Hope Goes a Long Way

On Friday, January 18th, Governor Brian Kemp announced a spending plan to increase funding for the HOPE scholarship. This decision, If approved, would effectively end the two-level award system that Georgia has in place. Kemp’s plan would use 61 million dollars of lottery proceeds to receive scholarship members.
HOPE, which stands for Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally, is a state financial aid program that had provided scholarships and grants to about 2 million students each year since 1993 when it started. Since then, the scholarship has undergone many tweaks and changes that lawmakers to ensure effectiveness, equity, and sustainability. The most significant change to the scholarship came in 2004. During this time, a new GPA calculation and a cap on attempted credit hours covered by hope were implemented. In 2011 the Zell Miller scholarship was created, which created a two-tier system. The guidelines declared that “students who graduate with at least a 3.7 HOPE GPA and a score of at least 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT are eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship.” And those who maintain a 3.0 are eligible for the HOPE scholarship. The end goal of this new spending plan is that HOPE recipients would have 100% of their tuition funded.
Although many view this as an excellent investment for the future of Georgia Students, some are not pleased with the proposed plan. State democrats are split in the endorsement of the
decision. The original system’s abandonment is not sitting right with many of them. To some, it may feel like this puts the scholarship’s promise in bad faith. Some high schoolers seemed to have a different perspective. When asked about his thoughts on the proposal Morgan Yankowsky (12) said, “I think its a good way to bring balance to allowing money to be spread more evenly to well-rounded students who may have missed Zelle cut-offs due to sports or jobs and still allow them the money they need for their future education.” I also got a chance to ask Cameron Pollock (12) if the proposal would help him in terms of navigating college. He stated, “Yes, the Georgia HOPE bill would be a humongous help in navigating which college I am going to. I then asked Henzo Vienei (12) if he thought this was fair to the students who meet the requirements for Zel Miller. He responded, “Yes, it’s fair. This allows more people to be given an opportunity. If you want to go above and beyond, that’s great, but don’t trip over the others who could also get help.”
The probability of the proposals passing is known. There are also many other factors that could delay the passing as the funding is part of a “$32.5 billion proposal that also includes $2,000 pay raises for state employees, tax rebates, and more than $1 billion for K-12 schools.”
As for the scholarship’s future, it is still subject to change. This is because the 2011 law has not been revised. Therefore funding could be cut in the future. For every high schooler residing in the state of Georgia, I’m sure this is very exciting news.