1. Georgia ranks 1st in merit-based financial aid for college and dead last in need-based aid.
- Result: College remains inaccessible for many low-income students and students of color.
2. Georgia leaders, under both GOP and Democratic administrations, changed HOPE in 1996, 2004, and 2007—each time making it harder to get and keep HOPE.
3. Under the strain of the unprecedented Great Recession, HOPE was again on the chopping block in 2011. The Republicans had the votes to make massive cuts to the program. Stacey Abrams led the effort to bring Democratic voices to the table and secured compromise that:
- Ensured students with a 3.0 GPA continued to receive the majority of the HOPE scholarship without having to score high on the ACT/SAT.
- Paid for remedial classes for HOPE grant recipients.
- Preserved a full-day of pre-kindergarten for 4 year-olds.
- Created a 1% low-interest loan program.
4. Abrams has been a leading champion on preserving HOPE and advocating for need-based aid, including co-sponsoring legislation to increase support for technical college students.
- As Governor, Stacey Abrams will push to make technical college free, expand pre-K, expand HOPE by providing more opportunities to qualify for HOPE, regain HOPE, increase award amounts, and adjust reserve policies to pay for these expansions.
- Additionally, she will launch a robust needs-based aid program for the first time in Georgia since 1995. While Georgia spends five times the national average on merit-based aid, the state makes no investments in need-based aid for our lowest-income students. Such investments would boost graduation rates, lower student debt, and reduce disparities in state financial assistance.