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Proposed increase for HOPE Scholarship would help Augusta students

Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 4:20 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 9:25 PM
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College life changed for Courtney Barber two years ago when the amount she received from Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship dropped. For the first time, she took out student loans and started working 20 hours a week.

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Courtney Barber, a junior pre-dental hygiene student, said she took out loans when her HOPE Scholarship was reduced.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Courtney Barber, a junior pre-dental hygiene student, said she took out loans when her HOPE Scholarship was reduced.

Her parents couldn’t help make up the difference in financial assistance. She was forced to study later at night because of her work and class schedules.

“Everything just changed,” said Barber, a junior at Georgia Regents University.

In 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill that reduced HOPE from full coverage to 90 percent of the tuition rates in an effort to sustain the program. Fees and books were also dropped from the program.

Deal announced this week that he is proposing a boost for Georgia’s lottery-funded education programs because of higher lottery revenues. The proposal includes a 3 percent increase for the HOPE Scholarship.

The prospect of more assistance eased Barber’s worries about student debt and brought a smile to her face Friday.

“That’s the whole point of HOPE – to not have students in debt when they graduate,” she said.

Barber is entering a program to become a dental hygienist. which means two more years of undergraduate education.

Deal also wants to restore the full 180-day calendar for pre-kindergarten programs that was cut to 160 days two years ago. Ten days were added back last year.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, the Georgia Lottery Corp. reported $55.2 million more profits in fiscal year 2012 than the previous year. The first quarter of fiscal 2013 was up 8 percent from the same period last year.

“The strong performance of the Georgia Lottery combined with the critical reforms we made to HOPE and (pre-K) two years ago have stabilized these programs that are so important to Georgians,” Deal said in an e-mailed statement.

The 3 percent increase for HOPE would cost $13.9 million. Under the plan, pre-K teachers would get a raise because of the longer school year.

Georgia Regents University junior Kenneth Holley said the increase in HOPE money would provide much-needed relief. When cuts were imposed in 2011, he started working as a student manager in the Jaguar Student Activities Center to help with rent and groceries. For tuition and expenses, he needed loans that now amount to $17,000.

“After school, it would help with paying back the loans. They add up pretty quickly,” he said. “It would help with starting a career and not having debt to start out with me.”

Deal will push for the HOPE increases during the 40-day Georgia legislative session, which begins Monday.

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specsta
6108
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specsta 01/11/13 - 07:10 pm
4
5
Misplaced Priorities

If the state of Georgia can spend one billion dollars a year to imprison people, at the tune of $20,000 per inmate, that same government can certainly find money for full student scholarships.

Why is there ALWAYS money to lock up offenders (most of whom are non-violent) and NEVER any money to educate our citizens?

And the march continues down "Stupid Road" by our lawmakers...

thauch12
6230
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thauch12 01/11/13 - 08:21 pm
6
1
There's more to this story...

As someone who had to personally pay the costs of a college education at a private university, can someone please explain the bellyaching about the change from HOPE covering 100% tuition and fees to 90% tuition? From the ASU site, assuming one is a full-time student, this leaves the student responsible for $281.10 a semester which is about $3 per day of school...hardly an insurmountable amount.

jeff scott
151
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jeff scott 01/11/13 - 08:31 pm
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3
What a shame specsta did not

What a shame specsta did not try to get a scholarship. Sure could have used one.

happychimer
16112
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happychimer 01/11/13 - 08:51 pm
0
3
I agree with specsta.

I agree with specsta.

happychimer
16112
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happychimer 01/11/13 - 09:02 pm
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5
thauch $281.10 can be a lot

thauch $281.10 can be a lot of money to a young student who is not able to get finances from family.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 01/12/13 - 12:53 am
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specsta

I can partially agree with you on your last post.

thauch12
6230
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thauch12 01/12/13 - 02:56 am
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@happychimer, unfortunately

@happychimer, unfortunately this isn't the 50s and minimum wage is $7.25 an hour in Georgia. That means, in the absolute worst case where one doesn't get a penny of financial aid, this amount could be paid off by working for a week (you can even call it 2 weeks if you want)...Keep in mind this reduction in HOPE doesn't change the cost of things like gas, parking, housing, or food which they would have had to pay for regardless. I still don't understand the bellyaching!

wribbs
386
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wribbs 01/12/13 - 09:23 am
3
1
An education in this country

An education in this country is becoming just like health care; people think someone else should pay for it. I got mine by working full-time and going to night school. It took me forever, but I got it and paid for it myself, no loans, no grants, no HOPE.

