Your morning jolt: HOPE scholarships to cover 90 percent of tuition? That’s so last year

HOPEprotest

College students from across Georgia rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday, protesting cuts to the HOPE scholarship program. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

One of the selling points of the HOPE legislation speeding its way through the Legislature has been that, despite the cuts, the college scholarships would still cover 90 percent of tuition costs.

But Jason Carter, D-Decatur, says he and a few other Democratic senators sat down with Gov. Nathan Deal’s number-crunchers on Tuesday night and figured out that the real figure is more like 80 percent.

The 90 percent figure used in association with the current legislation, which Carter and other Senate Democrats oppose, is based on last year’s rates – for tuition that’s already paid for. The reduced scholarships “will go toward next year’s tuition. So it is an approximately 20 percent cut. I don’t think people fully understand that,” he said this morning.

Carter and other senators on Wednesday unveiled their plan for a HOPE scholarship plan that includes an income cap for the families of recipients.

In an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM), Deal said he wouldn’t support means testing – but as much as acknowledged that the 90 percent figure being used now is likely to change:

”Obviously, if tuition costs do go up, in the short term, there would be consequences from that. However, by decoupling the program from the tuition, and tying it to the revenue source, which is lottery proceeds, the ability of the percentage to fluctuate by going above the 90 percent, if lottery funds justify that, would hopefully minimize that.”

***
In that WABE interview, Gov. Nathan Deal was also asked about HB 401, the bill that would require President Barack Obama to produce a certified copy of a “long-form birth certificate” if he wants his name on the Georgia ballot next year.

Deal has stepped into the birther debate before – as a congressman. On Wednesday, he found a gentle way to express his doubts about the measure:

”It is probably one of those issues that deserves national attention, rather than each state trying to take it up individually. I think that would be very difficult if you had different requirements from state to state. But I’ll trust the judgment of the members of the House and Senate on that one.”

And those 94 signatures that state Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross, had gathered for HB 401? He has slightly fewer now.

Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News talked to state Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, who represents territory near the Port of Savannah. That’s right. The port that’s in search of lots of money from the White House.

Wrote Peterson:

Purcell said she signed on as co-sponsor based on a description of the bill, which she hadn’t read.

“When I read it,” she said, “I found it wasn’t what we were talking about. … It goes farther than I want.”

…At one point, co-sponsors included at least 94 of the 180 members of the House. But, in addition to Purcell, four members withdrew as sponsors Wednesday, said Ann Hardin, a House Clerk staff member.

One of the missed details in a discussion of HB 401 is that – regardless of whether Barack Obama provides a copy of his birth certificate – the measure might still bar his candidacy in Georgia.

Thomas Wheatley at Creative Loafing covers the point with a note from Atlanta attorney Loren Collins, who focuses on the portion of the bill in which a candidate is required to swear that he or she has never held dual citizenship.

The attorney writes:

”Many presidents and presidential candidates have been dual citizens at some point in their lives. The current President was a dual citizen until his early 20s, so Hatfield’s bill would necessarily forbid Obama’s name from appearing on the Georgia primary ballot. And that is guaranteed to result in a lawsuit, a lawsuit that Georgia is guaranteed to lose.”

***
Martha Zoller, who has a morning rado show on FM103.7 WXKT, sends word that she’ll have former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on at 11:50 a.m. today. Gingrich’s meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal is at 2 p.m. in the state Capitol.

***
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, got a mention in a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank this morning. And not in a good way. The scene was a House hearing:

In his opening statement, [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates fervently appealed for funds requested by Gen. David Petraeus for equipment to protect troops in Afghanistan. The money has been held up because it would come from a project benefiting a major contributor to the committee chairman, Bill Young (R-Fla.).

“Mr. Chairman, our troops need this force-protection equipment, and they need it now,” Gates pleaded. “Every day that goes by without this equipment, the lives of our troops are at greater risk.” He urged action “today” on the funds, admonishing: “We should not put American lives at risk to protect specific programs or contractors.”

