Efforts are under way by Democratic legislators to tweak the beleaguered HOPE Scholarship again this year, including a proposal to restore an income cap on students eligible for the merit-based aid.
HOPE began with an income cap, but it was abandoned over time, and there will be great resistance to restoring it, even if the cap is as high as $140,000. (It will be noted in debate that such a high income cap will mean that most of the state’s students will qualify.)
The AJC has a news story on the proposed changes. (If you are around today, the state House and Senate higher education committees scheduled a joint meeting at 3 p.m. to discuss HOPE and the impact of last year’s reform. Come early as it will be packed.)
Here are the bills:
Senate Bill 336 would reinstate a cap on family income for students to be eligible for HOPE, starting at $140,000 per family. A cap existed when the program began, but was quickly lifted after the lottery proved financially successful.
Senate Bill 335 would erase a new 3.0 GPA requirement for technical college students receiving grant money through the HOPE program. The technical grants are different from the scholarship and tend to benefit students who are older and likely supporting families of their own.
Senate Bill 334 would eliminate an SAT requirement for the state’s new Zell Miller program, which was launched last year by Gov. Nathan Deal to provide full tuition to the state’s highest-achieving students. Instead, graduating seniors in the top 3 percent of every high school in Georgia would automatically qualify.
Senate Resolution 722 would put to public vote a proposal to add a student representative to the state Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia and sets tuition.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog