HOPE Changes Affect Tech Schools - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

HOPE Changes Affect Tech Schools

It's the middle of summer, but a lot of college students are focused on the upcoming school year.

Changes to the HOPE scholarship program will make it harder for many of them to afford school.

Georgia technical colleges have seen skyrocketing enrollment the last few years.

The question tonight is will that change with the HOPE changes.

She's in the newsroom now with our top story.

The HOPE Program has given the opportunity for thousands of students in Georgia to enroll in the state's technical colleges.

And they, like so many other colleges, they are feeling the strain.

Albany Tech student Joseph Wills is working on a computer project with his study group, but what he's really concerned with is how he will afford school in the coming year.

"Our funds should have been left alone," says Joseph Wills, ATC student.

It is going to be harder for technical college students, like Joseph, to receive and keep the HOPE scholarship and grant throughout school.

"How are you going to get your books and tuition when you can barely pay your other bills," says Wills.

He says the cuts come at a bad time when many students are already struggling to afford school.

"My math book alone cost $150, so when you cant find a book for under 100 dollars that 100 dollars really helps," says Wills.

The changes will save tens of millions of dollars and help keep the HOPE scholarship program from going broke, but Albany Tech leaders worry they'll also keep some students out of the classroom.

"I'm hoping it won't impact admission, but it will affect some, some students don't have the money to pay for tuition, fees and books," says Helen Catt, ATC Director of Financial Aid.

"Students that are just returning to school after time working and come back and who have graduated more than 7 years ago will not be able to get HOPE," says Catt.

Once enrolled, students on the HOPE Grant, now must earn and maintain a 3.0 GPA to retain benefits.

"Only lose it once and gain it back once, before you could get it back anytime," says Catt.

Urijah Spencer, who has a 3.75 GPA, thinks those changes may motivate students to work harder.

"Might discourage people to come here because they think it is easier but with the changes of HOPE, hopefully it will encourage people to pick up the slack, academically speaking," says Urijah Spencer, ATC Student.

And students will have to pick up that slack soon. All the revisions go into effect for the upcoming Fall Semester.

In order to make up for changes in tuition and fees, Helen Catt encourages students to apply for other scholarships because some are never even used.

She says the money is out there, it's just a matter of you taking the time to look for it.

The state has a web site that includes all sorts of information about Georgia colleges, the HOPE program... and other financial aid. 




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