From the post above that stated the student would be responsible for $281.10 per semester, if you can't come up with that amount of money on your own, you don't won't to go to college that bad.

Another point, by next year they will raise tuition and or books and it will eat up the increase because they know the students have more money. How else can you explain the cost of college keeps going up faster than the rate of inflation.

allhans
23319
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allhans 01/12/13 - 10:53 am
1
0
If it is a give-a-way it has

If it is a give-a-way it has to be good..no?

AmyMicD
5
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AmyMicD 01/12/13 - 11:10 am
1
1
@thauch12

Actually it was 90% of the 2010-2011 tuition amount. It does not cover any of the fees. A student who is in 15 hours receives approximately $1,900 from HOPE. So, that leaves the student owing about $900 each semester.

Grandpa Jones
1038
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Grandpa Jones 01/12/13 - 11:53 am
3
0
...

Back in the early 80's when Augusta State was on the quarter system, the only thing you needed was $200 for tuition and about $200 for books each quarter. Surprising how tuition went up but people salaries didn't increase by the same ratio. LOL.

thauch12
6230
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thauch12 01/12/13 - 12:28 pm
4
3
@Amy, whooptie doo. If you

@Amy, whooptie doo. If you consider the end benefits of a college degree (higher pay, better job/management prosepects), $900 a semester is little price to pay now. I would go so far as to say that if you are not willing to take on this small amount of debt, you probably don't deserve a college education. The problem is that HOPE isn't achieving its original goals of keeping Georgia's best and brightest from leaving the state to be educated elsewhere. Keep in mind, those top students receive the Zell Miller Scholarship, which is basically full tuition. The marginal benefit of providing this enhanced HOPE to lesser qualified students is lost on me because these students would have stayed in state anyway. Not to mention the fact that this provides little incentive for students to succeed academically. In this time of fiscal austerity, purse strings have to be tightened and I don't think education is out of question. The handouts have to end!

KelPierson
4
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KelPierson 01/12/13 - 12:30 pm
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1
AmyMicD, you are correct.

AmyMicD, you are correct. The students are responsible for close to $1000 per semester plus books. I am taking 14 hours this semester and spent over $800 this week for books- all were used, so I "saved" about $400 on books. Also, HOPE only pays for so many attempted hours. If one changes major, takes a few extra classes or decides to double major, HOPE ends semesters before graduation. Another change to the program is that summer semester is not covered. For those who attend summer classes to finish faster, they must pay 100% out of pocket. Pell grants have also been cut to cover only two semesters instead of three.

watchdog199
6
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watchdog199 01/12/13 - 01:19 pm
2
1
As a parent of a kid in

As a parent of a kid in college at a GA public university, I can tell you the published tuition rates are just the tip of the iceburg. The mandatory fees upon fees, the required textbooks (don't get me started on that subject where they change textbooks every semester or two) plus the cost of housing and food, and it adds up to many thousands of dollars a year. Just the on-campus parking pass costs $700 per year at my kid's college. The school's published cost of attendance is not far off from the real cost. For GA public universities that's about $15k-$20k per year. Even with HOPE, we still have to come up with about $6k per year, and that's with no entertainment, eating out or doing anything besides school and work. If you are poor, there is plenty of grant money and scholarships. If you are well off, $6k per year is not a big deal. If you are middle class, it's a struggle. Without HOPE, middle class kids wouldn't be able to go to college in this state. Without HOPE, it simply isn't possible for a kid to make the $20k a year working min wage jobs. I worked my way through college many decades ago, but with the way college costs have wildly outpaces the cost of living, those days of working your way through college are long gone.

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 01/12/13 - 02:59 pm
0
0
Remember how GA HOPE Lottery was orginally sold to us?

When HOPE arrived, along with it so did a rapid number of commercial colleges. Each eating up a large chunk of the funds, while offering very limited academic quality.

The GRU & State colleges aren't innocent either.
Since June 1992 GRU & State colleges the student costs have also sky rocketed.

happychimer
16112
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happychimer 01/12/13 - 03:13 pm
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My grandson got a pell grant

My grandson got a pell grant and hope scholarship, and lives at home. Hope is not charity.

AmyMicD
5
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AmyMicD 01/13/13 - 12:00 pm
0
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Just an update

@thauch12 - I was not stating my opinion, just letting you know the actual amount not covered by HOPE.

@KelPierson - HOPE will cover summer semester.

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