they justify using two different ways to calculate the tuition rate?

Regarding the “finish in four” encouragement,  many of the students at UGA have taken Joint Enrollment, AP & IB classes and have exempted many credit hours before enrolling.  They should be allowed the luxury of taking 12 hours (still classified as full-time) if they want without being  hurt financially, especially since all but two other public colleges in the state are not doing the same.

The Board of Regents needs to understand that many students at UGA can graduate in four years without taking 15 hours a semester.  Anyway, was there a problem with students not graduating from UGA in four years?  From what I understand,  it is next to impossible to graduate from Georgia Tech in four years.  Maybe, if they made it more affordable for kids to take 12 hours at Tech, the students wouldn’t fail and have to re-take classes.  Re-taking classes is nothing new.  It has been happening at least since my brothers went there in the 1980s.

I  would expect that the number of HOPE students at Tech dwindles even more next semester with this 15 hour requirement for the 90 percent tuition, which is actually about 87 percent of this year’s tuition.

With the increase in tuition and fees, this change affects the middle class students the most.  I did not realize until I checked into it in the spring,  but 52 percent of the HOPE students at UGA come from families making over $100,000 a year.   I surmise that Rep. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, is the parent to two of  those  students.  On February 27, 2011, this was in the Walton Tribune:

‘I’ve got two boys at the University of Georgia, and their tuition’s about $7,200 bucks a year,’  Cowsert said.  “It’s been paying in full and now subtract 720 bucks from it.  It’s still going to be a fantastic program, but that’s the only way math will work that we can afford to do it.’”

He makes it sound like $720 is nothing.  To him, it may be but to students less well off than his, $720 is a lot. Some people are just out of touch.  Also, as you have previously pointed out, tuition is not the only thing that students have to pay.  They have fees, housing, food and other living expenses.  At UGA, unless a student is from the Athens area like his kids, it is not economically practical to commute.

I sent this parent’s comments to Gov. Deal’s spokesman Brian Robinson, who sent me this note:

The governor and Legislature faced the choice of reform or bankruptcy for the HOPE scholarship. The reforms implemented this year preserve the program and allow the state to give this benefit to as many people as possible for many years to come. Georgia’s HOPE scholarship remains the most generous benefit of this nature in the nation.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

69 comments Add your comment

Rick in Grayson

September 7th, 2011
5:33 am

No problem here. Most students taking 12 hours are slackers. Take out a school loan and pay it back when you leave school and hopefully are working jobs that pay a higher rate. To those that complain about HOPE, be thankful that HOPE pays any part of tuition.

The General

September 7th, 2011
6:16 am

If you can’t figure out a way to come up with $720 a year, you are not smart enough to be in college in the first place.

JF McNamara

September 7th, 2011
6:21 am

12 Hours can be a lot at Tech. I wouldn’t complain about the programs if I were you. They’ll simplify them by cutting them again. Like tax simplificaction, its code for making it worse in a sneaky way.

Peter Smagorinsky

September 7th, 2011
6:21 am

Most kids who attend UGA worked pretty hard just to get here. I’ve had the occasional “slacker” in class, but they’ve been pretty rare and have bombed out of the program. I am aware that UGA has a reputation for being a party school, and perhaps it is. I suspect that the heavier partiers don’t go into education as a career.

Further, not everyone who attends UGA comes from the sort of privileged background that provides a financial cushion that relieves them of the necessity to earn an income while students. I’ve had quite a few students who work their buns off both in class and at jobs because even if they have some financial assistance, they are working and borrowing their way through school to pay for the rest. These demands might require them to take a lighter class load so that they have time to work jobs; they also might not be able to afford a full class load in any given semester. To characterize them all in blanket fashion as “slackers” shows a lack of understanding and sympathy for people who are doing something quite admirable: attending UGA even though they can’t afford it by working incredibly hard on multiple fronts to finance their own education.


September 7th, 2011
6:43 am

I am so tired of our elected officials that either cannot or will not answer a simple question. Instead they submit an canned answer that has little relevance to the question.


