SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia’s newest crop of kindergarteners could be out of luck when the hope scholarship runs out of money, according to a new report out Wednesday.
The report says demand for the hope scholarship and the rising cost of tuition is far out pacing funding.
The scholarship was created in 1993 as part of the then-new Georgia Lottery. It allowed Georgia high school students with a 3.0 average to get full in-state tuition. College enrollment soared and lawmakers made tough cuts, changing the HOPE Scholarship to only cover a portion of tuition for students with a 3.0 GPA and eliminating the payment of fees and books. Now only students qualifying for the Zell Miller Scholarship, which requires a 3.7 GPA or higher, get full tuition.
But, the report says, demand is still much higher than lotto sales can support.
“At UGA & Georgia Tech this fall 98% of the incoming freshman will be on the HOPE Scholarship or the Zell Miller Scholarship,” says author and long-time journalist Nancy Badertscher. “That’s a costly proposition, clearly.”
Badertscher says with the current funding system the HOPE Scholarship will be in deficit spending in just over a decade
“If nothing changes in the way funding is, then by 2028 the HOPE Scholarship, that’s the program for the 3.0 student, the one that Zell Miller had a dream for, that program will be into deficit spending,” says Badertscher.