One issue Governor Nathan Deal mentioned in both of his speeches this week is saving the hope scholarship. He did not provide any details on changes he'd like to see, but he’s forcing lawmakers to act.
Higher tuition and growing demand for the merit based HOPE Scholarship would exhaust it’s reserve fund in 2 years.
Governor Nathan Deal wants to be the one to save the popular program and cut it by 280 million dollars.
"My 2012 budget does not authorize HOPE expenditures beyond what the lottery brings in, therefore we must act now.”
With less money lawmakers need to decide whether to change who gets the scholarship or cut the amount it pays out. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams says HOPE was created by Democrats and she wants to make sure it serves low income families.
"I’m terrified that we are moving in a direction that will increase the opportunity for those kids who can afford school, but cut back on the opportunity for those kids who truly do need hope."
The budget proposal includes a 3 percent cut to the Board of Regents. If universities decide to raise tuition to absorb those cuts, it could further strain the HOPE Scholarship.