Nicolle Sartain of Lawrenceville earned the Zell Miller Scholarship — which
covers 100 percent of college tuition — as a freshman at the University of
Georgia in 2014 / 2015, but lost it in her sophomore year after sticking out a tough
economics class and watching her grade point average fall a fraction below the
required 3.3 GPA.
Nicolle, editor of UGA’s independent student newspaper The
Red & Black, is now heading into her junior year with the HOPE Scholarship,
which covers only 75 percent of UGA’s tuition. Nicolle has racked up $8,658 in
debt and is looking at taking on another $3,570 loan, for a total of $12,408. She
knows that’s far less than the debt of students who don’t have either Zell or
HOPE. But it’s still scary, she said.
After looking at the exact numbers, I am worried about how I am going to be able to pay it off
I’ve had a job every semester of college –– in some semesters, two jobs. But when I
graduate, there’s no job guarantee anywhere. Nicolle graduated with a 4.0 from
Gwinnett County’s Mountain View High School in 2014. She’s working hard to
again qualify for the Zell Miller. Of course the worry is that I get it back and then
lose it again,dz she said. In her circle of friends, the conversation is seldom about
passing a particular course. It’s: Am I going to keep HOPE? Am I going to keep
Zell? she said.
Credit: Nancy Badertscher