Monday, February 21, 2005

Here comes the shaft!

It's one thing to get the shaft from Tech. It's another for Tech to get the shaft:

College students working toward longer-than-usual degree programs could lose HOPE scholarship eligibility at the end of their studies under a bill scheduled for a Tuesday vote in the Georgia House.
The bill would limit HOPE eligibility to 127 semester hours, starting with next fall's freshmen. . . .
Hardest hit would be Georgia Tech, where 13 undergraduate engineering degrees require more than 127 semester hours of study. Students would be allowed one semester extra past hitting the 127-hour mark, giving them one term to finish up a degree on the scholarship. After that, they'd have to pay for their courses.
The sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Bill Hembree of Douglasville, said it's an effort to make the scholarship fair, not to throw students off the HOPE rolls.
"We shouldn't be determining that one program is worth more than another," he said. . . .

One program is worth more than another, Hembree.

Hembree and Nickel said they didn't know how much the hour limit would save, and that they saw the bill as a fairness measure, not a cut.
It's an interpretation that Democrats dismiss. They say the HOPE bill is an unnecessary cut to the popular program, and that longer-term programs should be spared because many of them are in high-need areas, including pharmacy and nursing.
"There's absolutely no reason to do this other than to hurt students and limit their chances to get a degree," said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin. "It won't save much money, and it'll hurt a lot of students."

The upshot? Republicans are slashing HOPE one cut at a time. This is simply the most recent one.