September 7th, 2011
6:44 am

Here is the thing…they push them to do it in 4 years because AFTER 4 years, your HOPE runs out. So it is in the students best interest to go ahead and take the 15 hours. Besides like The General said, its only $720/year. You make that much doing work study which is 10 freaking hours a week at minimum wage pretty much filing papers or answering phones in most offices. What happened to having to work hard. Christ you worked hard enough to get into those schools, why not work hard to get out of them?


September 7th, 2011
6:52 am

It appears that there was poor communication or the legislators and parents were not fully informed about how tuition at these three schools works. No surprise there!

All kids should take 15 hours. That is 5 courses, a full load. If you are bringing in AP credit, there is no reason you can’t do that load. In order to finish college in three years (no AP back then), I took 7 classes a term. You just gotta want to, or pay the price. I am tired of folks griping.

And yes, there is a problem getting kids to graduate in 4 years. My kids did because they went to private colleges, and had NO CHOICE but to get finished! However, at some university system schools, it is hard to get the classes you need. This is different from the classes you want–basket weaving from 11-12 on Wednesdays, for example. I have little pity for kids who only want classes between 11-3 Monday thru Thursday.

Parents and students should be happy about the HOPE in whatever incarnation it is, and vote out those who changed it (and allowed the Lottery Corp not to fund it properly for nearly 20 years, while giving themselves huge bonuses) as soon as they can!

Double Zero Eight

September 7th, 2011
6:54 am

Taking 12 hours at Teach or UGA is likely more difficult
than taking 15 hours at another state institution.In
addition, some majors such as chemistry or engineering
are more difficult than business or art history.
All things are not created equal regarding HOPE.
A student that has received credit for AP courses
can easily be 15 to 20 hours ahead of his/her peers.
In addition, a student can attend summer school to
ensure he/she graduates in 4 years.

Mid-South Philosopher

September 7th, 2011
7:10 am

When we consider the intelligence quotient of “Shady” Deal and the “Gold Dome Dunces”, it makes perfect sense that, if there is a way they can tweak HOPE and make life even more complicated for students, they will find it. They are not very good at solving Georgia’s unemployment problem, but they, by the Eternal, can wreak havoc with HOPE and act like they have done something worthwhile.

Grayson Mom

September 7th, 2011
7:11 am

Rick, some of those so called “slackers” are working 30 hours plus in addition to attending school.

It's Mii

September 7th, 2011
7:14 am

How are students who only take 12 credits slackers? I’m a college graduate (GSU c/o 2007) and I never had a 15 credit semester. It was nearly impossible to maintain my B average, work what was practically a full time job, while taking 15 credits. My system was that I took 12 credits (4 classes) during the fall and spring semester, and to compensate, I took 6 credits (2 classes) during the summer. It’s a pretty simple system, and it allows you to still graduate in 4 years.

South Georgia Retiree

September 7th, 2011
7:24 am

The governor’s office didn’t offer a straight answer because either they weren’t willing to admit the real facts or didn’t understand the HOPE rules themselves. In either case, this is horrible and deceitful, but consistent with what we’ve come to expect from this administration.


September 7th, 2011
7:37 am

It would appear that the Governor’s team that wrote the changes did not have a handle on how the GC, GT & UGA systems work.

But that is not unusual in Georgia government.

To those complaining, when I went to college their was no HOPE, there was a 12 hour a day, seven day a week summer job June through Labor Day weekend.

Be thankful for what you have.


September 7th, 2011
7:41 am

Three thoughts: 1) I would assume that Deal et al probably did not, could not, understand the complexities of applying the new HOPE policy to local situations; 2) HOPE remains a significant source of funding for college, maybe not as good as it once was, but still important; and 3) Expect HOPE policies to mimic the IRS tax code as more and more “small” changes are made over time for reasons of economics, “fairness” and politics.


September 7th, 2011
7:43 am

Maureen, you had a great response.

Way too many parents continue to coddle their snowflakes and expect ‘gimmees’ even in college. Best the parents go back to school; learn to read a bit faster; learn to reason; and learn to plan their futures — along with that of kids. A college education is NOT AN ENTITLEMENT!

Some is better than none

September 7th, 2011
7:51 am

It’s a little misleading to say HOPE only pays for 4 years of school. It’s true that there is a cap on the number of credits HOPE will pay, but many students don’t graduate in 4 years because they take advantage of internships and/or study abroad programs. I too am a little disappointed that HOPE does not pay more, but as a parent of a new college student, I’m thankful it pays for some of it and I hope it continues to exist for years to come.

