Perdue, Taylor butt heads on HOPE -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Perdue, Taylor butt heads on HOPE

January 13, 2004

Atlanta- Tuesday morning Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor announced his plan to save HOPE. His main idea is to freeze tuition for the next three years.

But Governor Sonny Perdue says that won't do anything to keep the HOPE scholarship alive. 

Right under Rory Zimmerman's nose, heated debates are ongoing about what helps her get a college education: The HOPE scholarship. "I don't believe the SAT actually gauges a student's knowledge or their capability," said Zimmerman, who works at the Capital, as an assistant for House Representative Bob Hanner.

Zimmerman is talking about Governor Sonny Perdue's proposal to save the HOPE grant- link eligibility to SAT scores.

"I am not satisfied with being 50th out of 50 in SAT scores," said Perdue in an interview with the Georgia press corps. "I'm gong to do something about it."

"What success a student has on one three-hour exam in the Fall, the SAT, should not offset four years of B-average work in our high schools," said Lt. Governor Mark Taylor.

"We'll be sticking our heads in the sand and doing nothing, and that's essentially what the Lt. Governor is recommending," said Perdue.

Taylor suggests a three-year tuition freeze in Georgia colleges. "Tuition is high enough in Georgia, right now. Let's not increase it for the next three years, and let’s work together not to see other cuts in the Board of Regents budget."

Taylor says the cost of tuition is up 16% since 1980. Perdue says that figure isn't accurate. "His math was a little off, and I indicated the Lt. Governor may not be a HOPE scholar in Math..."

"Well, I disagree with that contention," replied Taylor. "I stand by my numbers."

College students like Zimmerman just hope that HOPE sticks around.

The idea of dropping books and fees for hope scholars is being discussed. The Georgia finance commission says if there are no reforms in hope then the program will run out of money in 2006 with a deficit of $141 million.

According to Perdue, with Taylor’s plan it will still run out of money with a deficit of $64 million.

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