MACON, Ga. -- A report released Wednesday by the Committee to Preserve HOPE Scholarships says that the HOPE scholarship program could run out of money by the year 2028. The HOPE scholarship provides students with a 3.0 GPA in Georgia to get the majority of their tuition paid for.
The author of the report, Nancy Badertsher, says they ran a scenario looking at the current funding levels and the current projections of growth on the program." She says rising education higher education prices and the increase of students taking advantage of the program will contribute to the coming deficit.
There are many students that take advantage of the program in Middle Georgia. The committee reports that more than 44,000 students have received the HOPE scholarship in 2014 in Bibb County alone. Badertsher also adds that 44% of the incoming Freshman class at Middle Georgia State University are HOPE scholarship recipients.
In our interview today Badertsher said “This raises the issue that we should keep our eye on the ball and make sure this program can be preserved and do whatever is necessary for that.”
She said in the report she didn't explore solutions to the potential funding gap for the HOPE scholarship. But she added that the solution will take many different groups of people working together. “I think the discussion needs to involve the General Assembly which is tasked with overseeing the HOPE scholarship, the governor, but I think all Georgians are stakeholders in this and should be part of the discussion, because again, no program has done more to help the state.” she said.
The program was started in 1993. Since then the Committee reports that 1.7 million students in Georgia have benefited from the scholarship.