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.
Craig McDaniel, president of Georgia Northwestern Technical College, said there was a notable drop in enrollment back when
the GPA requirements were upped to a 3.0 almost two years ago.
“We saw a substantial drop,” McDaniel said. “I think our total tuition went down about 12 percent as I recall.”
He said the HOPE changes to the technical college system statewide had an impact of $109 million, and at GNTC that 12 percent drop brought tuition dollars down by $2 million.
“We had students who lost their HOPE grant and left school and didn’t stay and graduate,” he said. “Now, we’re trying to look at the number of students that could be impacted by this change.”
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.
Staff Writer Lauren Jones contributed to this report.