State Scholarship Program May Run Out Of Money

  The Hope scholarship program in Georgia began a wave of state initiatives that were similar to the Georgia program. Hope guarantees state aid if students meet certain academic course requirements and grades. When Georgia launched a college scholarship program called HOPE in 1993, it was the first financial-aid program of its kind. HOPE essentially made higher education free for all Georgia students who graduate from high school with a B average or higher, attend an in-state public institution and maintain that 3.0 grade point average. More than a dozen states followed Georgia’s lead. Now, however, the weak economy is giving Georgia’s program the biggest fiscal test of its history. Meanwhile, tuition costs have doubled to make up for cuts in state funding and enrollments are booming. Georgia is not sure it can continue funding at current levels.

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