HOPE scholarships, FAFSA’s, test scores and other college application documents, procedures and processes are playing themselves out for thousands of college students across Georgia this fall. and Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Student debt up as Georgia’s HOPE scholarships shrank

The HOPE scholarship funds that have helped thousands of Georgians go to college has piled up more than $1 billion in surpluses while the cost of college in Georgia rose.

Between 2006 and 2015, college costs in Georgia increased 77 percent.

The state must keep $500 million in the reserves to make sure the scholarship program can pay if another economic downturn occurs.

But some are beginning to ask if the $500 million excess in the reserves ought to be spent. That could help Georgia students reduce loan debt. The average Georgia student now graduates with $27,754 in loans, one study group found.

And some students, even with HOPE scholarships which cover on average about 65 percent of the cost of tuition, drop out because they cannot afford it.

Read the full story, a collaboration between The Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Hechinger Report at MyAJC.com.

In other Education news:

Graduate Marietta, the student success center, will help students deal with challenges outside the classroom with hopes of them staying in school through graduation.

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