College is getting harder to pay for.
At least that’s what Tommy Swinford, a guidance counselor at Richmond Hill High School thinks. He said the cost of getting a college degree has risen over the years.
“It’s such a big cost,” he said.
Luckily for parents and students, both high schools in Bryan County will be hosting financial aid seminars next week. Richmond Hill’s financial aid seminar is 7 p.m. Monday in the school cafeteria. Bryan County High School will host its seminar 7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria.
Both seminars will feature a representative from Georgia Student Finance Commission to answer questions and give updated financial aid information, from scholarships to loans to the financial aid process, to parents and students, said Swinford and Harold Roach, the principal of Bryan County High School.
“She covers everything,” Swinford said of Carol Lott, the commission representative coming to Richmond Hill High School.
It’s helpful to have someone who can answer parents’ questions about paying for college especially since circumstances, such as funds available through the Hope Scholarship, can change year-to-year, Swinford said.
The Hope Scholarship, which students are eligible for if they maintain a 3.0 grade point average, is funded by the Georgia Lottery, Swinford said. So many students have been awarded the Hope Scholarship that funds in the account to cover tuition costs are running low, said State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler. The funds will be running at a deficit either this year or next year, he added.
“Revenues aren’t keeping up with it,” Carter said.
There are a number of solutions that have been offered to help fix the Hope Scholarship deficit, Carter said.
The lottery could offer a flat rate scholarship instead of doling out money based on tuition costs, increase the percentage of money from lottery tickets to the scholarship fund, or tie students’ eligibility for the scholarship to SAT scores, among other suggestions, he said.
Carter believes that the legislature will find a solution to funding the scholarship this year.
“It’s one of our top priorities,” he said.
Aid nights are held every year at Bryan County schools. Both Swinford and Roach said they encourage both students and parents to attend. More and more, parents of high school juniors are asking to attend these financial aid seminars, Swinford said.
“They are trying to plan now,” he said.