Bill would fully fund tuition for tech college HOPE recipients

A bill making its way through the state House would tie the HOPE grant award to the cost of tuition at Georgia’s technical colleges.

House Bill 22, by Rep. Stacey Evans, would restore funding for tech college students that had been cut from the state's scholarship program in 2011.

Evans, D-Smyrna, says the bill is a workforce-development tool that has gotten the support of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Evans has long been an advocate for the state's technical colleges and has previously attempted to restore full tuition funding for the HOPE grant. Her efforts two year ago resulted in a compromise that established the Zell Miller Grant scholar designation to pay the full tuition for the highest-achieving tech college students.

This latest proposal would eliminate the Zell Miller Grant distinction and pay full tuition for all HOPE tech college recipients.

The plan is estimated to cost between $21 and $23 million, which Evans says can be funded through the lottery’s unrestricted reserves.

Evans’ bill does not affect the HOPE scholarship, which serves students in the University System of Georgia and also fell under tighter restrictions as part of a 2011 restructuring.

Committee debate is set for Thursday on the bill.