A county-by-county look at Senate Democrat plan for HOPE

The Senate Rules Committee just put HB 326, the bill containing changes to the HOPE scholarship, on the Tuesday calendar for a full floor vote.

There have been signs, however faint, of GOP wavering in the Senate. Some of the credit for raising doubt goes to state Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who has sent out individual letters to all 55 of his colleagues — laying out how many students in each of their counties would retain full HOPE coverage under the Democratic plan.

Democrats are advocating an income cap that would restrict HOPE grants to families that earn under $140,000.

See the county-by-county spreadsheet here. Clearly, rural Georgia would benefit more under an income cap.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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23 comments Add your comment


March 7th, 2011
5:46 pm

At least State Senator Carter is talking about bringing back the income cap. Although I feel it should be $100,000.

The Republicans have deliberately wrecked Georgia’s budget, and now they want the poor and middle class to pay. They’ve given out BILLIONS IN TAX BREAKS, and then pretend to be shocked and sad in having to trim the budget. It’s all by design. The tax breaks deprived the state of revenue. And what did it get us? Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, so it didn’t bring jobs. They don’t care, you don’t see them recommending discontinuing the tax breaks do you? If they were truly concerned about the budget, they would. They love this environment, making up excuses so they can gut educational and social programs under the guise of “having no other options”.

So many kids won’t be able to attend college in Georgia with this proposal, and yet Representative Stacey Abrams and Stephanie Benfield support Deal’s plan. With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?


March 7th, 2011
5:56 pm

Well, now we know for sure that it won’t pass. God forbid that the poor in rural GA get more than the suburbanites in Metro Atlanta with their McMansions.

And, yes, I live in Metro Atlanta. Just not in a McMansion. :)


March 7th, 2011
6:06 pm

Sliding scale directly tied to family income.Yep more poor than well off to rich.


March 7th, 2011
6:19 pm

Nitpicking, and I don’t know if you write your headlines; but, the name of the party is the Democratic Party – look it up on the Georgia Secretary of State website. Don’t sound like Fox News and Neal Boortz, please?


March 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

IMO..The lottery was passed only because the funds were going to be used for education. Initially the scholarship fund had an income cap and was funded for ever and a day. (Okay a slight exaggeration)
Now they are running out of funds. Why not compromise. If you qualify, your funds are paid 100% at junion colleges and 90% when you transfer to a four year school. That approach is certainly not class warfare because it is open to all income levels but it also allows those with limited means to live at home and work part time while going to school.


March 7th, 2011
6:54 pm

Dave, the correct term is “the Democrats”, not “the Democratics”. I prefer the term “marxist-socialist-progressive-liberal-Democrat Party”


March 7th, 2011
7:04 pm

Thank you to Senator Carter and you for publishing this!

I cannot believe that my county has 5% of its college students with a family income over $140,000!


March 7th, 2011
7:07 pm

Now run the numbers on how many, by county, would have qualified last year for the 3.7/1200 Super HOPE. (I am sure Deal’s folks have already done this.)


March 7th, 2011
7:15 pm

Keith, still nitpicking, you are right about “the Democrats” – it isn’t a perjorative; the headline though skipped the needed “the” and the “s.” Without them, it is the Fox and Boortz formulation. I’ll have to come up for some favorite adjectives for the GOP, though I’m not a member or supporter of either the Dems or the GOP.


March 7th, 2011
7:19 pm

Come up with, sorry.


March 7th, 2011
7:31 pm

People who make over $140,000 may not buy lottery tickets but we pay way more taxes than people w/ less income. A lot of tax deductions and credits phase out over 100K AGI (adjusted gross income). And $140K/yr doesn’t go as far as you think for a married couple with kids.


March 7th, 2011
7:47 pm

What is wrong with all of you. The hope is suppose to be there for the best and brightest. 90% is still a great deal for those who are average students. If you go out a get a part time job and start partying then you still should be able to get a college degree and be debt free from any of the non research universities in the state. Only the 3.7 and 1200 SAT students deserve to be at our two most prestigious state universities anyway (UGA and GT).

This is a good move to help teach our young the most valuable lessons in life. Life is not fair and if you want something bad enough then you will put the work into it. Grow up kids and get out there and earn your degree.


March 7th, 2011
7:54 pm

Everyone is talking about High School graduate requirements to get HOPE scholarship. What about college students that now have to have 3.3 GPA to retain the HOPE Scholarship, up from 3.0.


March 7th, 2011
8:51 pm

td, read the bill, 90% is never in there. It’s just a made up percentage they are assuming based on lottery revenue and THIS years tuition, however, tuition is expected to increase by 16% on average across campuses thus reducing the percentage covered significantly, and showing the number fed to the public by the Governor and his staff to be a lie. Oh, and HOPE doesn’t mean you go to school for free, I work full time, get HOPE, and still have to take out loans in order to stay afloat, and all that while I’m taking the maximum amount of credit hours possible this semester, I’ll kindly ask you to stop assuming we are petulant spoiled rich kids. I’m a second generation American whos grandparents worked on sugar plantations, don’t tell ME about struggle and working hard. Also, how dare you not call GSU one of Georgia’s most prestigious research institutes! :P


March 7th, 2011
11:39 pm

To the grammar police – well, OK, this one is important – because it describes a group, and needs to be fair to the group.

