HOPE Students Kept From Getting Full-Rides

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

At one time the "HOPE" Scholarship offered full-rides to Georgia public colleges for qualifying students.
But changes to the program have kept most applicants from getting their tuition fully covered.

Natalie Ajamian is a freshman at Valdosta State University.
She's on the HOPE scholarship.
Ajamian tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that in high school she was an "As & Bs" student.
When she graduated, she thought she'd have a full-ride.

"My dad told me that I'd only be getting 90% of HOPE because I did not have above a 3.7," Ajamian said.

"HOPE" changes started the current Fall semester where the program offers about $500 less per semester.
At VSU it covers about 87% of tuition.
The percentage is based on 90% of last year's tuition.

VSU Director of Financial Aid, Doug Tanner, tells Gullberg that it's affecting the way students plan their futures.

"What it's meant is students have had to make tough decisions. Funding's not paying anything towards mandatory fees only part of tuition and nothing towards books," Tanner said.

The Hope scholarship program is funded with revenue from the Georgia state lottery.
But a spokesman with the Georgia Student Finance Commission tells Gullberg that with so many students qualifying, the program would have run out of money within the next two years.
That's why the "Zell Miller" award was introduced.

The Zell Miller award fills the gap left by the new changes to the HOPE scholarship.
Ajamian didn't qualify for Zell Miller even though she did qualify for HOPE.
She just doesn't want to lose what she already has with HOPE.

"I just hope it doesn't go down anymore, that's what I'm worried about."

--- NEW ON THE WEB ---

MYTH: The requirements to qualify for HOPE have changed.

FACT: The requirements are still the same for HOPE but the amount of money offered has changed. That's where the Zell Miller award comes in to fill the gap.
HOPE will cover roughly 90% of tuition (often in the high 80s) and Zell Miller covers the rest.

HOW TO QUALIFY FOR ZELL MILLER AWARD:

The student must graduate high school as the valedictorian or salutatorian, OR with at least a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 SAT score or 26 on the ACT.
Then, while in college they must maintain a 3.3.

Reporter: Greg Gullberg
Source: Tracy Ireland, Director of the Georgia Student Finance Commission's post-secondary student and school services.


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