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State House votes to lower minimum GPA back to 2.0; Senate, Deal likely on board

Lanier Tech likely to benefit from HOPE change

POSTED: March 10, 2013 12:14 a.m.

Lawmakers in the Georgia House of Representatives voted Thursday to lower the grade-point average requirement for students seeking state HOPE grants

With the change lowering the minimum GPA back to a 2.0, Lanier Technical College in Oakwood expects to see more students enrolling in the future.

“The changes to HOPE GPA are very positive for our community, our region and our state,” said Dave Parrish, Lanier Tech director of marketing and public relations.

Two years ago, House members raised the GPA for the HOPE grants to 3.0 when the program’s revenue was decreasing. As a result, Georgia technical colleges started seeing a decline in enrollment.

One theory is that it was the GPA was too high. Others say it was because residents of Georgia were not buying as many lottery tickets. Both turned out to be the case.

The grant is supported entirely by revenue of the Georgia Lottery, and is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission.

According to The Associated Press, many supporters of the grant say the increase in Georgia lottery revenues have allowed for the change back to the 2.0 GPA qualification. That will allow several thousand students to continue the benefits at an estimated cost of $5 million to $8 million annually.

“The HOPE grants will allow many people to find their way to job skills, training and higher education that will help to productive and help our economy grow and help improve the economy of Georgia,” Parrish said.

The bill — which cleared the House on Crossover Day, the deadline to pass one chamber to become law — now moves to the Senate. It likely will have an easy ride because it has bipartisan support there, and from Gov. Nathan Deal.

The HOPE grant, created in 1993 under Gov. Zell Miller’s administration, provides scholarship and grant money for students in need of financial assistance in degree, diploma and certified programs with Georgia public and private colleges and universities, including public technical colleges.

“This is designed to help the people of our state, many of whom are returning back to school to get the job skills they need during these tough economic times,” said Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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