Gwinnett Tech and other metro Atlanta schools that provide skilled training predict a wave of new students if the state legislature approves lowering the grade point requirement for the HOPE Grant from 3.0 to 2.0.
"That's really important for us, because doing so will allow us not only to serve students who enroll in our diploma and credit programs, but will provide those students with tremendous opportunity to help pay for their education expenses will they prepare to get back into the workforce," said Gwinnett Tech Vice President David McCulloch.
McCulloch told Channel 2's Tom Regan enrollment at the college dropped by several hundred students when the state raised the grade point average standard to maintain a HOPE grant, which covers tuition and books. Many students who attend the school are older, non-traditional and often are working a job while pursuing a diploma or certificate.
Regan spoke with Leslie Trego, a mother who is studying to become an ultra sound technician. She said modifying the GPA requirement for HOPE grants will enable more student to pursue their dreams of a skilled tech career.
"It's very important for students who don’t have a lot of money. This helps them out. You can study and hold down a job and have time for (your) families," said Trego.
Legislation to change the qualification standards for the HOPE grant was approved overwhelmingly by the state House of Representatives and has moved to the Georgia Senate.
Lawmakers estimate lowering the required GPA for HOPE grants will result in additional $5 million to $8 million per year in lottery revenue funding.