The lawmakers, however, had other priorities. The first question to Gates and Mullen proffered by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a senior panel member, related to his contention that 18-year-old soldiers “cannot have a beer at the NCO club or whatever.” To remedy this injustice, Kingston said, he introduced legislation so that underage soldiers can drink beer on their posts. He asked the Pentagon to report to him on “how that could be a good idea.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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39 comments Add your comment

just won't fly

March 3rd, 2011
10:12 am

“dont worry, its all part of the plan”

khc

March 3rd, 2011
10:17 am

beer, abortions, but no action on jobs…..thought that was main concern for this country

UGA student

March 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

HOPE should not be tied to income. It is the only government sponsored program that is tied to merit rather than need. There are already plenty of need-based scholarships provided by the federal government. Georgia universities, and UGA in particular, have been helped tremendously by the fact that HOPE has been linked to merit rather than need. Whether it is politically correct or not, the best students in the state come from middle and upper class families. Without the HOPE scholarship, there is no incentive to stay in state for these families who do not receive need-based aid. UGA’s national academic rankings have sky rocketed in the past twenty years because HOPE has kept students who do not receive need-based aid but excel academically in state.

Aquagirl

March 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

Ms. Rincon couldn’t be arsed to read a three-page bill before signing on as a co-sponsor?

Road Scholar

March 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

UGA Student: Why not? The rich do not buy lottery tickets based on past research; the poor buy the most followed by the middle class. With so many conserves stating that 40-50 % (pick your % )of the poor do not pay their fair share in taxes, why shouldn’t the poor get their fair share in lottery receipts? Oh now the Repubs are math challenged and can’t remember the tuition increases they passed last year!

Drinking beer vs body armour? If you are dead do to no body armour, that beer is meaningless!

td

March 3rd, 2011
11:00 am

khc

March 3rd, 2011
10:17 am
beer, abortions, but no action on jobs…..thought that was main concern for this country

Please explain what state governments role is in creating jobs? What can they do besides give incentives and providing the best possible enviroment for companies to move to Georgia?

Private Sector

March 3rd, 2011
11:06 am

@ Aqua Girl

Of course she didnt read it, she heard it had the boiler plate language in it including “long-form birth certificate” that gets the base riled up. There is no worry or concern about health care, education, jobs and transportation after 8 years of Republican leadership in this state

khc

March 3rd, 2011
11:06 am

my response was directed at the kingston part of the post….jobs, jobs, jobs, is all we heard for conservatives during last campaign….now they are in office and as yet still have not seen much from them….and they implied they could do something about jobs when they ran

DJ Sniper

March 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

TD, if I’m not mistaken, a lot of people who ran in the last election did so with the promise that helping to get the economy back up and running was their main priority. Now that they’re in office, their focus has switched and they are all about trying to bust up the unions, fight abortions, and push these retarded birther bills.

Private Sector

March 3rd, 2011
11:08 am

@ td

What do you think are factors that provide the best possible “environment”

td

March 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

Road Scholar

March 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

I will answer the question for UGA student. He was right in that there are many programs set up for the poor to attend college (Pell Grant for one). HOPE was set up to be a merit based program and that is the only reason a great deal of conservatives ever thought about passing gambling in the state. There are enough Federal programs and scholarships available for every poor person (that can graduate HS and score a 1000 on the SAT) to attend college.

No More Repubs in GA

March 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

“Please explain what state governments role is in creating jobs? What can they do besides give incentives and providing the best possible enviroment for companies to move to Georgia?”

Exactly td, except your beloved Republicans in Georgia aren’t doing any of that. In fact, they are providing an environment where companies don’t want to move to Georgia. Our state unemployment rate has increased again while the unemployment rate for our competitor states like North Carolina continue to decrease.

khc

March 3rd, 2011
11:15 am

Enter your comments here

td

March 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

DJ Sniper

March 3rd, 2011
11:07 am
TD, if I’m not mistaken, a lot of people who ran in the last election did so with the promise that helping to get the economy back up and running was their main priority

You are correct and that would be on both sides of the isle. Both sides did this because that is what the dumb masses wanted to hear. If my memory serves me correctly, I think Barnes offered 2 to 1 programs to “create” jobs as Deal. Guess what they were both lying to you. State government has very little ability to create any jobs.

Deal and Mayor Reed have joined forces to try to do one of the little things they can do (improve infrastructure) in asking to deepen the Savannah harbor. This move would entice businesses to open up more facilities in Georgia and as a result create more jobs.

Aquagirl

March 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

td, why should the federal government shell out bucks to create an artificial harbor?