So yes, Democratic party, the Democrats, etc. But that’s not what this headline means. It is badly written, but here it is in context:
A county-by-county look at Senate Democrat [Sen. Jason Carter's] plan for HOPE.

So the correct version should be: A county-by-county look at Senate Democrat’s plan for HOPE

or if it is indeed all of them: A county-by-county look at Senate Democrats’ plan for HOPE


March 8th, 2011
12:29 am

I hope the Senate GOP leaders will see the value in keeping the doors of opportunity for higher education open to so many families who really can’t afford college for their children without the full HOPE scholarship. Go ahead and add the Zell Miller scholarships for any student, no matter what his/her financial ability. Why isn’t anyone talking about reining in the Board of Regents and their constant raising of tuition and fees? Why are we giving millions in bonuses to the lottery staff?
Take a minute and look at that list of children from the poorest counties in our state. Some counties only have a handful of students who were able to earn the grades to qualify. HOPE is their best chance to make a better life for themselves!


March 8th, 2011
3:20 am

Keith and Dave,
GOPers are the Neo-Con Nazi Communist extremist party…
Only interested in making their own money by taking away every one elses…


March 8th, 2011
9:06 am

I have a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Georgia and the changes to HOPE are going to greatly impact her life and ours. My husband and I both have good jobs and make a decent living and will be over the proposed $140,000 income cap. We are not rich and certainly are not millionaires. Currently room and board at UGA runs us about $9,000 a year and that is before any spending money. Unlike lots of students my daughter does not qualify for any other financial aid.
It was suppose to be that HOPE was for those bright students who worked hard.
It needs to continue to cover those kids!

Dirty Dawg

March 8th, 2011
11:23 am

Dave, I too was about to ‘bust Galloway’s chops’ on his reference to Democrat as if he were referring to ‘the party’…but hesitated when I saw that he made a reference later to ‘Democratic’ plan. My rationale for the headline was that he was referring, just, to Sen Carter so, indeed, Senate Democrat was an appropriate use.

As for your friend Keith, he can call The Democratic Party anything he likes, cause I’m sticking to my plan to call is bunch the Repug (short for Repugnant) Party, or the Rethug (not short for anything other than intelligence and/or compassion) Party, or any number of other references that all boil down to the radical conservative, lizard-brained, a-holes that have banded together under their banner and are driven only by greed and prejudice (the ‘G’ and ‘P’ of the gop, as it were – as for what the ‘O’ stands for, its’ a debate between ‘oil’ and ‘obstruction’…take your pick.

No Dog in this Hunt

March 8th, 2011
11:57 am

The new Hope is still anti job. It steers our young people to the easier degrees so they can maintain Hope instead of towards the more rigorous degrees that will create jobs. How many Women Studies and Film majors will be hired by the high tech companies of the future? We need to be encouraging the STEM fields, but maintaining the high GPA in these fields is much more difficult.

The government doesn’t create jobs but it can create a conducive environment. That should include a well educated work force for the companies of tomorrow.


March 8th, 2011
1:20 pm

Paige – assuming your family made $140K (I know you said more), you are among the top 9% income earners in Georgia, and you make at least $91K MORE than the average Georgian. If that doesn’t qualify as “rich”, I don’t know what does.


March 8th, 2011
5:31 pm

As a high achieving high school student, explain to me how it fair that with a 2140 SAT (1450 M+CR), class rank 8 of over 400 students, 4.0 unweighted GPA (over 4.6 weighted), 4 average on 8 AP exams, graduating from a Magnet school, having done an internship and full research project, I will not qualify for any part of HOPE under a 140K income cap because my parents make literally 1K over this, but the students with parents making less than that and coast through high school taking on level courses to inflate their HOPE GPA will be getting aid. Enforce an income cap and I will definitely be going out-of-state because I will then have better offers financially to better schools academically, and I guarantee many of the brightest students in Georgia will be doing the same.

SoGA Vet

March 9th, 2011
1:49 pm

What is wrong with this and other proposals is that it assumes families can pay…HOPE has been in play long enough in GA that we have an entire generation of students whose families understood HOPE would be there.

I always told my boys, “Keep your GPA up (a B was not good enough) and you go to college on HOPE’s dime. Don’t keep it up, and you pay for it yourself.”

Call me stupid; they did and I didn’t need to put $100K away over the years to pay for college. These plans, especially ones with income caps, pull the rug right out from under students and families. HOPE should be merit-based ONLY. The most rational plan would install a floating GPA that is set based on money available.