WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Big changes are coming to Georgia's HOPE grant, which is a scholarship program that provides financial aid to technical college students. This new change will help thousands of Middle Georgia students pay for school.
College isn't cheap and that's why many students at Middle Georgia Technical College rely on financial aid.
"For me its crucial because I don't make too much. My parents can't help me out as much as they'd like to," MGTC student Cameron Kuhn said.
Kuhn was a HOPE grant scholar until his grades dropped. He lost his funding for this semester.
"I had to pay for classes myself," he said. "Was it hard? Did it put a strain on you?" 41NBC asked. "A little bit. I had to get a job and start pulling my own weight around."
The HOPE grant used to pay for everything, like tuition, fees, and books. But since Fall 2011, the grant only pay for 81% of tuition costs and students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
"When the HOPE changes were made previously, we saw a lot of students drop out because of their inability to afford classes financially without the assistance of the HOPE grant," MGTC spokeswoman Janet Kelly said.
But now there is hope for those students. A bill recently passed by state lawmakers lowered that required GPA to 2.0. At least 60% of students at MGTC benefit from the HOPE grant. With this new change, college leaders expect that number to get even bigger.
"We hope more students will be able to take advantage of it," Kelly said. "It just gives a lot of opportunity to a lot of Georgians to create a better trained workforce by getting an education at a technical college."
And give students they hope they need to succeed in their studies.
Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill into law by the end of this month. The new changes will take effect starting in the fall semester.