A recent report projects that HOPE could be running out of money, but pay close attention to who paid for the study.
During the Great Recession, the Board of Regents dealt with drastic cuts in state funding by raising tuition, and higher-education costs everywhere have outpaced inflation, draining lottery funds. In 2011, the book and fee allowances were eliminated, and HOPE stopped paying full tuition for all but the very best students.
The study by the Committee to Preserve HOPE Scholarships predicts that, in spite of those reforms, HOPE money will begin to decline again in 2018, and the program will start running a deficit in 2028.
Take those predictions with a fishbowl margarita’s worth of salt. The Committee to Preserve HOPE scholarships is headed by Chip Lake, a prominent Republican strategist, and funded by the casino industry, which has long sought to move into Georgia. Its lobbyists failed to convince state legislators to put legalizing casino gambling on the ballot this year, but if they can convince those lawmakers that the extremely popular HOPE scholarship is under threat, that may change.
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