Consensus: HOPE not hopeless

The HOPE Scholarship program faces what seem to be insurmountable problems in its immediate future. A victim of the poor economy, the rising cost of education and a rapidly growing state, the scholarship program that many Tech students have come to know will most likely become a shell of its former self. Massive cuts are needed to sustain the program in any meaningful way. Aid for students attending private or for-profit colleges should be cut immediately. HOPE needs to be clearly focused on accomplishing its most fundamental goal of aiding in-state students to attend in-state schools.
Increasing the requirements to initially obtain the scholarship also needs to be considered. Grade inflation has been rampant in secondary education, resulting in more students who qualify. Often times this increase is a result of the GPA requirements for HOPE. Incorporating a national standard such as the SAT or the ACT into a formula to determine HOPE eligibility could help ensure that people who receive it will be more likely to fulfill the requirements to keep the scholarship in their higher education. Still, the standard to keep HOPE once it has been obtained should not be raised. This would unfairly target students who attend universities with more rigorous grading standards and push students from those schools more than it already may do.
Considering the important role HOPE plays in the State of Georgia, no options should be taken off the table. Alternative sources of tax revenue should be considered, including lifting restrictions on some commodities so that a large tax pool can be developed for the program. HOPE has also been one of the few checks on the rising cost of higher education in Georgia. If HOPE is lost and the state does have to try balance the scholarship budget against tuition, there could be even more drastic increases for students.

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