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Posted by Bryan Long on September 4th, 2012

Gov. Deal has once again refused to save Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship. Or act like he even cares.

We all know the HOPE Scholarship is in crisis. In just two years, the HOPE Scholarship will pay less than 50 percent of tuition. We know families are struggling to keep up with the growing costs of college. And we know Gov. Deal has repeatedly promised to do nothing.

That’s why on Saturday, with nearly 100,000 people -- including Gov. Deal -- gathered in Athens for the Georgia Bulldog’s home opener, Better Georgia was determined to start a conversation.

And we did.

Better Georgia hired a plane to fly the message, “GOV DEAL BROKE HOPE. TXT FIXIT to 30644” over UGA’s Sanford Stadium before the game. Those who responded were directed to a petition that now has more than 8,300 signatures.

WATCH: Atlanta’s 11Alive covered the story, and you can watch the video here.

From the stadium, Gov. Deal’s spokesperson called us names and claimed the governor had done the best he could do.

Here's Gov. Deal's response to Better Georgia:

"This is paid for by a leftist organization that believes there's no end to other people's money. The Legislature saved HOPE from bankruptcy. The state uses the money available to aid students who worked the hardest and earned it."

While Gov. Deal continues to make excuses and play politics by dividing the HOPE Scholarship into a "left vs. right" argument, most voters simply want to save the HOPE Scholarship. In three statewide surveys in nine months, Better Georgia has heard voters say they want to save the scholarship and even support a single solution.

Compare Gov. Deal’s response to the students who want him to get to work to save the HOPE Scholarship.

Here’s just some of what people across Georgia have said:

  • “I lost about 20 percent of what I was getting my first year of college. I’m working two jobs now to keep up, but it’s tough.” (Tom ‘Doc’ Bell)
  • “I thought I was getting a full ride for my whole college career, and suddenly the rug is pulled out from underneath me, and I just don’t know what to do.” (UGA student interviewed by 11Alive)
  • “Thankfully, I don’t have younger brothers, but for all the people I know who are younger than me, I feel bad. Parents are going to have to put more and more to this to make sure they get the education they need. (UGA student interviewed by 11Alive)
  • “I am a sophomore in high school right now, and in a few years I plan to go to an in-state school. I am really relying on the HOPE to be able to help me.” (Joseph Walker, Decatur)
  • “Not sure why one of the first things our government tries to cut back is in the education department. It is disgusting.” (Cassandra Dunigan, Gainesville)
  • “Please stop gambling with the lottery money. Our kids’ future depends on it.” (Fran Latner, Thomasville)

Without the HOPE Scholarship, many students won't make it to college. And Georgia's economy will be worse for that loss.

There’s no question that we have the Governor’s attention. But now we need your help to tell Gov. Deal it’s past time for him to roll up his sleeves and work to save the HOPE Scholarship.

Our goal is to gather at least 10,000 signatures on this online petition and deliver those signatures, along with your comments to Gov. Deal. By signing the petition, and asking others to do the same, you’re joining us in saying that hard-working students in every Georgia county are our priority, even if Gov. Deal thinks otherwise.

Take a moment and join us. Sign the petition.

And then share the petition with your friends via email, on Facebook and on Twitter. Time is of the essence. By acting today, you can help save HOPE for future generations.

We are Georgians who are ready to once again lead the South.

Better Georgia is the state's fastest growing progressive advocacy organization. We are here to make sure our elected officials listen to Georgia families and the people who work hard each day. We fight to make sure elected officials pass sensible laws and policies that benefit everyone, not just corporations and the political elite.

Better Georgia is ready for our state to once again lead the South. We want strong communities and schools. We want quality jobs and a culture that attracts the best businesses.

The debate in Georgia has been between the right and the far right for too long. Better Georgia is working to change the debate and change our state. With your help, Georgia will be better than ever.

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