Albany - A South Georgia college President say it's too early to say if freezing tuition is the best way to keep HOPE alive. But, students say it's better than some alternatives which will cost them more money.
Darton College student Lajuana Woodham already knows what its like to lose the HOPE scholarship. "It still get money back, but not as much as I would have got if I kept HOPE," said Woodham. She now depends on loans to pay for school, and the cost of education continues to rise.
"Prices are raising more and more each year," said student Charlye Durden. "I will be outrageous one year." The Board of Regents sets tuition at public colleges. In 2003, tuition went up by 2% pat Darton College and by a whopping 15% at larger universities such as UGA. Paying those cost is draining the HOPE fund.
"I think there are some difficult decision to be made," said Albany Technical Institute President, Dr. Anthony Parker. Dr. Park was in Atlanta to hear the Lt. Governor's plan to freeze tuition. He says there are pros and cons to the proposal.
"They're looking at the alternative that would have the least impact on students. When tuition doesn't increase, sometimes expansion doesn't come as quickly as we like. But, sometimes we have to grow a little smaller than we normally would," said Dr. Parker.
Other ideas on the table for keeping HOPE alive include no longer giving students $150 a semester for books and not paying fees such as athletic, parking, and medical cost. Students say that would hit them hard."It will be a big hurt." said Hill. "It does help us with tuition. And, $150 is not that much for books, but it does help."
"Some people have to have HOPE or they can't go at all," said Durden.
Dr. Parker feels confident the University System will discuss all the HOPE-saving options and choose those that hurt students the least. But, he says parents and students should be prepared for added cost just in case.
Dr. Parker says the Lt. Governor stressed if tuition is frozen, the state would have to make sure colleges still get the funding they need to operate from the state and federal governments.