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Still have HOPE?

March 30, 2011

By Sara Bottinelli, Staff Writer

The changes to the HOPE scholarship has left YHC students wondering if they will be able to afford tuition. Graphic by Kelley Lyness

On March 15th Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 326, making alterations in the HOPE scholarship official.

Previously the HOPE scholarship provided academic funding to college students who were Georgia residents that held at least a 3.0 grade point average.Public college students maintaining this minimum GPA were eligible for full HOPE coverage, which paid for tuition, remedial class and book fees.Students attending private institutions like Young Harris College received a lesser scholarship of $4,000.

Next fall, college students attending public institutions are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA to keep HOPE. Their coverage will decrease to 90 percent of tuition rates, with no extra money for books or fees.

This new bill also created the Zell Miller Scholarship, which is awarded to future high school valedictorians, salutatorians and students graduating with a GPA of 3.7 or higher and who earned a 1200 out of 1600 on the SAT.

This scholarship will provide full HOPE coverage for students carrying a GPA of 3.3 throughout college. Full HOPE coverage won’t be available to current college students, and students will be able to lose and regain HOPE scholarhips only once.

According to YHC’s Financial Aid Office, YHC students will not be as greatly affected by these changes as public school students.

“Current students will have to continue to maintain their 3.0 GPA and will receive $3600 towards their tuition if they are eligible for HOPE in the 2011-12 school year,” Wanda Martin, assistant director of Financial Aid, explained.

In a poll taken at YHC, students were asked if the changes to the HOPE scholarship would affect their future financial aid.

Of 100 YHC students asked, 71 percent answered “yes,” and 29 percent answered “no.”

Jessie Ryals, a music major from Blairsville, worries about how HOPE will affect her when transfers to Georgia State University.

“Having HOPE pay for my full tuition at Georgia State will make it possible for me to go to school there and knowing that I only have one chance to lose HOPE and the decrease in coverage could hurt my college career permanently,” said Ryals.

Jordan Marshall, a music major from Hiawassee,  expressed anger towards HOPE changes. “Knowing that I can never get full HOPE coverage even if I made amazing grades in high school or college is ridiculous,” said Marshall.

“It is important to note that these new regulations can still be changed,” said Martin. “The new bill is still being processed and answers are being given so that colleges can be able to award HOPE.”

  1. Vick Scott
    April 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Every one that has been on Hope will have to do as the other students do, they or their parents will have to pay or they will need to get student loans, at least even if it’s a small amount of help from Hope they still are ahead of the other students that get nothing from Hope.
    I have 2 grandchildren that are in college at UGA that get no Hope money at all, even though they have high GPA’s simply because their parents make two much money, I do not think that is fair. I used to purchase lottery and scratch off tickets but once I realized that my grandchildren would not be able to benefit from Hope I stopped buying anything that was connected to the lottery.
    Both of my grandchildren have jobs and manage to keep good grades in their college classes, if you want a college education work for it.
    I paid my way through college, nobody owes you a college education.


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