In 2011, mere months after he was elected, Gov. Deal announced he was giving “a gift to future generations of Georgia’s outstanding students”: he was about to slash the budget for the HOPE scholarship just as many low-income families needed help the most.
Since those cuts, the number of HOPE recipients has fallen from 256,000 students in 2010-11 to fewer than 160,000 students this year. In addition, while the scholarship used to cover the full cost of tuition and books, HOPE will now only cover about 60 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for the typical Georgia student.
In a time when we need to be investing in our students the most, Governor Deal has left thousands of Georgia’s students out in the cold to fend for themselves.
And it isn’t even for lack of money. Despite promises to allocate 35 percent of their revenue to education, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has never come close to allocating even 30 percent of revenues to education, and last year’s portion was just 25.5 percent. Yet somehow they can still find enough money to pay their executives six-figure bonuses every year on top of six-figure salaries.
With the cost of a college education on the rise here in Georgia, our students can’t afford to keep Gov. Deal and his misplaced priorities in office for four more years.