Budget Cuts Equal Scholarship Cuts

Major changes are in store for Georgia's HOPE Scholarship in an effort to save the state money, but it could come at the cost of some students forgoing their grant money sooner than they planned.

Delash Huewitt is one of dozens of students at Southwest Georgia Technical College to receive notice of ineligibility of HOPE grant money.

"It frustrates me because there are a lot of young men and women out here pursuing careers. I think they should have that right to be able to get that money. It's out there for us," says Huewitt.

Gov. Perdue signed a HOPE reform bill Monday after the prediction that in the near future HOPE recipients will far outweigh the lottery sales that fund it.

One of the changes puts a cap at 95 quarter hours for technical school students. Credit hours from last summer and up to this year will include in the 95 quarter hours limit. This is expected to affect up to 100,000 technical school students in Georgia.

Maxwell Rayburn, a financial aid advisor, says, "We don't have access to other funds to help them with, so I really don't know what affect it will have but it will be a major affect."

"Some students are affected greatly by that and then they're booted out of school or not able to come back," adds Huewitt.

Huewitt has depended on the scholarship for books and fees for the past two and a half years, and now that it's been taken from her she says hard times may lie ahead, but it won't stop her from pursuing her educational hopes and dreams.

Perdue's reform plan is expected to save the state almost $2.2 million during the 2005 fiscal year budget.