Saturday, April 16, 2011

Outrage over HOPE Grant Changes

Now, recently, I've had some news that's both angered and concerned me. Governor Nathan Deal signed something not too long ago that will bring changes to the Georgia HOPE Scholarship and Grant. The Grant will now pay only about 90% of tuition and will not pay any mandatory fees or books.

I am just so outraged by this decision. The books, and maybe the fees, are okay to cut out, but some people (my family included) likely can't afford to pay 10% of tuition! What annoys me is how they're bragging about how they're "saving the program" by making cuts. In my opinion, they might as well cut the whole program altogether. I don't think my family or I can afford to pay even 10% of tuition, so what does it matter if it still covers 90%? I mean, really!?

I'm just disgusted by that decision. What makes it worse is that part of the reason that was probably done is because the officials are so hung up on making the Grant based on academic achievement only. I understand why they want to have it that way, and normally, I would support that, but when a government's got a bad budget, I think it would be a better use of money and more of a relief for poor families and college students to use the money to help pay for the education of people who don't have high incomes. I'm sorry, but I just don't think that a government needs to pay for a rich person's education - especially not when the state has an insufficient budget. But no, these dang government officials HAVE to make the Grant "academic only," and thus, they have no money to pay 100% tuition, and so those people who really can't afford to go to college can't pay the 10%.

As I said, I'm just furious about this. I understand that the state doesn't have an unlimited amount of money, but as I said before, a lot more money could be pumped into the system by setting an income cap. I'm very well aware that a lot of people are against that idea, but to truly help those who can't afford college, I really strongly wish everyone would reconsider.

And what about student loans? I don't have a credit rating, and I don't know about anyone else's rating that could possibly co-sign for me. Besides, I don't like the idea of loans anyway - especially since I don't have the cash upfront anyway or a decent credit rating. A loan just seems like an overwhelming obligation for me at this point in time. My current philosophy is to either pay the bill in full upfront or get a scholarship that can do that. And since I probably can't do either at this point in time, well...come fall 2011, I'm not sure if I'll be able to go to college. I really don't know what I'm going to do.

Update for 2011

Hey, everyone, it's Joe again. It's been over a year since I've blogged here. Wow. Hard to believe it's been that long. Anyway, I guess I'll post an update on how things are going in my life.

Since my last post here, I finally applied to Griffin Technical College in April 2010 (now better known as Southern Crescent Technical College). I had a bit of a problem at first, as I mailed in my high school transcript with my application, but for some reason, the college didn't get it. How that happened I'll never know. I finally decided to hand in another copy of my transcript in person. A few months pass, and I don't hear from the college. I decide that soon I'll go reapply at the college and hand in all the paperwork in person at the same time. Maybe things were all mixed up because of the way I handled things. Finally, in September, I got an acceptance letter, so I didn't need to reapply after all. In the remaining few months of the year, I concentrated on getting financial aid (the Georgia HOPE Grant) and registering for classes. And as of now, I am a student at SCTC. I don't know for how long, though. I'll get into that in another blog post in just a minute.

Another bit of news is that last year, my grandmother's health went downhill, and she spent her last few months in the hospital. In May, things were not looking good for her, so we went to Knoxville, Tennessee for the first time in almost six years to visit her. Several weeks pass, and she goes back and forth from the hospital and the nursing home. Then, in July, her health took a turn for the worse, and my mom and I made another trip to Knoxville. Sadly, she died, and a funeral was held for her shortly after.

Since then, we've made multiple trips to her house in Knoxville to try to clean out her house to get it ready to sell and to get any personal things we wanted out of it. As of now, the house has been on the market for almost two months now, and a few people have looked at it, but as far as I know, nobody has made an offer yet.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that my grandmother had a will in which she left all her property to my mom and uncle in the event that she passed. That, of course, included her car. After going through the probate court process, my mom and I went to the tag office and transferred ownership of the car to me. So since last November, I've been the proud owner of a light blue 1989 Toyota Camry! It sure is a nice car in my opinion. It needs a little bit of work, but it's still functional, and any car is better than no car as far as I'm concerned.

Now, very recently, I've taken an interest in The 7th Guest computer game, Beavis and Butt-head, and old-school computers and computer software - like old Packard Bell computers and operating systems like Windows 95. Ah yes. The good old days.

That's about it for now.