HOPE grant and scholarship update

Open letter to the campus community regarding the changes in HOPE

Direct costs per semester


Frequently Asked Questions for TCSG Students – visit www.tcsgHOPEinfo.com

Why was the HOPE Program changed?
Over the years, tens of thousands of students throughout Georgia have been able to enroll in the state's technical colleges and receive an exceptional technical education through the HOPE Program. The HOPE Grant, in particular, has helped to train many Georgians who attended the 26 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia and have become a vital part of Georgia's world-class, 21st Century workforce.

Today, though, the HOPE Program resources have been strained by both its success and the impact of the nation's economic downturn.

Difficult decisions were made for the right reasons in order to keep the HOPE Program solvent and to ensure that future generations of Georgians will be able to share in the many education opportunities afforded by the HOPE Grant and Scholarship.

Under the leadership of Governor Deal and the General Assembly, a bill was passed that modifies the HOPE Program and guarantees its continued success. As a result, the Georgia HOPE Grant and Scholarship program remains one of the best state college financial aid programs in the country.

Additionally, the tuition for a full year at a TCSG college remains among the lowest in the state and the southeast. TCSG annual tuition for a standard program averaged $2,700 in 2010, not including books and fees.

When do the changes to the HOPE Program take effect?
The changes to the HOPE Program take effect for Fall Semester 2011. Summer term 2011 is not affected.

What are the main changes to the HOPE Program?
While there are changes specific to each aspect of the HOPE Program – the Grant, the Scholarship and so forth, these are some of the key changes to the program as a whole. For more details, review the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Scholarship sections of www.tcsghopeinfo.com.

Beginning Fall Semester 2011:

  • The HOPE Grant and Scholarship will pay for 90 percent of tuition, calculated on standard TCSG tuition costs for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Any tuition increase for the 2011-2012 school year will not be covered.
  • Once enrolled, students on the HOPE Grant must earn and maintain a 3.0 GPA to retain benefits. The first checkpoint will be at 30 semester hours.
  • For current TCSG students on the HOPE Grant, the 3.0 GPA requirement does not take effect until the end of Fall Semester 2011. After grades have been posted, only students who reached a 30 or 60 semester hour checkpoint during Fall Semester 2011 will be checked and required to meet a 3.0 GPA. All other HOPE Grant eligible students will not be checked until they their next semester hour checkpoint.
  • The HOPE Scholarship will not pay for learning support classes.
  • The Zell Miller Scholarship is established, paying 100 percent tuition for students graduating from high school with a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 SAT score, combined, from the reading and math portions.
  • Books and mandatory fees will not be covered.
  • Students with a bachelor's degree are not eligible for HOPE benefits.
  • The HOPE Grant and Scholarship will be adjusted annually, based on lottery revenue.

What college expenses does the HOPE cover?
For 2011, the HOPE Grant and Scholarship will cover 90 percent of last year's (2010-2011) standard TCSG tuition cost. This equates to $60.75 per credit hour, up to 15 hours. Any tuition increase for the 2011-2012 school year will not be covered. The HOPE Program will no longer pay for books or fees.

I'm in technical college now on the HOPE Grant, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. What about me?
With 3.0 GPA at the HOPE Grant checkpoint, you'll retain your benefits. Starting Fall 2011, the HOPE Grant and Scholarship will pay 90 percent of standard TCSG tuition, calculated on 2010-2011 tuition. That's about $60.75 per credit hour.

Note that for current TCSG students on the Grant, the 3.0 GPA requirement does not take effect until the end of Fall Semester 2011. After grades have been posted, only students who reached a 30 or 60 semester hour checkpoint during Fall Semester 2011 will be checked and required to meet the 3.0 GPA. All other Grant-eligible students will not be checked until they reach their next semester hour checkpoint. Students who passed the 30 hour checkpoint prior to Fall Semester 2011 will continue on the Grant, provided they are making satisfactory academic progress, until they reach the 60 semester hour checkpoint.

If you lose the HOPE Grant at the 30 hour checkpoint, you can regain it one time, at the 60 hour checkpoint. HOPE hours are capped at 63 semester hours for the Grant.

