Is HOPE $ in jeopardy? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is HOPE $ in jeopardy?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The HOPE scholarship sends thousands of students to college and provides tuition, book and fee money to those who have and maintain a B average. The lottery funds the HOPE program, and while the lottery is as successful as ever, more people are going back to school because of the economy, which means money for some parts of HOPE is in jeopardy.

College is expensive. And the tools to be successful in school, aren't always a bargain.

"Well, books cost about $150 a piece," said Adair Duke.  "That's just one of the cheaper ones, so $300 is good to go towards that to help."

Books can seem outrageously priced. We found some in the Darton College Book store Thursday close to $300. Any college student will tell you that books are expensive. This one physics book is $213 brand new, used it's still no bargain at $160, that's where the HOPE money comes in handy.

For students with the scholarship, they get $300 a semester to help pay for books. The cost of HOPE is expected to increase by almost $56 Million next year, and there are fears expenses will outpace the revenue the lottery brings in. So book money could be reduced, and eventually cut altogether.

Kaycee Griner said, "If you're a fulltime student, obviously that means you're going to have more classes so you're going to need more books and without that book money, you're just kind of out of luck."

Duke said, "I worked hard to get my grades up to have HOPE and then for them to take away the book money from me, it's like, what am I working for now?" In addition to the book allowance, money for fees could also be in jeopardy, but there's still hope it could all be saved.

Thursday, the Georgia House passed a measure that would protect that money, so long as lottery revenues don't take a nosedive below the cost of the program. A similar measure passed last year, but it was vetoed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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