With May quickly approaching and thousands of the nation's youth rallying off to higher institutes of learning, one pressing question arises: How will I pay for college?
For many college-bound Georgians, this question was answered by the HOPE, Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally, Scholarship. However, due to recent economic woes, Gov. Nathan Deal has taken measures to preserve HOPE's funds.
In 2011, requirements for the HOPE Scholarship rose. In order to receive the Zell Miller scholarship, which covers 100 percent of tuition, students must have a GPA of 3.7 or higher AND an SAT math/reading score of 1200 (or an ACT score of 26).
Georgia residents who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher will receive 90 percent of tuition. However, if tuition goes up, HOPE coverage will go down.
Students attending private institutions will feel HOPE cutes even more. In Deal's 2011 HOPE bill, students attending private colleges or universities who have higher GPAs will receive $4,000 towards tuition, while students with lower GPAs will only receive $3,600.
So, what does that mean for and plans to attend Mercer University?
After the HOPE Scholarship, Ashley still faces nearly $400,000 worth of fees.
As the HOPE Scholarships funds continue to dwindle, parents of upcoming college students are left wondering whether their chid will be one of the first to go, to college, without HOPE.
Although there is speculation HOPE Scholarship funds will be depleted by 2013, those rumors are, at this point, only speculation.