Yankee Prof

September 7th, 2011
8:01 am

The bachelor’s degree is also widely known as a “four-year degree.” This is reflective of a time when students commonly took, on average, 15 credits per semester, often used summer as a time for make-up credits, and generally graduated in four years, thereby maximizing both the time and monetary investment both their parents and taxpayers had made on their behalf.


September 7th, 2011
8:11 am

Both of my kids got a bunch of AP hours in high school. They’re both at Tech, and can both graduate in four years taking 12 hours a semester. In fact, they’re almost locked in to 12 hours per semester because of prerequisites only offered every other semester due to budget cuts. I don’t have heartburn with them doing that because they worked much harder in high school than their friends. Seems a little unfair that they should be punished monetarily for working harder than most kids in high school. I’m not complaining though, it’s still a wonderful program.


September 7th, 2011
8:19 am

Look – College is not FREE.. The state of Georgia is giving you 90% of your tuition if you maintain a B & are fulltime… My daughter & son attend Ga State fulltime & also work 20 hours a week parttime & maintain A & B averages, respectively.. It’s not easy, & they have to work hard at it.. No partying on weekends when they gave tests Monday or Tuesday.. They know better..

Go find that in another state if you please..

Quit looking for a handout!!

PS – I’ll venture to say that this whinning mom also checked lil Johnny’s homework & corrected it when he slept, coddled his teachers with gifts for better grades, was a room mom that was a pain in the rump on the teachers… NEWSFLASH – It’s OK to let lil Johnny fall & skin his knee.. It’s called GROWING UP!!


September 7th, 2011
8:25 am

This same tuition policy was hurting HOPE last year. A student could take 9 hours and HOPE would pay a full 15 hours of tuition…


September 7th, 2011
8:30 am

Rick in Grayson’s comment is outrageous and ignorant. Many students cannot afford to take a 15-hour load because they are working part-time jobs to help pay for their education. I have huge admiration for these students. These are the ones with the real work ethic, who recognize and value their education, and who in no way can be called “slackers.” As for the General’s comment; well, that’s just callous and ignorant.

Worked hard and Still owe....

September 7th, 2011
8:38 am

I’m sorry but all these GA kids on HOPE scholarships, even with it paying 90% have it easy. I have 40K in student loans to pay back and hold a duel Bachelors/Master’s degree that I got in four years in NYS (and went to a NYS public college = cheaper than private school). There are no “gimme” programs like this anywhere else in any other states. I also worked a full time job while in school and maintained a solid B+ average…. believe me, if someone would have paid 90% of my tuition back then I would have been so grateful. It’s called hard work… if you don’t like it and want to whine about it — take out loans like the rest of us as an education is an investment in your future.


September 7th, 2011
8:41 am

In addtition to what Grayson Mom said at 7:11, some of the students are also serving in the military while in college. Trust me, it is a myth to think their tuition is being paid in full by the military.

Jim B

September 7th, 2011
8:58 am

Hey Rick in Grayson – my 12 Hour / Semester Georgia Tech “slacker” Engineer just got her first job offer (she graduates in May, took her four years).

$70,000/year to start and a nice signing bonus with a Fortune 100 company. Not bad for “slacker”, huh?


