In 2011, with lottery income declining and the state budget in crisis, Georgia lawmakers toughened the grade requirements and reduced the benefits of the HOPE scholarship and HOPE grant programs. The HOPE scholarship is for traditional 4-year college students; the HOPE grant is for technical college students.
Last year, with the economy slowly improving, Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) proposed a bill to ease the grade requirements for HOPE grant students, bringing the standards back to the ones that had existed prior to 2011. The bill passed with bipartisan support, and Governor Nathan Deal signed it.
This year, Evans is back with a bill aimed at making it easier for qualified technical college students to afford their educations. The bill, which she has pre-filed for 2014, would allow the HOPE program to cover 100% of the tuition costs for technical students who meet the grade requirements.
WABE’s Denis O’Hayer spoke with Evans about her bill, the Governor’s cautious reaction to it, and the prospects for more bi-partisan work by state lawmakers.
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