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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Dec 10, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    Tea Party Conservative, if people can't afford college it doesn't mean they have to pick cotton or tomatoes, nor that they aren't smart enough for college. They can always attend a technical school and learn a trade that pays them more than some college graduates earn and may well be the beginning of ownership of a small business that hires some college graduates. College isn't the end all of life, nor is exposing the impressionable to the idiot teachings of liberal professors a good thing.
  • by Tea Party Conservative on Dec 6, 2011 at 04:51 PM
    Forget this communist and socialist idea of free money. That fuels class warfare. If people can't afford college then let them pick cotton, tomatoes or be a day laborer. If they come from families that can't afford college then the kids are probably not smart enough for college anyway.
  • by Olive Oil Location: Tallahassee on Dec 5, 2011 at 06:28 AM
    I be studying whether I should break this news but Mrs. Reagan has up and died a long time ago. What we have here is failure to communicate and an Obama Repelican.
    • reply
      by Reagan Republican on Dec 5, 2011 at 10:59 AM in reply to Olive Oil
      @ Olive Oil Mrs. Reagan is not deceased. What is an Obama Repelican?
  • by Frances Location: Tallahassee on Dec 3, 2011 at 09:05 AM
    Get a job already, and stop expecting someone else to fund everything! I worked my way thru college, as did my 3 kids. My youngest worked 3 jobs while attending school full-time. Didn't hurt her one bit, and she was offered a executive position at one of her part-time jobs upon graduation.
    • reply
      by Glenn on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:13 PM in reply to Frances
      I agree Frances and I commend you for working so hard. All I'm saying is that the limited funds provided by the state shouldn't be spent on upper income families that have the means to provide for college expenses. The scholarship should go to those that need it most. It doesn't pay for EVERYTHING but it sure helps. Students will still have to work, as you did. Maybe this will provide an opportunity for more people to be able to go to college that otherwise couldn't.
      • reply
        by Reagan Republican on Dec 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM in reply to Glenn
        @ Glenn Why are you bringing up class warfare rhetoric into this discussion? How about the Hope Scholarship program is a wonderful opportunity for ALL young Americans to achieve the goal of attending college by working towards a certain grade point average and test scores. Why should a student who does achieve this goal NOT be rewarded to have THEIR college education somewhat alleviated when they are attending college as an adult? They are the ones that earned it, not their parents, and they are the ones who want to stand on their own two feet as adults instead of asking their parents to pay for college. Why is that shameful in your class warfare theology?
        • reply
          by Glenn on Dec 4, 2011 at 03:34 PM in reply to Reagan Republican
          It's not the buzzword that today's new right wing uses, "class warfare". The money is state money from the lottery, not taxpayer money. Nobody, including the wealthy, is entitled to it. However, it is a good opportunity to HELP those who would otherwise not be able to afford college.
        • reply
          by Reagan Republican on Dec 4, 2011 at 05:40 PM in reply to Reagan Republican
          @ Glenn Any eligible American can choose to purchase a lottery ticket from the State of GA and the state is required by law to allocate some funds towards education of their citizens. Your argument is that some young adults should be penalized and therefore not eligible for the scholarship funds because their parents make a certain income that is unacceptable to you because their parents are a "better educated populous."
    • reply
      by nanu nanu on Dec 4, 2011 at 04:38 AM in reply to Frances
      And walked 5 miles uphill in the snow both ways I bet.
      • reply
        by Frances on Dec 4, 2011 at 08:22 AM in reply to nanu nanu
        Well Mr./Ms. Nanu nanu - must be you live a useless existence yourself since you like to criticize hard work. Shame on you.
        • reply
          by Glenn on Dec 4, 2011 at 10:28 AM in reply to Frances
          Not criticizing hard work at all. The HOPE should be available to those that need it. They should work hard too. We all know that you worked hard and recognize you for it, so please don't be bitter or jealous of others that apply for HOPE.
        • reply
          by nanu nanu on Dec 4, 2011 at 02:29 PM in reply to Frances
          It would be a useless existence if I had to rely on horse and buggy thinking to compete in the modern world. We put men on the moon with chalk-boards and slide-rules, but it would be ignorant to try to do it that way again. When countries competing against us hear your reasoning, they smile.
        • reply
          by Reagan Republican on Dec 4, 2011 at 08:59 PM in reply to Frances
          @ nanu nanu Why is working your way through college "horse and buggy" thinking? If you do NOT acquire a college education, then, you are not going to be competing to go to the moon.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 4, 2011 at 03:36 PM in reply to Frances
      well hurray for Frances! Everyone is so proud of you!
  • by Glenn Location: Tallahassee on Dec 3, 2011 at 08:29 AM
    It's crazy to give sparse state lottery-funded scholarships to children of wealthy families. Applicants should be required to submit their family's tax return to see if they qualify for it. That would enable more funding for education along with being able to offer more scholarships to more people who actually need them. Some people can't go to college because they don't qualify for HOPE and they can't afford college. If you're hard hearted enough to say that students should work their way through college, working part time as a waiter or waitress won't entirely pay for college and related expenses. This modification would also enable us to slightly lower the requirement to qualify, thus allowing more lower and middle income young people the opportunity to obtain a college education. That end result is good for America as a better educated populous will help America compete into the 21st century.
    • reply
      by Jake on Dec 3, 2011 at 10:14 AM in reply to Glenn
      That makes sense Glen. However, common sense doesn't fly very far. It shouldn't be a Dem or Republican issue. It's an American issue. End result of more-of-the-same: The U.S. falls further behind the rest of the industrial world.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Dec 3, 2011 at 07:48 AM
    Lola, our young adults get a college education to better themselves and improve their financial outlook for life. It is their lives that are improved, let them pay for it. Part of that education should include the work ethic.
  • by nanu nanu Location: Tallahassee on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:49 AM
    "Georgia public colleges" OK, what about Florida?
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:42 AM
    Too many people now are getting a "full ride" by the government. Not just HOPE recipents were, but the able bodied who choose not to work and take from those that will. It won't hurt HOPE recipients to receive some practical experience in working for what they want. In fact, it will do them good. I went to college and worked my way through. Didn't hurt me one bit. Then we sent both of our sons through college without one dime of assistance from any outside source. And all of us graduated without being deep in debt for our educations. In fact, we had no debt for that at all. I graduated from FSU, they graduated from VSU. If we could do it, so can others. GET OFF YOUR LAZY REAR ENDS AND WORK! College offers plenty of time to work.
  • by Lola Location: Georgia on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:28 AM
    I think it's a shame that HOPE does not give college students a full ride...They should do away with the PreK program and focus more on our young adults..PreK is just a free babysitting service....
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