I understand what the legislature wants to do, but it is potentially a very bad idea.
College students working toward longer-than-usual degree programs could lose HOPE Scholarship eligibility at the end of their studies under a bill scheduled for a vote today in the Georgia House.
The bill would limit HOPE eligibility to 127 semester hours, starting with next fall’s freshmen. Most bachelor’s programs already have that cap, but a few call for longer terms of study. The limit could eventually affect hundreds of students who receive the scholarship, which uses lottery money to pay tuition for “B” students.
Sponsors say the measure is intended to curb the growth of dual bachelor’s-master’s programs that go longer than four years. Currently there are eight such programs at state universities, including an accounting program at Georgia Southern University and a pharmacy program at the University of Georgia. More than 300 students statewide are enrolled in dual programs.
While I understand trying to cut the money for students who are getting both a bachelor degree and masters degree, many engineering programs at both Georgia Tech and Mercer take more than four years, just for a bachelor degree.
The legislature needs to carefully consider some exceptions to the language to provide for this. We do not want to be in a situation where engineering students are going elsewhere to get an education.