Georgia's Hope Scholarship At Risk

01/07/2011 05:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Georgia's largest scholarship program will have to be seriously re-evaluated in light of the state's budget deficit, leaving many students to wonder how they will pay for college, reports the New York Times.

Georgia's Hope scholarship, the largest merit-based scholarship in the nation, has been a boon -- albeit a contested one -- to state residents since its inception in 1993. By paying four years of tuition for high school students who have at least a B-average upon graduation, the Hope scholarship has helped raise Georgia's SAT scores and enticed more students to pursue a degree in-state. But a decrease of $243 million in revenue from lottery sales, which have been used to finance the program, and a federal stimulus package mostly spent means that Georgia will be unable to continue funding Hope as it exists today.

A few options have been considered in retooling the scholarship program. State Rep. and leader of the House Higher Education Committee Len Walker told the Times that one way to adjust the program would be by offering a partial scholarship, maybe 80 or 90 percent of full tuition cost, and removing funds for books and fees. Another iteration of Hope would potentially raise the GPA for qualifying students, and yet another would make the scholarship partially need-based -- although the Times notes that the latter compromise is unpopular among both professors and policy-makers.

But each of these possibilities poses some problems. Students have said that they are already using money designated for books to pay for rapidly rising tuition costs, and some professors fear that raising the GPA requirements will result in students opting to take less rigorous courses -- and discourage them from pursuing math and hard sciences.

Below, check out WALB News' coverage of student struggles in the face of impending cuts.

Do you rely on Hope or a similar program to fund your education? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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