This morning at Georgia State University, Gov. Nathan Deal will announce the most sweeping changes to the HOPE scholarship since the inception of the lottery-cash-for-college program.
“Decoupling” amounts granted by the scholarship from tuition increases is certain to be one of his recommendations.
That could leave a critical gap between the cost of college and what a student receives from HOPE.
The difference could be covered in a low- or no-interest loan program likely to be proposed this session, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said Monday.
“There has been a lot of discussion of how we create a workable loan program for students,” Rogers said.
One suggestion has been to turn all HOPE awards into loans for first-year college students – “much like the home school students have to do now,” Rogers said at a weekly news conference.
“I think that’s a great idea. It may be difficult to put that in place overnight, because that incorporates a lot of students and a lot of loans.
“A second, probably more workable solution at this point in time is a loan to take care of the difference – whether it’s that difference between tuition and the HOPE scholarship, or between [HOPE and] total costs of going to school — books and fees and things like that.
“I think we’ll probably see something along those lines – some sort of loan program. Very low interest – one percent or zero percent. And with that you can do a lot of things. You can encourage students who make above a 3.0 – you can encourage them by having their loans at zero interest percent. If you get a 1.5 maybe we charge you a little more interest.”
The pre-kindergarten side of the lottery program is likely to take a big hit in Gov. Nathan Deal’s plans. Advocates plan a noon rally today at the Capitol, to press for inclusion of all 150,000 4-year-olds who are eligible.
The Senate this week will take up a bill on zero-based budgeting – after voting earlier this session to override Gov. Sonny Perdue’s veto of a similar bill last year.
To no one’s surprise, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers also dismissed a House zero-based budgeting bill that advocates a return to a joint budget office for both the House and Senate. The Senate established its independent office after Republicans took control in 2002 – and the House was still in Democratic hands.
“The House budget office does a fantastic job. There’s no doubt about it,” Rogers said. “But so does the Senate budget office. It is worth its weight in gold. We have saved enormous amounts of money by having those two budget offices.”
On his first trip home to Atlanta after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, U.S. Rep. John Lewis was greeted with a reception – that doubled as a birthday party. He turned 71 on Monday.
Here’s some wild video of the event posted on Youtube:
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider