No, that’s not the lyrics to a new Toby Keith song. That I’m aware of, anyway.
A House committee heard today that the Hope Scholarship fund will be short about a quarter of a billion dollars this year, and over three hundred million for the 2012 fiscal year. Thus summed up House Higher Education Committee Chair Len Walker (R-Loganville), “This is not a train wreck about to happen. The train wreck has happened.”
The AJC sums up a variety of reasons that Hope found itself in this trouble, including ever expanding eligibility and students showing up to college unprepared and thus unable to meet Hope’s standards (an amazing 54%).
The fact not directly mentioned in the AJC article, however, is the ever increasing budgets of Georgia’s public colleges. Most cuts passed along by the legislature proportional to other budget areas have been compensated for by ever increasing tuition rates. An attempt to rein in University system spending last year by the legislature met with a revolt of angry 4-H families.
My guess is, today’s committee meeting, little noticed within the home stretch of primary runoffs, will have large echos in both November and next January. This will not be just a general election issue, but potentially the start of a major battle over spending and tuition within the University System of Georgia.