September 7th, 2011
9:12 am

GT grad and employee here. GT engineering is very different than most. 15+ hours at GT is TOUGH to do and to schedule each semester due to prerequisites, class size limits, and FEAR (lol). Plus no one has commented that summer internships, co-ops, or research are dang near mandatory to get hired as an engineer or researcher. Major companies want to know what you have done in industry in addition to your GPA that everyone on here seems to focus on. I had to keep a 3.0+, co-op (school, work, school, work rotations every term), and lead student organizations. That’s tough to do at 15 hours every semester. Plus if you manage to take the 15 but get C’s in some of them, what’s the point because you are going to lose HOPE because of GPA. Last point on this is, AP or IB credits are a catch 22. I encourage kids to take Calc 1, Chem 1, Physics 1, etc so they can make an A in them vs struggling to get a B (or A) in the next sections just because you want to use your AP credits and get out in 4 years. 4 years sounds great but rarely accomplished or even celebrated in engineering. Study abroad and interning are much more impressive to corporations.
HOPE is still a helpful program and I am thankful for it as an alum of GT in engineering and an employee of GT now. HOPE was created my second academic year and was like heaven! My first year, I paid with local church scholarships, Kroger scholarship, Pell grant, and then Stafford loans.
So to Deal, I say keep HOPE alive, but figure out a way to allow those bright students at some of the top Georgia institutions to not be penalized for taking 12 -15 hours. And if a kid has about 3.5 at GT he/she deserves 100% paid for. Why? Ask the Chamber of Commerce why some companies won’t put plants in GA because we don’t have enough engineers/researchers even with GT sitting here graduating more engineers than any university in the US. About 45% of those graduates are not from GA so many leave this state or country once they get this great education. Lastly, pay HOPE up to 5 years from HS graduation date as long as they are above 12 credit hours. How to pay for these changes, I hate to say it but all I know is to tax more or begin to reduce on a sliding scale how much HOPE pays for families over $100,000. I know its not popular to talk about but HOPE was originally for families under $60k, then $100k, now its not financial dependent.


September 7th, 2011
9:23 am

BMH, I couldn’t agree more.

For those of you who think that HOPE is paying 90% of tuition, think again. It’s more like 60%, once you figure in the extraordinary tuition hikes and the increases and additions to the fee structure, the purposes of which are described as “bridging the gap between tuition and costs” – in other words, even more tuition that the University does not want to admit they charge.

I firmly believe that Deal’s redesign for HOPE was based on two things – maintaining access to the HOPE funds for legislative purposes (so the portion returned to the students had to be cut) and political appeasement. They neither understood nor cared about the charging practices at any of the campuses, the practical consequences to the method they chose or the wellbeing of the students.

Georgia voters approved the law as full tuition payments for students who qualified, and as a program that would not be funded by taxpayers. Those students who earned – yes, EARNED, as opposed to all of the speculative contempt being expressed by the posters above – the grades and scores to receive HOPE were promised tuition payments, just as the retired folks above are living on pensions and benefits they were promised in return for their years of work. Instead, the General Assembly has drained funding from the university system and avoided voter ire by draining HOPE to cover the huge hikes in tuition and fees that resulted from their own profligacy. The sleight of hand is no longer working and no politician will tolerate having a piggy bank taken back out of reach, so Deal has chosen to break the promise of the legislation and pass the buck – literally – to Georgia’s students. It has been done in ignorance, selfishness and most of all in a back room, to bypass public review or approval, and then lied about for as long as possible. The bills are now in, the lying can no longer be extended, so the Governor has a spokesman pass out a statement essentially accusing the victims of this bait and switch of being selfish.


For those of you who denigrate the people who are complaining about this travesty, answer me this: Would you complain if your pension or benefits were suddenly and capriciously reduced by almost half, without any recourse or input? As far as I’m concerned, we should retroactively change the voting percentage needed for victory in elections to 85%, and throw out all the elected officials who didn’t reach the newly-set bar they didn’t know existed. Deal should be at the head of that list.


September 7th, 2011
9:51 am

Or are they just ignorant about the fee schedules of the University System of Georgia?

Bingo. Did you really expect the governor to thoroughly examine the tuition schedule of every single college in the state? Did you really expect the ivory tower bosses… the Presidents and Board of Regents… to work with Deal on HOPE funding cuts in order to come up with a fair change across all colleges? This is the kind of issue that should have been raised by the registrars and College presidents of those schools affected. No, Governor Deal did NOT complicate HOPE. Those nose-in-the-air university Presidents who have raised tuition by 100% over the last decade are to blame. They had ample opportunity to make their voices heard, instead of the student taking the brunt of the change after a dropped class.


September 7th, 2011
9:53 am

@Shar – Well said! As you pointed out, these students were promised full tuition and now we have been subjected to a bait and switch with no time to prepare. And it isn’t just tuition that increased. One of the fees at UGA went from $100 to $450!

@ Rick – What an Ass! My son, who usually takes 12 hours, is taking 15 hours, which is considered an overload when you are pre-med. He has never taken basketweaving, never flunked a class, and never dropped a class without adding another one (all in the drop/add period). Get off your condescending high horse and join 2011.