Last Man Standing

March 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

khc:

“.now they are in office and as yet still have not seen much from them….and they implied they could do something about jobs when they ran”

Yep, you’re right. They have been in office since the first part of January and it’s now March 3. The economy should be absolutely booming by now since they have had approximately 51 days to get it all worked out.

td

March 3rd, 2011
11:24 am

No More Repubs in GA

March 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

“Exactly td, except your beloved Republicans in Georgia aren’t doing any of that. In fact, they are providing an environment where companies don’t want to move to Georgia”

Please give me some examples of the bad environment the Republicans are providing? BTW: I am not a Republican and do not walk lockstep in the leaderships positions. I am a conservative and the republicans more closely follow my philosophy currently than does any other party.

td

March 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

Aquagirl

March 3rd, 2011
11:22 am
td, why should the federal government shell out bucks to create an artificial harbor?

They really should not but it would be a heck of a lot of better investment than shelling out welfare benefits.

Aquagirl

March 3rd, 2011
11:33 am

td, I’d rather pay people to pick up trash. Dredging out a river so Wal-Mart can import crap more cheaply kills American jobs.

Bill

March 3rd, 2011
11:37 am

One thing state government can do to create jobs is provide an educated workforce. Georgia is not doing the job in this regard.

khc

March 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

last man, seems you get very impatient with current president yet you give the house republicans a pass…..most folks coming into white house usually have a 100 day plan….or something similar….i could be wrong but have repubs introduced any job creating legislation not job saving? i just thought naively, that jobs were foremost on their minds……or do they really not care because they want economy to slog along so their chances better in 2012 or 2016? or are your guys just good at campaigning not governing?

Lauren

March 3rd, 2011
11:54 am

I am a bleeding heart democrat and yet I still support the HOPE cuts. At some point people have to realize that the currect trajectory of students vs. available funds is unsustainable. In my opinion it’s very clearly better to make cuts and changes as opposed to abolishing the scholarship in it’s entirety. 80/90% of something is a whole lot better than 0% of something.

HL

March 3rd, 2011
12:08 pm

I’m curious about the long form of the birth certificate. My sons were born out of state and the only valid birth certificates were the ones issued by the state. I did receive a longer form for one but was told that only the state certificate was actually valid. The long form was just a keep sake. My older son didn’t receive a long form.
It’s unfortunate but I guess this rules them out and they can’t run for President. Well that dream is gone.

TrickleDownStupid

March 3rd, 2011
12:23 pm

TD – the original HOPE qualifications had an income cap or did you chooose to forget that?

Just a taxpayer

March 3rd, 2011
12:24 pm

Problem with HOPE is that the Regents and University system have raided it with tuition increases of 250% plus over the last ten years. What else that everyday Georgia citizens pay for has gone up that amount in the last ten years?

Governors Perdue and Deal can fix this without lowering HOPE. Problem is that they don’t want to go to the Regents and Universities and tell them to fix the mess they created.

No More Repubs in GA

March 3rd, 2011
12:27 pm

“Please give me some examples of the bad environment the Republicans are providing? BTW: I am not a Republican and do not walk lockstep in the leaderships positions. I am a conservative and the republicans more closely follow my philosophy currently than does any other party.”

1. They have failed to act in the last 8 years on transportation and infrastructure issues. Sorry, but the gas tax needs to be raised (we have the lowest gas tax in the country behind TN). It needs to be raised to be competitive with other Southeastern states (like Florida, NC, and SC) so we can repave, widen, and build more roads to attract economic development.

2. They want to get rid of the toll booths on 400 but the revenue will be used to make improvements to the road which is heavily congested. Again, squandering economic development over a 50 cents!

3. Instead of looking at a bill to create a regional transit system in metro Atlanta in preparation for the 2012 vote, they are too busy making us look like fools to the rest of the country with birther bills, not letting us vote on Sunday alcohol sales, and abortion bills. Not exactly a good way to entice people and businesses to move here.

4. They create a mediocre HOPE bill when there are other options out there that make more sense. Also, they could be having a debate about letting voters approve casinos and horse racing which will not only create jobs and boost tourism and revenue for the state, but help close the budget gap with HOPE.

5. For the last 8 years we “prayed for rain” instead of actually doing something about our water problem. Why do people and businesses want to move here if they are unsure we will have enough water in 2012? That kind of instability is not going to help us at all.

