Preserving the HOPE scholarship was the top discussion at the Student Advisory Council meeting this past weekend in Atlanta.
The Student Advisory Council meets three times a year and consists of each Student Government Association President in the University System of Georgia.
The presidents divided into committees where they discussed how HOPE affects students and what would happen if HOPE was gone. The committees came up with 26 ideas to solve the problem of losing HOPE.
One option, they decided, was to raise the standard requirements for HOPE, Demario Jones, SGA President said.
Another option was to offset the HOPE scholarship and the Pell Grant. If a student’s full tuition by HOPE, then he or she would receive less from the Pell Grant.
A third option was getting rid of the “second chance HOPE.” Currently, if a student loses HOPE, then there is an option to bring the GPA back up to eligibility level and start receiving HOPE again.
A different option that was discussed was to decrease the number of hours HOPE would cover, Jones said.
After the discussions in Atlanta, Jones came back to Valdosta ready to discuss HOPE options with the VSU student body.
“I felt like I would be unfair to have voted for or against any of the proposals that were brought before the SAC this weekend without consulting the student body of VSU,” Jones said. “Therefore, I proposed to the Senate of SGA a forum, concerning the HOPE Scholarship.”
This forum will include a panel of campus administrators which will make initial remarks and then will open the meeting for discussion with students.
The proposed date for the forum is Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. and the location has not yet been determined, but it is important for all students to attend, Jones said.
“It is important for every student to attend this forum because every voice is important,” Jones said.
Jones also stressed the importance of students across the USG having a unified voice to heard by the state legislators if they have disagreements with decisions that are being made about HOPE.
“If we count every student of the University System of Georgia and put them all in one county it would be equivalent to the fifth largest county in Georgia,” Jones said. “With that being said, our voices will be heard by the state legislature, but it must be a sound and comprehensive voice.”