[...] Did Gov. Deal complicate HOPE in a way that penalizes UGA, Tech and Georgia College? | Get Schooled… I continue to get weekly e-mails from parents either baffled or angered over the changes to the HOPE Scholarship by Gov. Source: blogs.ajc.com [...]


September 7th, 2011
10:21 am

Far too many kids qualify for HOPE because of grade inflation.

I think the GPA requirement should be reduced to 2.0 (C average); however, the SAT and/or ACT should be increase substantially. A SAT score of 1100 or more and a C average in high school is much better than an B average and 900 SAT score. GPA varies greatly by school There are students in Atlanta, Clayton and DeKalb County with 3.5 GPA and SAT scores of 800. Do you really think these students are qualified for college? The AJC ran a story a couple of years ago about a DeKalb County high school valedictorian that had to take remedial class at Perimeter College because she was so behind. What does that say about GPA in Georgia high schools.

A Conservative Voice

September 7th, 2011
10:24 am

You can blame whomever you want to blame, but ultimately “YOU” are responsible for learning the rules and conditions.

Democratic Plantation Dweller

September 7th, 2011
10:35 am

The government owes me an education; afterall, we play the lottery more than most.
Why is HOPE tied to GPA? It should be tied to household income not academic achievement.

Tired of Hope Whiners

September 7th, 2011
10:42 am

People in Georgia should be grateful that there is a program like HOPE. However, like most government entitlements, once they are started, they become expected and those receiving them think that they are owed this money. Those whining about HOPE need to think about where they and their kids would be without HOPE. In case these parents aren’t aware, but most kids graduate with their undergraduate degree in debt usually at least $20,000 and most of the times more than that. People need to begin to be thankful for what they have.

The General

September 7th, 2011
10:48 am

@ SEG-

You think my comment is callous and ignorant? Here, SEG, have a hankie. And welcome to the real world. You are the type of whining victim who thinks that the world owes them a living, or in this case, a free college education.

Some of you folks have been getting things for free. Now that there is less of the free stuff to go around, you biatch like little kids who didn’t get as many birthday presents as they wanted.

My heart bleeds for you and your hurt feelings.

UGA Student

September 7th, 2011
10:54 am

The first thing I would like to point out to the readers of this blog is that there are additional costs past that $720. there is the $1000 in mandatory student fees, the $500 worth of textbooks, as well as housing and food. For me, these costs alone are roughly $7000. We are extremely lucky to have the HOPE program, but that would be expensive for any student. My parents and I have both taken out loans to pay for school.

In addition, when did taking less than 15 hours make someone a slacker? It is ignorant to assume that every student can take on 15 hours and be successful. During my freshman year, I took 13 hours both semesters because I knew that with my circumstances, that’s what I could handle. Luckily, my AP credits are what allowed me to do that and not fall behind. I was balancing school with my involvement in certain clubs, the Redcoat Band, and my job. Is that “slacking?” It’s shocking to see how many of the “adults” commenting on this article don’t take the person behind the number into account. There are a number of new challenges each student faces that varies on a case to case basis. There is absolutely no way to generalize 35,000 students. While the changes to HOPE can be frustrating, students ARE grateful for what we get from the program.

Inman Park Boy

September 7th, 2011
10:55 am

I do not understand the emotionalism attached to this issue. HOPE is not dervived in any way from tax monies but comes completely from revenues generated by legal gambling in Georgia. If you don’t like the HOPE program, it is extremely easy to ignoire it by not taking part in the Georgia lottery. I have a son at Georgia State who is on HOPE which he supplements with federal student loans (and I emphasize the word LOANS.) Some of you people seem to thnk that the HOPE scholarship is an improper use of state money; well, it isn’t even state money you boobs. Get a life.


September 7th, 2011
11:00 am

@Tired – It is NOT whining! The points we are trying to make are that 1. This is not a “government entitlement”. HOPE is not funded by the government, i.e. taxes. 2. The conditions were set up that, if a student made a 3.0, they would have their tuition paid for by HOPE. 3. The “rules” of the game were changed midstream with very little notice to those affected, no “grandfathering in” of students who are already in college, and no possibility of rectifying any shortcomings.

