Students worry about future of HOPE

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The HOPE Scholarship has helped thousands of students pay for college and that may change after Tuesday's big announcement.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced his new proposed plan to keep the cash strapped lottery funded HOPE Scholarship.

Under the new plan, students who earn at least a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 S.A.T. score will continue to get a free college education.

Students with at least a 3.0 grade point average will no longer have full coverage.

This new proposed plan isn't sitting well with students who are under the old plan, and will no longer have their tuition paid for.

Savannah State University student Tiffany Moore is like thousands of students across the state who's benefiting from the current hope scholarship plan.

"HOPE has allowed me to go to school and my mom wanted me to go to college, we knew we couldn't afford it. So HOPE has been there to supplement those costs that I couldn't afford on my own," said Moore.

But she may need to look elsewhere to cover the cost of her books and other fees.

The changes are because profits from the state's lottery can't keep up with college enrollment and rising tuition.

Under Governor Deal's proposal, HOPE will cover 90 percent tuition for students with a B average, which is the majority of students who qualify for HOPE.

"I am praying I will have enough money for next semester," said Moore.

She's not the only one. Armstrong student Heather Burkhalter also qualifies for HOPE and Under the proposed plan she will have to either apply for other scholarships or student loans in order to cover next year's tuition if the plan goes through quickly.

"It definitely puts a little more stress on my life," said Burkhalter.

While she understands the state's financial situation she just hopes, there is hope in her future.

"I mean everyone is trying to get their education and hope has helped me so much in the past I really hate to see this happen," said Burkhalter.

This is just a proposal and state legislatures will have to vote on the proposal which could be awhile.

Also under the new plan the lottery funded Pre-K program will change as well. Deal plans to add 5,000 more students to program and also cut back on the number of hours students are in school.

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