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Monday, June 18, 2012 - 6:00am

HOPE Cuts Hit Trucking Training

The state's overhaul of the HOPE scholarship has hurt enrollment in the Technical College System of Georgia's trucking program.

Enrollment in the program dropped by 39 percent after the cost to earn the trucking program certificate more than doubled this past fall. The decline comes amid a state and national driver shortage.

The situation could worsen next year. Lawmakers didn't renew $4.5 million to subsidize the program and lower student costs for the upcoming fiscal year.

Nearly all participants in the commercial trucking program receive HOPE, and students cited cost and the length of the program for why they decided not to enroll or dropped out.

College officials and trucking managers said program graduates are essential to securing Georgia's position as a logistics hub in the region.

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