RE: Slackers from Good Mother

September 7th, 2011
11:00 am

Grayson Mom says: “Rick, some of those so called “slackers” are working 30 hours plus in addition to attending school.”

I was one of those “slackers.” Although I had a full merit scholarship for tuition I had to pay my own way for food, shelter, health care and everything else. My parents didn’t contribute to my education so I worked full time at minimum wage and took 12 hours a semester and it took me six years to graduate so I can understand why $720 is very meaningful to some students.

I have no issue with rule changes as long as they are communicated well and they allow the student to make other arrangements. Student loans take time to apply for and to recieve and sometimes they are not allowed.

So Nathan Deal should have communicated better and sooner. No excuses for that but as far as changes go, be lucky students to have the Hope scholarship and be frugal while you are in college.


September 7th, 2011
11:35 am

HOPE did not exist when I was in college and my folks and I had to pony up all of the costs. Having said that A LOT of people voted to approve the lottery in the state of GA on the premise that it would provide full scholarships. And now that promise has been rescinded. So yeah, a lot of people are mad. I personally wouldn’t have voted for the lottery had I known that they were going to renegade on their promises. Why isn’t there enough money? Is the Lottery Co. hoarding the cash and mismanaging the funds by giving obscene bonuses to their employees? Or did the Board of Regents at UGA et al get flipping greedy as heck and started hiking up tuition like the gravy train was never gonna stop?

I am NO fan of Deal, but what choices did he have? Money was not there. Period. Could he have demanded an investigation on where those funds where going?


September 7th, 2011
11:42 am

The point is that the only HOPE scholar students financially impacted by taking less than 15 hours are those attending UGA, GA Tech and GCSU. Students at any other college can take 12 hours and their HOPE award pays 87% of tuition. At UGA take 12 hours and the HOPE award pays 70% of tuition, which is already the highest in the state.

Really amazed

September 7th, 2011
11:56 am

HOPE cuts. You haven’t seen anything yet!! Wait until next fall it drops to 80% than 70% following year and 60% than 50% down to ?? Yes, Maureen another gov’t conspiracy! We will just shut up and take what we can still get. We will sit back and watch the HOPE members take the remainder as their bonuses. Lottery sales, are one of the first things to go up during a bad economy. We will never be told jus how much GA lottery sales actually have gone up. Yet, we will be told the opposite and believe it!! It is amazing how people just except and drink the gov’t kool-aid isn’t it!

Calling Buffalo Chips

September 7th, 2011
12:05 pm

Day late and a dollar short to the party, but the one thing Maureen refuses to acknowledge in regard to Ron Clark:

His school established the primacy of the teacher as the adult authority figure..

In other words, it really isn’t the money, the glitz or the glamor.

It’s the discipline, Stupid!

But of course this is the same Maureen who said that discipline wasn’t a pressing issue in the public schools (yes she really said that) and then followed it up with saying that she saw no evidence that teachers were being retaliated against in the public schools.

Yep nothing to see here. No societal problems, no school board problems, no central office problems and certainly no problems with Arne Duncan and the role of the federal government in education. If we would but just rid ourselves of weak teachers, all the world’s problems would cease to exist. And every child would win a gold medal in the Olympics, right after they picked up their Academy Award and shortly before they were awarded their Nobel Prize.

Those darn teachers. They are indeed so very, very, evil.


September 7th, 2011
12:27 pm

I’m tired of people blaming these students/parents as slackers and whiners.

I think a basic principle of decency is to avoid changing rules in the middle of a game. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect “decency” from politicians, particularly those who are friend with our current governor and his party. What would stop them from changing rules on any other issues after the game has already started – none, except rich friends who favor some policies over others.


September 7th, 2011
12:44 pm

Seriously? change happens. learn to deal with it. we’ve seen pension plans change, med coverage change, and more. and who “promised” students free tuition. Fortunately, we live in a state where politicians only say “if the money is there”, and don’t burden future generations by borrowing to cover idiotic promises that can’t in fact be covered. Hope is an amazing program. It’s a huge benefit. Amazing how many people see the glass 10% empty, not 90% full.

