Last week the Georgia Senate voted to dramatically cut the benefits associated with the HOPE Scholarship.

HOPE, Georgia’s decade-old, lottery-funded program that guaranteed essentially free tuition to Georgia high school students with a B-average who stayed in the state for college, is running out of money.

And so the legislature has decided to take away give Georgians’ hope. According to an article by Laura Diamond in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

After nearly four hours of debate, the Senate voted 35-20 along party lines to pass House Bill 326, which would cut the amount of the scholarship for all but the very brightest students and make other changes to keep the program from going broke.

Students who maintain a 3.0 GPA would still get HOPE, but it wouldn’t cover all tuition. Instead, the amount would be tied to lottery revenue and could vary annually. For this fall, students would receive 90 percent of current tuition rates, meaning the scholarship wouldn’t cover double-digit hikes expected at some campuses.

Under the changes, the scholarship would only cover all tuition for high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

Georgia college students protested the changes vigorously. Police removed several people (above) from the Senate gallery for disturbing the legislative proceedings. One student was arrested. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer