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University System Statement on HOPE Proposals

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Atlanta — February 22, 2011

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced proposed changes to save Georgia’s popular HOPE program. The following is a statement by Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. on these proposals.

In his January “State of the State” address, Gov. Nathan Deal said, “If we are to save HOPE we must make programmatic changes during this legislative session. …We must act now to maintain the Georgia jewel known as HOPE.”

The proposed changes have been designed with the aim of fulfilling the original educational intent of the program. This intent was to provide access to postsecondary education for all Georgians while raising the bar of academic standards and expectations of students. Ultimately, the HOPE program was intended to help keep the best and brightest students in Georgia to complete their education and to remain as contributing members of this state.

The plan to maintain the full tuition HOPE scholarship for University System of Georgia students earning a 3.7 high school GPA, in combination with a minimum SAT or ACT score, and requiring a 3.5 GPA in college, builds upon the work of the Board of Regents and of the Alliance of Education Agency Heads to increase academic rigor. This recommendation will help to keep Georgia’s best and brightest in the state.

Students earning the traditional 3.0 GPA would still, under the proposals, receive significant tuition support through HOPE.

The proposal to fund the need-based component first adopted in 2008 is very significant and reflects a strong commitment to maintain access to college for an important group of students. This proposal, along with the intent to continue the current practice in which a student can receive both HOPE and PELL, will help students dealing with financial pressures that could otherwise force them to abandon college goals.

In recent weeks, HOPE has generated intense public discussion. Our students have participated and it is gratifying to see that University System of Georgia students were heard and some of their ideas have been incorporated in these final recommendations.

I commend Gov. Deal, the Lt. Gov, the Speaker, and the members of the General Assembly for the seriousness with which the HOPE program has been discussed and the overall fairness of the changes recommended. All have been asked to sacrifice some in order that HOPE endures for all.

The University System looks forward to working with the Governor and members of the General Assembly in accomplishing their goal of saving HOPE for future generations of Georgians.

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