Some Democratic lawmakers have criticized the initiatives in past years, saying they don’t make up for cuts to the Technical College System made a few years ago.
To bolster the HOPE program’s finances, lawmakers in 2011 approved a plan pushed by Deal to restructure it by increasing the grade requirements for tech students and reducing award payouts. The lower grade requirements were restored during the 2013 legislative session.
The Democratic candidates for governor, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans, took sharply different views of the proposal.
Abrams, who played a key part in the 2011 legislation, said she also co-sponsored legislation to “restore Georgia’s commitment to technical education” and that as governor she would prioritize making tech college free for every Georgian.
Evans in a statement slammed Deal for failing to “restore the money he and Rep. Abrams ripped away from hard-working students trying to claw their way into the middle class” and said the Legislature’s failure to act on her proposals to reverse the cuts drove her decision to run for governor.