LydiaZermuehlen, Editorials Editor
As acceptances from colleges start to roll in, every senior in Georgia has the same question to contemplate: Should I stay in-state? The state of Georgia makes this a difficult question to answer because they have sweetened the pot with the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships.
But, are the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarships a good enough reason to stay? Since I will personally apply for the Zell Miller Scholarship, I wanted to do some more digging.
For years, and I specifically mean from freshman year to junior year, I have heard that the Zell Miller Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship and that the HOPE covers 80 percent of tuition. Apparently times have changed, because now, for some schools, Zell doesn’t even cover half of tuition. In fact, both scholarships now apply at an hourly rate, which means both scholarships only covers a certain amount for how many classes you take. Three credit hours are equal to taking one full course, and the max amount of hours these scholarships cover is fifteen hours, or five classes per semester. Still, when I say “cover” I do not mean “completely cover,” because both scholarships only give so much now.
If you are a senior in Georgia and are dreaming of starting next fall at the University of Georgia (UGA), make sure you double check your finances, cause neither Zell nor HOPE cover as much as you thought. If you apply for the Zell Miller Scholarship and you are taking five classes, you will only receive $4,776. Since in-state tuition is $11,622, you still have to pay $6,846, not to mention room and board, books, and the meal plan on top of that. And UGA is a public school, so the numbers are even worse for private schools.
The award amounts that the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships give for each school is on the GAfutures website. Check the numbers and compare them to other scholarships from out-of-state schools. Your research now can save you from being thousands of dollars in debt in the future. Don’t fall for the prestige of the college or for the information you’ve heard about the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships from the past.