As of Thursday, February 7, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Gov. Nathan Deal returns to his office after presenting his budget plan to the House Appropriations Committee, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in Atlanta.
LAWRENCEVILLE — The president of Gwinnett Technical College is excited about the Governor’s recent proposal to lower students’ grade requirements to qualify for HOPE grants at the state’s technical schools.
“The Governor’s proposal is great news for our students,” said Sharon Bartels, Gwinnett Tech’s president. “Financial aid and the HOPE Grant play a vital role in the ability of so many of our students to stay in college, complete their education and then successfully enter the workforce.”
Added Bartels: “As the Governor has identified, our state’s and our community’s economic development hinges on having an educated, skilled workforce. Increasing the likelihood of a student’s ability to stay in college and complete their training benefits us all.”
The Republican governor was surrounded by legislators from both parties when he said Thursday that the threshold will be returned to a 2.0 grade point average. Lawmakers previously raised it to a 3.0 amid sagging lottery revenue projections, but Deal says an uptick in lottery proceeds allows for the flexibility.
Lower eligibility will increase HOPE spending by $5 million to $8 million annually, Deal said, and will benefit several thousand students. Enrollment in two-year technical programs has dropped since lawmakers raised the academic requirements.
The change will require a new act of the legislature, but officials at the Capitol say that is now a formality.