Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good News (for now) for HOPE Scholarship Recipents

College students who get the HOPE scholarship will have a better chance of having their book fees covered under legislation passed in the state House today.

Under current law, if the lottery-funded reserves drop by even just one dollar, the HOPE scholarship would pay less for books. For this year and next, the reserves are fine.

But Representative Ben Harbin from Evans worries that demand for the scholarship is up while revenues have flattened. He says that could bring down the reserves.

"I think probably 2011 we would've seen the book allowances cut in half the first year, eliminated the second year, and then the student fees gone the third year."

To prevent that, the House unanimously passed a bill that would put percentages to those cuts. Only when the reserves dropped by 8% would book funding be cut in half. At 16%, the scholarship would no longer cover books. And if the reserves took a 25% hit, student fees would be eliminated from funding as well.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

-By Carl Zornes

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