You can also use HOPE Grant benefits for learning support courses, and they won't count in the Grant GPA and checkpoint calculations. The class hours do count toward the HOPE Grant hours cap.

I'm in technical college now on the HOPE Grant, but my GPA is less than 3.0. What about me?
For current TCSG students on the HOPE Grant, the 3.0 GPA requirement does not take effect until the end of Fall Semester 2011. After grades have been posted, only students who reached a 30 or 60 semester hour checkpoint during Fall Semester 2011 will be checked and required to meet the 3.0 GPA. All other Grant-eligible students will not be checked until they reach their next semester hour checkpoint. Students who passed the 30 hour checkpoint prior to Fall Semester 2011 will continue on the Grant, provided they are making satisfactory academic progress, until they reach the 60 semester hour checkpoint.

If you lose the HOPE Grant at the 30 hour checkpoint, you can regain it one time, at the 60 hour checkpoint. HOPE hours are capped at 63 semester hours for the Grant.

You can also use HOPE Grant benefits for learning support courses, and they won't count in the Grant GPA and checkpoint calculations. The class hours do count toward the HOPE Grant hours cap.

I'm in technical college now on the HOPE Scholarship, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. What about me?
With a 3.0 GPA at a HOPE Scholarship checkpoint, you'll retain your benefits. Starting Fall 2011, the HOPE Grant and Scholarship will pay 90 percent of standard TCSG tuition, calculated on 2010-2011 tuition. That's about $60.75 per credit hour. At the end of Fall Semester 2011, grades will be checked at 30, 60 and 90 semester hours, as applicable.

If you lose the HOPE Scholarship, you'll have one chance to regain benefits at the next checkpoint. Any previous gains or losses prior to Fall Semester 2011 do not apply.

If you received the HOPE Scholarship prior to Summer Quarter 2011, you'll remain eligible through June 30, 2015, regardless of when you graduated from high school.

HOPE hours are capped at 127 semester hours for the Scholarship.

What if I lose the HOPE Scholarship?
If you lose the HOPE Scholarship, you'll have one chance to regain benefits at the next checkpoint. Grades will be checked at 30, 60 and 90 semester hours, as applicable. Any previous gains or losses prior to Fall Semester 2011 do not apply.

If you need extra assistance to help you reach and keep a 3.0 GPA, then take advantage of the free group and one-on-one tutoring that's available at every TCSG college.

If you lose HOPE benefits, be sure to talk with a Financial Aid representative at your TCSG college to investigate other types of aid you may be eligible for.

What if I lose the Hope Grant?
If you lose the HOPE Grant, you'll have one chance to regain benefits at the next checkpoint.

After Fall Semester 2011, grades will be checked for students who completed 30 or 60 semester hours during the fall term. Current TCSG students on the Grant who passed the 30 hour checkpoint prior to Fall Semester 2011 will continue on the Grant, provided they are making satisfactory academic progress, until they reach the 60 semester hour checkpoint.

You can also use HOPE Grant benefits for learning support courses, and they won't count in the Grant GPA and checkpoint calculations. The class hours do count toward the HOPE Grant hours cap. If you need extra assistance to help you reach and keep a 3.0 GPA, then take advantage of the free group and one-on-one tutoring that's available at every TCSG college.

If you lose your HOPE benefits, be sure to talk with a Financial Aid representative at your TCSG college to investigate other types of aid you may be eligible for.

How many college credit hours will the HOPE Grant cover?
The HOPE Grant will pay for a maximum of 63 semester hours (95 quarter hours) regardless of program length. Beginning with Fall Semester 2011, any dual enrollment credit hours or learning support coursework taken at a TCSG college will not count toward the HOPE cap rules for the Grant.

How many college credit hours will the HOPE Scholarship cover?
The HOPE Scholarship will pay for a maximum of 127 semester hours (190 quarter hours), regardless of program length. Beginning with the Fall Semester 2011, any dual enrollment credit hours taken at a TCSG college will not count toward the HOPE cap rules for the Scholarship.

I'm an older Georgian who needs to go to college. Am I eligible for HOPE?
Yes, you can enroll at a Georgia technical college on the HOPE Grant at any age to pursue a diploma or certificate, regardless of your high school GPA. If you were not a Georgia resident when you graduated from high school, you'll need to meet the Georgia residency requirement for 24 months prior to enrollment. Active duty service members, their spouses and dependent children are Georgia residents for HOPE purposes if stationed in Georgia or list Georgia as their residence of record.

