Georgia democrats want a means test for HOPE

I’ve written previously about the necessary cuts to HOPE scholarships in Georgia. I thought that the Governor’s original money-saving proposal relied too heavily on cuts to Pre-K (where school days would be trimmed), but Gov. Deal has backed off on that. I also thought that we should cut the merit-based HOPE amounts for wealthier families rather than cut across-the-board cut as appears imminent for any students who do not have a 3.7 GPA in high school, do not have at least a 1200 on the SAT, and do not maintain at least a 3.5 in college.

Georgia democrats have little power these days, but state senator Jason Carter (D-Decatur) has proposed a plan that would preserve full HOPE grants for all students from families with annual incomes of less than $140,000/year. And, through the wonders of open records and technology, here’s a spreadsheet with data for each county in the state detailing the number of HOPE recipients who would be covered — or not — by the Democratic plan.

About 93% of HOPE scholars from Chatham County (Savannah) are from families that make less than $140,000. As Jim Galloway with the AJC notes on his blog this afternoon, the Democratic plan would seem to benefit rural Georgia the most. Many small counties don’t have a single HOPE scholar from a family that makes $140,000/year, while counties in suburban Atlanta have a relatively high % of them, topping out in Fayette County, where 23.7% of current HOPE scholars are from families making more than $140,000/year.

I doubt that Republicans in the Georgia legislature will embrace this means test, but it definitely give legislators of both parties — especially from rural counties that have the most to lose — something to think about.

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