Dekalb taxpayer

September 7th, 2011
12:50 pm

My son, a chemistry major, is taking 12 hours at GT and working part-time. He is taking four very demanding courses. I’d rather him pay extra and give himself a better chance to pass four courses than take a fifth and do poorly in one or more of them. But it does seem like an inequity in the Hope program for students in the more rigorous majors and at the more demanding schools. I fear that the way Hope is currently calculated will result in lots more business and education majors (no offense to business people and educators).


September 7th, 2011
12:50 pm

It’s not a question of the kids being slackers, it’s a question of fairness. UGA charges full tuition after 7 hours, and students aren’t told that they have to pay extra for fewer than 15 hours. In fact, my daughter was told that the Hope would NOT PAY FOR MORE THAN 15 hours. The clear implication was that she should not take ANY MORE than 15 hours. But that’s not the way it works. In fact, she needed to take AT LEAST 15 hours to get the maximum. It’s a publicly funded program, they should be fair and communicate accurately.
My daughter actually qualified for the higher Zell Miller scholarship, which pays 100 percent of tuition. But to get it, I had to pay extra to get SAT scores sent to a state office, despite the fact that UGA has the SAT scores to qualify her. And then one state office had to send UGA a letter confirming it. Now, UGA has had the confirmation for more than a week, but still hasn’t awarded her the extra scholarship.
By the way, folks. These scholarships aren’t tax-supported, unless you consider the lottery a tax.
To y’all conservatives — our economy is better off with a better educated citizenry, so you should be supporting education. Even with the scholarship, college is quite expensive. UGA tacks on oodles of other fees on top of tuition, not to mention requiring students to live on campus, and let’s not even mention the cost of the meal plan.


September 7th, 2011
12:56 pm

The argument for not giving HOPE its full share of money runs like this: If we (Lottery corp) did this we wouldn’t sell so many tickets. If we don’t sell the tickets, we don’t get our 18 years of fat bonuses. So, by slighting the HOPE by hundreds of millions of dollars since its inception, we have gained for ourselves (Lottery Corp) huge bonuses for doing such a good job growing the lottery.

Oh, wait. I wasn’t supposed to say that. I was supposed to say, we have to have these big payouts or the lottery won’t do well and there will be less money for HOPE. So you guys better forget that 35%, or whatever it was, cause we can’t afford to pay it, not and get these big bonuses.

When will the money (ill-gotten gains) be recouped?

Perhaps we should hold another referendum and vote NOT to have the lottery, since it has not kept up its end of the deal?!

Did you know that the state of Georgia, after the inception of the Lottery, quit putting in its part of a federal program that matched the state contribution, to be given to poorer students? The lottery has “taken its place”, except the lottery money goes to an overwhelming degree to upper class students (those that the SIG grant would never have gone to)? (see research of Michael McPherson) Of course, most people don’t care, as long as their kid is getting the free money.


September 7th, 2011
12:56 pm

Waaa! Guess the kid should have stayed in the class.

What’s the point of these articles anyway Maureen? Oh I can tell from your writings that you’re a leftist who probably thinks that everyone should be handed everything in life, but this is yet another teaching opportunity for these little cry-babies: Actions have consequences. If you’re going to drop a class, make sure you realize what the consequences of that are.

Tell the little kid to take out a loan like everyone else, or…gasp…go get a job.

Not a lot of sympathy here Maureen, and as you can tell from the comments, not a lot of sympathy from everyone else…

Why don’t you write an article about personal responsibility for a change?

It's Mii

September 7th, 2011
12:59 pm

Two quick comments…

First, “Democratic Plantation Dweller”, your comment exposes you as an idiot. I’m sure HOPE… and even college for that matter, was totally out of the question for you.

Second, I remember hearing a while ago that when the ‘recession’ was in it’s peak… lottery sales went up. So if the lottery sales are going up, why are the funds low? How much are those big executives bonuses again?


September 7th, 2011
1:03 pm

ABC: I think at the time the loettery revenues were such that a full scholarship was affordable. I don’t recall any promises about full tuition. I only understood that lottery proceeds would be used to fund scholarships to state schools. It should be clear that when schools increase their tuitions, unless lottery revenues increase similarly, that at some point the later will not cover the former.

The situation will get really sticky when HOPE recipients start demanding that tax dollar be used to cover the difference.

P.S. The “promise” of other government programs, like Social Security, are subject to modification at any time.