HOPE funding soars: Casino resorts in Georgia may be the long-term answer to funding the HOPE scholarship

Georgia’s HOPE scholarship funds aren’t dwindling. Instead, the money is increasing.

Georgia Lottery Corporation (GLC) Vice President of Corporate Affairs J.B. Landroche said funding for the HOPE Scholarship is not declining.

“Last year the GLC returned over $980 million to the Lottery for Education Account…an increase of $35 million over the previous year,” he said

Landroche also said GLC raises $2.7 million daily for HOPE. Not only has GLC been doing well with funding HOPE, but casino resorts, such as MGM resorts, may be coming to Atlanta to generate more funding for the scholarship.

Chip Lake, member of the Committee to Preserve the Hope Scholarship, which is composed of citizens wanting to protect the fund, said casino resorts are the long-term answer to funding the scholarship.

“We want to raise awareness of this potential solution, and be a supportive voice as this important piece of legislation moves through the political process,” he said. “The cost of college are expected to continue rising which puts the longevity of HOPE at risk.”

Lake said even though GLC is successful at driving sales and innovating product offerings, the increase in revenue can’t keep up with the rising cost of college.

Georgia State Rep. Stacey Evans is proposing HB 24, which would allow students to qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship while in college.

“HB 24 will impact our university students. It would allow students to qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship…Right now, you’re only eligible right out of high school. And we can afford to fix that,” she said. “College costs are too high, and we need smart, targeted new revenue to HOPE to make sure students are not priced out of the institutions that make Georgia great.”

Evans said she thinks measured tweaks to HOPE would open access to the scholarship and make college cheaper.

“I know that I’m working on legislation right now that would make college more affordable for students at our state and regional schools,” Evans said. “The Lottery is doing very well, and it’s not up to them on how much they want to allot to HOPE; it’s up to us. And I intend to make sure they’re giving as much as possible.”

Gift Ogunwale, Georgia State student. said she is against the spike of college tuition, because the average family has to take out loans and funds for a college education. She also works while being in school to make her way through college financially.

“Most students are in debt because we are all trying to make a better life for ourselves.It is completely inconsiderate…thereby in a long run forcing students who cannot afford it out of college,” she said

According to Lake, six new destination casino resorts were proposed in a Georgia legislation.  

“They are expected to generate $250 million to HOPE without raising taxes,” Lake said.

Ogunwale said she thinks casino’s funding the HOPE scholarship wouldn’t be a bad idea.

“The people who love to gamble and have fun can do that and have a good time, while also keeping in mind that they are helping a child in need out by creating funds for the hope scholarship. So it is pretty much a win-win situation,” she said.

 

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