6. Have not done anything to help better our education system. Our public schools overall still rank near the bottom.

7. Trying to kill incentives like the one for the film industry which has created jobs and lots of revenue for our state.

I could keep going…

Chilidog

March 3rd, 2011
12:50 pm

I wonder how many of the Republican candidates will be able to satisfy all the requirments of HB-401?

Chilidog

March 3rd, 2011
12:53 pm

HB-401 is very poorly written. If you happen to have been born in one of the states that no longer issues certified copies of the “long form,” (Hawaiil, Missouri, Indiana to name a few) then you are REQUIRED under HB-401 to provide a copy of your baptismal record and your millitary service records.

The rest of the country is pointing at Georgia and laughing.

[...] Jim Galloway of the AJC reports that 4 sponsors of the bill have asked the Clerk to withdraw their names…  not enough, but a start. [...]

Chilidog

March 3rd, 2011
1:02 pm

I think that Bobby Franklin should sponsor a new bill defining “Natural Born” as someone born to two parents that are blood relatives.

findog

March 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

UGA Student and td,
You’re both wrong.
There are plenty of merit based scholarships, public and private, based on merit alone; and to try to turn this into reverse class warfare, td, is completely beside the point.
It is not the poor student that is going to miss out on college, or better college, because we cannot means test HOPE. The poor, as you both have stated, have a method [Pell]. It is the middle class, again, being shafted by the GOP. The GOP who can never comprehend that HOPE was supposed to be the Middle Classes, “Georgia Pell,” ONLY if their kids worked hard to EARN it and then KEEP it; they were going to be well educated without a huge debt load at graduation. The GOP added the burden of private college attendance and home school kids to its original intent and now that they have over spent they want to rape the middle class yet again. GOP: Georgia’s original perverts

findog

March 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

td – “Deal and Mayor Reed have joined forces to try to do one of the little things they can do (improve infrastructure) in asking to deepen the Savannah harbor. This move would entice businesses to open up more facilities in Georgia and as a result create more jobs.”

REALLY, dredging a harbor is your idea improving infrastructure?

Well then I guess all those companies that are going to flock to Georgia because we got a harbor deep enough to get our supersized shipments from China won’t mind that once their ship comes in they are grid locked on the state’s highways funded at 1971 levels for forty years now.

And you’re not a republican, seams your were bragging about meeting Congressman Deal and telling him how hard you were fighting off the radical liberals in Atlanta to help him win election; I never knew to be conservative you had to forgo consistency, reality, and truthfulness…

td

March 3rd, 2011
2:54 pm

No More Repubs in GA

March 3rd, 2011
12:27 pm

1: No higher taxes on gas. We have the best roads in the entire country.

2: Unlike Dems that have never removed a tax. The Republicans are keeping the state promises by getting rid of that tax.

3: “they are too busy making us look like fools to the rest of the country with birther bills, not letting us vote on Sunday alcohol sales, and abortion bills. Not exactly a good way to entice people and businesses to move here.” Do you really think businesses take these tyoes of issues into consideration before they decide to move a company? They look at the bottom dollar (how much more money can we make with a move). They could careless if there workers can drink on Sunday or have an abortion.

4: The HOPE bill is fine the way they are redoing it. Personally I think it should be a reimbursement grant. If you make an A then 100%, B: 90% and anything less zero for non math non science majors. 100% for an A, 95% for a B and 90% for a C in our science, engineering and math majors. No more gambling in the state and to get more revenue we raise the sin taxes on Alcohol, tobacco, fast food and caffeine.

5: Making it harder for illegals to get a job will force the to leave and will help with the water and transportation issues. If we put toll booths on all the major interstates heading into and out of Florida will either gain us a lot more revenue and force them to come to the table with the water issue.

6: Read what Dr. Barge is trying to do and if he accomplishes it then Education will turn around. Plus, we really do need to realize that all students are not college material and some should get technical training and start testing for and moving in that direction then education will improve.

