The HOPE scholarship is expected to stay the same for the next school year, but hope may be fading for students after that. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 16, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Jan. 16, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There could be more bad news for parents hoping for help from the HOPE scholarship.
With tuition and enrollment continuing to increase, the lottery-funded program may be in trouble in the next few years.
The HOPE scholarship is expected to stay the same for the next school year, but hope may be fading for students after that.
Anna Shumaker is a single mother with two 10th graders at two different schools.
"It's crazy ... it's running here and running there," she said.
Both her children plan on going to college.
"They have always known that it is an expectation for them to have higher education after high school," Anna said.
Jason Shumaker has plans for school, then the Navy. Allison Shumaker's plans are a little more secretive.
"I want to work in the government, but if I get any more specific I'll probably have to kill you," laughed Allison.
Allison may be joking, but she's not joking about more future cuts to the Georgia HOPE scholarship.
"It's really scary. I think it's terrifying actually because so much depends on the scholarship," Allison said.
After an overhaul last year, HOPE now covers 80 to 90 percent of tuition for students who have a 3.0 GPA. Program leaders say by fall 2014, they will need more money to keep it going.
"All it's doing is keeping kids out of college or keeping them in debt. It's disheartening is what it is," Jason said.
Anna says HOPE will pay even less by the time her children graduate.
"50 percent whenever my children graduate ... 50 percent. This is scary, I'm not sure where the other 50 percent is supposed to come from," Anna said. "Not only will I have to take on other jobs, but they'll have to take on work as well."
Anna says she's doing what she can to help her kids' futures, including buying a lottery ticket every now and then.
"You can't win if you don't play and definitely my children will not win if you don't play."
After changes last year, about 80,000 fewer students qualified for HOPE this year. It's the first time since the program began in 1993 where fewer students have received the HOPE scholarship than the year before.
Right now, they're looking at a $107million hole, starting in fall 2014.