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Nonprofit group is rallying for HOPE
Effort seeks to take action for scholarship
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In the wake of HOPE scholarship changes last year, volunteers have banded together to make their voice heard.
And they’re asking others to join in to raise the decibel level.
“Save the HOPE,” a nonprofit organization created by Georgia business and community leaders, is pushing for full funding of the state’s HOPE scholarship.
“Now that the HOPE is down to 87 percent funding and is soon to be at less than 50 percent (projected by 2014), it became obvious to me that it was just good business and good for our business for Georgia to have a fully funded HOPE scholarship program,” said Bud Carter, co-founder of Save the HOPE and senior chairman for Vistage International in Atlanta.
Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill that reduced the HOPE scholarship from full coverage down to 90 percent of the 2011 tuition rates for those high school students who have a 3.0 GPA.
It also eliminated money for books and fees and gave students just one opportunity to regain the scholarship if they lost it due to falling grades.
“By decreasing the amount of HOPE for tuition and setting a percentage number, we were both adapting to the changed economic environment as well as keeping the spirit of the program,” said state House Speaker David Ralston in an August 2011 interview with the Gainsville Times.
Full tuition is still covered under the Zell Miller Scholarship for students who graduate high school with at least a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 on the SAT. They would need to maintain a 3.3 GPA in college to keep it.
But 70 percent of those Zell Miller Scholars attend either the University of Georgia or the Georgia Institute of Technology, and more students qualified for that scholarship than expected, adding more strain to the lottery fund, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The change in the way the scholarship is divvied out was intended to help offset the revenues the Georgia Lottery lost.
Read more in the May 16 edition of the News.

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