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Lawmakers call for needs-based HOPE

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ATLANTA --- To prevent the HOPE Scholarship from running out of money, Georgia Democratic legislators are calling for excluding students from families with high incomes. But the lawmakers are unlikely to get the change past the next governor.

Both Republicans running for governor, Karen Handel and Nathan Deal, told members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that they oppose changing the popular scholarship to a needs-based benefit.

Democratic nominee Roy Barnes said Wednesday that he wouldn't go along either.

Late Tuesday, Democrats issued a statement calling for restoring the scholarship to its original design, from when voters approved the lottery in 1992, that funds it along with the pre-kindergarten program. At that time, it was limited to students whose families had incomes lower than six times the federal poverty level. In today's terms, that would mean a family of four with an income lower than $132,300.

"By setting the family income limit at or below 600 percent of the federal poverty level, it would ensure that the program would remain financially solvent and able to carry out its original mission," said Senate Democratic leader Robert Brown, of Macon.

A presentation Monday by officials from the Georgia Student Finance Commission showed a $560 million projected deficit next year.

Lottery sales continue to break records, but rising tuition and expanding enrollment in the program are outstripping the $884 million that the Georgia Lottery Corp. pumps into HOPE and the pre-K program.

Commission chairman Tim Connell said it hasn't estimated the possible savings of an income cap.

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proud2bamerican 08/05/10 - 05:18 pm
I have gone through some

I have gone through some unexpected hard times financially myself. What I have found is that the poorer I am the more benefits I am eligible to receive. There are no time limitations on many benefits which is not motivating for anyone to try harder unless they have personal motivation to do so. I believe if anyone receives benefits based on "need" then they should also have time limits, follow up, and required financial planning training. I believe in helping the "needy" but not handicapping them into dependence.

beckywassonlay 08/07/10 - 08:06 pm
FRED1 wrote "1. Don't the

FRED1 wrote

"1. Don't the unemployed/poor/lazy already get everything free? 2. Weren't grades boosted so the unemployed/poor/lazy could get free school already? 3. How about raising the standards to get Hope and not just waste the money on the unemployed/poor/lazy who rarely keep Hope past the first year. (see item 2 as reason for 3)"

LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING I am unemployed because there are no jobs; no jobs means no kids in childcare centers which means no need for childcare teachers! NO job means I am POOR after paying bills and making sure my youngest daughter who is still in school gets the education she deserves that includes college! Being poor I guess makes me lazy because I DON'T have a job to go, because no kids at the daycares because there are NO JOBS to do, so I don't go anywhere else! BUT YOU want me to tell my daughter who has worked her backside off so she can get into UGA and go into the medical or veterinary field that she can't go to college because her mother can't work and is POOR? That is a mature and educated attitude you have there!

As to those in higher income brackets yes you HAVE money to pay for your ridiculously ostentatious 1/2 million dollar houses with no lawn; as well as tricked out "luxury" vehicles so everyone KNOWS you are "rich" but no money to pay for your child(ren)'s college. Sure know where your priorities lie!

College is a privilege? NO COLLEGE IS A NECESSITY for those who want to rise above their parents and make something of their lives! HECK I would love to go back to college and get my elementary educational degree for special needs children but I financially can not.

BUT AS FOR MY DAUGHTER she will be the first person in her father's blue collar working class family to attend and graduate college. I will not be kind to ANYONE who gets in the way of her dream! Those students like her who come from working class and low income families who wish to make their lives better DESERVE HOPE and a college education if they have worked hard all these years to make the grades! The higher income families are the ones who can afford it if they weren't one upping the Jones'!

actualcollegestudent 10/18/10 - 02:09 am
I love how it's all about

I love how it's all about taxes, taxes, taxes. HOPE is not even funded by taxes it's funded by the lottery system. I hate to break some hearts here, but a studied done by Joseph McCrary and Thomas J. Pavlak from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia has shown that more people who make less that $25,000 or so a year play the lottery more frequently than more higher income people, also people with a high school diploma are more than two and a half times more likely to play than people of higher eduation. I hope this will clear some of you up because as a student who is writing a paper on this very subject I think you should do your research before you start ranting and raving over something you know nothing about.

KSL 10/18/10 - 05:54 am
Becky, student loans are out

Becky, student loans are out there. Quit whining. We had two sons. Both turned down full free rides to very prestigious institutions, including all expenses paid, very rare opportunities, in order to go to the institutions of their choice. For one son we had to have a parents' loan as well as his having to have a student loan. He was attending a private college. For the other son, he had a student's loan to pay for his grad school. He absolutely did not want us to help with that.

All of this was before Hope.

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