The Hope Scholarship, a merit-based award given to Georgia residents who demonstrate academic achievement, could potentially end by 2028 according to Preserve Hope Scholarships.
Students must graduate with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA out of high school to receive the scholarship and maintain the same GPA throughout a public Georgia college. The Georgia Lottery funds the scholarship, giving the program one billion dollars in 2016. With the lottery returning more than 17 billion dollars to Georgia’s education, the demand for the scholarship outstretches Hope’s ability to provide support for all students who need it.
“It makes me upset, because people already have to fight so hard to get a better education. College isn’t cheap, and for people who already struggle financially, why should they be deprived of this great thing?” Doreen Pierre, a senior at NC and hopeful recipient of the scholarship, said.
Changes in the amount awarded students must pay out of pocket increased in 2016. The scholarship paid only 71 to 88 percent of the total tuition to students that year. The other portion falls in the hands of the receiver, whether it comes from loans, grants, or other scholarships.
“It sucks that after working hard to earn your GPA, you’ll have to pay for your college out of pocket. I believe it will decrease the people who actually continue on to college,” senior Kamila Rodriguez, a recipient of the Hope scholarship, said.
State legislators gathered to further discuss and plan actions needed to keep Hope alive. Two options arose: legalizing either casinos or horse racing to obtain money for the scholarship. The fate of the scholarship now rests in the hands of Georgia’s lawmakers.
“If it encourages students to work hard to receive a hope scholarship to brighten their future then I think it’s worth having,” Bea Flores, a senior who will benefit from Hope, said.