By more than a 2 to 1 margin, voters support a $100,000 family income cap to help make sure Georgia’s best students of all incomes can head to college.
Georgia voters support a $100,000 income cap for HOPE Scholarships because they know that if more of our children become college grads, we will all be better off.
Voter support for the measure is strongly supported by voters of all political backgrounds, including Republicans, Democrats and voters who call themselves independents. The Better Georgia survey shows 61 percent of registered Georgia voters support an income cap to save the HOPE Scholarship and 52 percent support it strongly.
Only 26 percent of respondents oppose the plan.
Support for the sensible plan crosses the traditional political divide. Voters who describe themselves as “very conservative” support an income cap for HOPE Scholarships at 54 percent. Among those “very conservative” voters, 46 percent say they support the proposal strongly.
The highest rate of support, at 72 percent, is among registered voters whose highest level of education is a high school degree. Sixty-five percent of those voters strongly support the measure.
It’s clear that Georgia voters understand that our state should not continue to pick up the tab for our wealthiest families if that means some of our best and brightest students from poor and middle class families will not have the ability to attend college. Georgia’s best students are not always from our richest families, so introducing an income cap will keep the doors of college open to students who otherwise couldn’t afford to go.
Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to save the HOPE Scholarship. Among the changes proposed is a cap on family income for students to be eligible for HOPE, starting at $140,000.
An income cap existed when the program began, but was quickly lifted after the lottery proved financially successful.
Sen. Buddy Carter, a Pooler Republican and chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, has falsely claimed the original intent of the scholarship program was to send all of Georgia’s students to college, regardless of their financial background.
“It’s a merit-based scholarship,” the Republican lawmaker told WABE news earlier this week. “Remember what the purpose of the HOPE scholarship was: it was to keep the best and the brightest in our state. I don’t think we should be penalizing someone for their parents’ income.”
The Better Georgia survey shows that Sen. Carter not only gets his history lesson wrong, but is also out of touch with Georgia voters.
We are wondering when have Georgia’s best and brightest students were limited only to Georgia’s wealthiest families?
Sen. Buddy Carter clearly wants to legislate for Georgia’s elite, but we think he should ask his constituents in Effingham and Chatham counties what they think of an income cap before starting his next media tour.
The Better Georgia survey of 806 Georgia voters was conducted Jan. 23-25 and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.