GPA requirements drop for HOPE Grant

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News 12 First at Five / Friday, March 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- "It's like you're doing the bare minimum, I still want to strive for that 3.0," said Tishia Jackson, a student at Augusta Technical College.

It is a goal that she has always reached for.

She falls within the 2.0 GPA to 3.0 GPA range and that means she doesn't qualify for the hope grant.

"If you're worried about bills, then if you can't afford to pay for school, you're trying to work, and I like I said, your grades start to slip," Jackson said.

Georgia Bill 372 passed through the Georgia House of Representatives Thursday, making it one step closer for students like Tishia Jackson from getting the help she needs.

The requirement of a 3.0 GPA would be lowered to a 2.0 GPA, giving Georgia students $5 to $8 million more a year in financial aid.

"It just lets you be able to have that extra stress off of you, not being able to worry about where am I gonna have the money to pay for the tuition or the books," Jackson said.

The Augusta Technical Financial Aid Office wants to help students keep the bar high.

"We want to be the best of the best, so we still think 3.0 is important," said Beverly Hines, director of Financial Aid at Augusta Technical College.

In 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill raising the GPA requirement to 3.0, also cutting the full coverage of expenses to a percentage of expenses.

That bill would not cover any textbooks or other fees.

But with the adjustment to the GPA requirement, more students will be expected back in technical colleges.

"For them to turn around and give them the ability to not have to a 3.0 GPA any longer, but to have a 2.0 is giving them an opportunity," Hines said.

A chance more Georgia students may soon get.

"Georgia's known for HOPE, so I would just like to see it in place and them being able to open it back up wherever it was when we started to really be that driving force that gave everybody a chance to get an education," Hines said.

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