7: If it is bringing jobs into the state then we should continue the incentives.

td

March 3rd, 2011
3:06 pm

findog

March 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

“It is not the poor student that is going to miss out on college, or better college, because we cannot means test HOPE. The poor, as you both have stated, have a method [Pell]. It is the middle class, again, being shafted by the GOP. The GOP who can never comprehend that HOPE was supposed to be the Middle Classes, “Georgia Pell,” ONLY if their kids worked hard to EARN it and then KEEP it;”

I think if you go over to the Education blog in this paper you will find that if you means test the program then you are only going to cut off 3 to 5% currently benefiting for the program. This number is not will not make the program solvent. The University Presidents and Board of Regents have raised tuition to much since the beginning. If you really want to save HOPE then the colleges are going to have to give back. There is no way a Professor should be making $100,000 per year to work 15 hours per week and our university Presidents should not be making more money than the President of the US.

td

March 3rd, 2011
3:26 pm

findog

March 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

“And you’re not a republican, seams your were bragging about meeting Congressman Deal and telling him how hard you were fighting off the radical liberals in Atlanta to help him win election”

You are absolutely correct. Deal was a lot more conservative then Barnes so I worked hard to get him elected. I did meet him and several others. Gave money to them also but that does not mean I am a Republican. I do not belong to the party and do not give to the party or have party loyalty. I am a conservative and will support the person that believes the closest to my philosophy. I do not see where that is inconsistent or untruthful?

No More Repubs in GA

March 3rd, 2011
4:03 pm

td, your comments 6 & 7 I agree on but for the rest, I do not. There is no reason why our gas tax can’t be raised to a level similar to surrounding southern states.

GA might have some of the best roads according to one report, but we also have some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. It is effecting our ability to attract new businesses and people. How are we going to solve that problem when our gas tax is one of the lowest in the country? You probably believe people who use mass transit should pay for it… well the same applies to roads… if you use it, pay for it and there is no better way than the gas tax or more tolls (I am not saying increase it more than any other state, just to a rate that is similar to other southern states). Texas has several toll roads and is constantly heavily investing in their infrastructure – they are doing much better than the rest of the country. If the 400 toll is used for improvements, which it will be, then there should no problem with it. It is 50 cents. If you can’t afford it or don’t want to pay it, don’t drive on it or move (shouldn’t have moved along the route to begin with).

And why no more gambling? Please don’t use the religious excuse. I respect other peoples beliefs, but do not force them on others. It will bring much needed JOBS, REVENUE, and BOOST TOURISM. It is a win-win situation. Allowing gambling does not equal forcing anyone to participate in it. I swear there is no seperation of church and state in Georgia and it’s just wrong.

It’s funny how so many people want to get rid of all the illegals but they have no problem hiring them and paying them for cheap labor. How many Georgians do you think will work the fields, cook in kitchens, and landscaping/construction for cheap? You think these employers are going to pay $12-15 an hour if we suddenly ban all these people? It’s not THAT SIMPLE.

These birther bills, not letting us vote on Sunday sales, and miscarriage = a felony bills are an embarrassment to our state and it does have an effect on people’s perception of Georgia.

Muscogee

March 3rd, 2011
9:52 pm

The original HOPE in the 1990s had a family income cap of $100K. Whether it should be higher or lower now, there IS a number that, as an income cap, would balance the income and expense. Let’s admit it — HOPE without income cap funds a lot of students who would still attend college without it.

alberteinstein

March 6th, 2011
7:53 am

I am amazed at the ability of ajc readers to weigh in on any topic despite total ignorance of the matter. UGA student is completely right about the rise of UGA and GTech being fueled in part by their ability to retain the top middle class students in the state because HOPE tilted financial aid in Georgia’s favor. Once these kids leave, most won’t return. The state also invested in education in the 90s. Kiss that goodbye. Why do you people think that Silicon Valley is near Stanford and Berkeley, that route 128 is near MIT and Harvard, that the biggest biotech corridors in the country are in the university rich belts from Boston to Philadelphia and in California? Closer to home, what drove the triangle in Raleigh-Durham? Ya think those states sat there and waited? We live in the largest state east of the Mississippi with many natural advantages, but many of our representatives picture Georgia as a poor backward place, comfortable with substandard levels of education, health and employment. BTW, I’m one of those awful professors making 100K+ per year. I work around 60 hours a week, which is typical for science/math faculty. The money I’ve brought into the state dwarfs this. Since I haven;t had a raise in four years and won’t get one if I stay here, I’m gone. So is the money I’ve been bringing in, and the jobs it supported. I’ve also been writing recommendation letters for other people who can’t afford to stay here any more. Just how much do you think PhD scientists and mathematicians should be paid, and how will you keep them from leaving? Or are you comfortable with being a poor backward kind of place?