Before I go into today’s topic we have some housekeeping.
Today is my last regular post for Get Schooled. You’ll still see my name as I write about higher education, but the talented Maureen Downey takes over the blog Monday. Many of you already know her from her weekly Learning Curve column and editorials about education issues.
Now, to today’s topic. Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking with several college officials about the upcoming school year. Inevitably, the conversations turned to HOPE.
The program — Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally – pays for the tuition, books and fees for Georgia students who maintain a 3.0 average.
Some officials – at least those at private colleges – wondered why the amount HOPE students receive to attend their institutions is less than what students would get for a public college.
If the goal is to keep bright students in Georgia, why not spread the wealth evenly they asked?
Others wondered if HOPE was fair, especially for late bloomers. Many students struggle during the first few years in high school. Students who turn their grades turn around during junior and senior years likely can’t get their GPAs high enough to be eligible for the scholarship.
Some would argue these students are capable and have the skills to succeed in college. Where’s the money for them?
Many also said Georgia is in need of a HOPE-like needs-based scholarship.
Nearly all colleges offer scholarships for students from low-income homes, but some say the state should provide for these students.
Do you think HOPE is meeting Georgia’s needs? If not, how would you change the program?
STORY HELP: A co-worker is writing a back-to-school story looking at who is volunteering in schools. If your PTA or school has an interesting group — whether it be all fathers or all grandparents or employees from a local company — we want to hear from you. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to participate.