Thursday, February 24, 2005

Republicans slash HOPE.

The good news? Democrats voted against the cuts. The bad news? The cuts still passed:

The Georgia House voted mainly along partisan lines Tuesday to limit the number of semester hours paid for by the HOPE Scholarship.
The scholarship would be limited to 127 semester hours, a number Republicans said was calculated to allow students to earn a bachelor's degree. Current law allows a student to continue to receive HOPE money as long as he or she is working toward an associate's or bachelor's degree and maintains a B average.
Rep. Bill Hembree, R-Douglasville, said the measure would ensure fairness, because some students currently receive more HOPE money for majors that require more hours to complete. And he said it would stop universities from combining graduate-level courses in what are purportedly undergraduate degrees.
"All HOPE scholars should be equal," Hembree said. "HOPE was never intended to pay for master's degrees or doctoral degrees."

Bullshit! HOPE scholars are equal. This bill renders them unequal by privileging some undergraduate degrees above others.

. . . . [T]he bill unnecessarily hurts a small number of students in specialized degree programs, said Rep. DuBose Porter, D-Dublin.
Porter, who was one of Gov. Zell Miller's floor leaders when the HOPE Scholarship was created in 1993, said combined programs such as the pharmacy and forestry degrees at the University of Georgia were included in the program from its beginning. . . .
"These are not people who are abusing the system," Porter said. "This is not abuse when you are entering a harder career track and it requires more hours than others."
Porter handed out a list of 79 undergraduate degree programs at state colleges and universities that require more than 127 hours, including 13 engineering degrees at Georgia Tech that require up to 134 hours. A provision of the bill would allow most of these students to finish their degrees, as it allows one additional scholarship semester after the 127-hour limit is reached. . . .
Rep. Terry Coleman, D-Eastman, noted that many students who transfer from a two-year college wind up requiring more hours to complete their degree because of incompatible requirements or simple administrative mistakes.
"If you vote for this bill, you're going to get kicked around at home," he warned.