You can enroll on the HOPE Scholarship to pursue an associate degree if you graduated from an eligible Georgia high school with a 3.0 GPA within the last seven years.

Once enrolled, retain benefits by earning and maintaining a 3.0 GPA, necessary for both HOPE options. Grades will be checked at 30, 60 and 90 semester hours, as applicable. If you lose the HOPE, you'll have one chance to regain benefits at the next checkpoint.

HOPE hours are capped at 63 semester hours for the Grant and at 127 semester hours for the Scholarship. Use HOPE Grant benefits for learning support courses, and they won't count in the Grant GPA and checkpoint calculations. The class hours do count toward the HOPE Grant hours cap.

I didn't go to high school in Georgia. Can I use the HOPE Grant?
Students who were not Georgia residents at the time of graduation from high school or home study must meet Georgia residency requirements for 24 months prior to the first day of college classes for which the HOPE Grant is sought. Currently enrolled students who do not meet this requirement will remain eligible as long as they do not have a break in enrollment.

Active duty service members, their spouses and dependent children are Georgia residents for HOPE purposes if stationed in Georgia or list Georgia as their residence of record.

How long after I graduate from high school am I eligible for HOPE benefits?
You become ineligible for the HOPE Scholarship seven academic years after your high school graduation. First time HOPE Scholarship recipients in Summer Quarter 2011 or later are bound by the seven-year rule. Active duty military does not count against the seven-year period. If you received the HOPE Scholarship prior to Summer Quarter 2011, you will remain eligible through June 30, 2015 regardless of high school graduation date.

There are no time restrictions for the HOPE Grant.

I already have a bachelor's degree. Can I use the HOPE to go back to college?
Students who have already earned a bachelor's degree are not eligible for HOPE benefits. However, be sure to talk with a Financial Aid representative at your technical college to investigate other types of aid you may be eligible for. Additionally, the tuition for a full year at a TCSG college remains among the lowest in the state and the southeast. TCSG annual tuition for a standard program averaged $2,700 in 2010, not including books and fees.

Will the HOPE Program cover learning support courses?
Yes, learning support coursework will continue to be covered by the HOPE Grant which, starting Fall 2011, will pay 90 percent of standard TCSG tuition, calculated on 2010-2011 tuition. These hours are excluded from the GPA and checkpoint calculation. The class hours do count toward the HOPE Grant hours cap. Learning support coursework is not covered by the HOPE Scholarship.

Whenever you need extra assistance with your courses, take advantage of the free group and one-on-one tutoring that's available at Atlanta Technical College.

Will the HOPE Program cover the cost of GED preparation and testing?
No, however, a $500 HOPE voucher will be issued to the student upon earning a GED. The voucher can help cover the cost of TCSG enrollment, including books and fees, and is valid from 24 months from the date of issuance.

I earned a GED. Am I eligible for the HOPE Grant?
Yes, and once enrolled at a TCSG college, all HOPE Grant guidelines apply. You must meet the Georgia residency requirement for 12 months immediately prior to the first day of the term for which the Grant is sought. If you did not earn your GED in Georgia, then you must meet residency requirements for 24 months immediately prior to the first day of the term for which the Grant is sought.

How will veterans be impacted by changes to HOPE?
Veterans' educational benefits, including VA assistance, are not impacted by changes to the HOPE Program. Also, active duty service members, their spouses and dependent children are Georgia residents for HOPE purposes if stationed in Georgia or list Georgia as their residence of record

How will WIA recipients be impacted by the changes to HOPE?
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a form of financial aid available to serve disadvantaged adults and dislocated adult workers. In accordance with WIA guidelines, HOPE and Pell funds must be used first to pay tuition and fees before WIA funds will be used. WIA also pays for books and supplies for students who qualify as well as providing assistance with daily travel and childcare.

If I receive a Pell Grant, am I still eligible for HOPE funds?
Yes, you may be eligible for both types of aid. Further, many students will use their Pell Grant funds to pay for the tuition, books and fees not covered by the HOPE Program.