Education leaders struggle to save HOPE - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Education leaders struggle to save HOPE

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October 14, 2003

Moultrie- There are nearly a quarter of a million students in the University system of Georgia. That's almost 45,000 more than 3 years ago. Still, Chancellor Thomas Meredith says that's not enough.

"We're very low compared nationally to the percentage of our population going to college. So, it's time to get those students in college, we've just go to figure out a way to make HOPE work with them," he says.

Some of the ideas include larger classes, fewer classes and maybe enrollment caps. University of Georgia president Michael Adams says his school is already at full capacity with 34,000 students.

"There may need to be a little more rigor in the high school grading system. I know a number of systems are looking at that, but I think they can make adjustments and for the next 5 to 7 years we'll be in good shape," says Adams.

Adams says the school is now focusing more attention on satellite offices like the one in Tifton.

Abraham Baldwin College has one tenth of the UGA population, still the largest student body ever. Their president Mike Vollmer is also on the HOPE study commission.

"Books and fees are equivalent I to about $110 million a year. So, one of the things we'll be looking at is whether books and fees are a necessary part of HOPE and whether we go back to the original tenet of HOPE - tuition, and that would save 110 million," says Vollmer.

But tuition at Georgia schools is spiking along with enrollment, meaning HOPE pays even more money to support more students, an imbalance education leaders are struggling to straighten out.

Chancellor Meredith says the HOPE study commission is expected to make a decision about how to save the scholarship in November.

Posted at 4:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com