Put an income cap on who qualifies for HOPE Scholarships

Again, the state is warning that the cherished HOPE Scholarship – which puts thousands of middle-class students through college, including one of mine — is running low. See Laura Diamond’s story today.

I see an immediate solution, and not too many folks are going to like it. In fact, if most of you were in my newsroom now, you’d break off the chair legs and chase me down Marietta Street.

But here goes: Put an income cap on who gets HOPE. (That’s how it started, by the way.)

Early on, a study by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University found that HOPE fuels the college hopes of kids who never lacked for it in the first place. Only 4 percent of the money spent on HOPE went to students who might not otherwise have gone to college, according to the Harvard study.

Is this the best focus of the HOPE millions – increasing college choice for middle-class and affluent students who were university-bound from the womb? Or would the money be better used  to increase college access for less well-off kids for whom college was not a birthright?

With only a 3.0 average in high school required to earn HOPE, practically every upper-income student in Georgia qualifies, which is why the program is fast outstripping the lottery revenues that support it. The generous scholarship pays the entire tuition and fees and provides a book stipend for Georgia students attending in-state public schools.

Where is the right income cutoff? I would think somewhere above $100,000 a year. The state could consider the same income criteria that colleges use to determine need-based aid.

The state could also increase the required merit to qualify for HOPE. Perhaps, students could meet  two out of three criteria to earn the scholarship — grade-point average, SAT scores or class rank. (Class rank will capture the kids in low-achieving rural schools who didn’t get the tools needed to do well on the SAT but still strove to place at the top of their class.)

OK, I am ready for the slings, arrows and general denouncements.

But I also want a better plan. How did we save HOPE when the demand is rising and lottery funds are flagging?

194 comments Add your comment


August 31st, 2009
11:28 am

TN also has a minimum ACT score requirement. A problem with income caps is that a teacher and a cop parents would leave a student unable to receive the HOPE scholarship. Our children were not able to receive any help other than loans. We really never made a lot of money and helping with college, even with HOPE was a struggle.


August 31st, 2009
11:31 am

Um, how about we stop grade inflation and actually make the high school curriculum challenging before we start with some ignorant classist argument about who is “deserving” of HOPE. Too many kids get it who coast along. Too many kids get it who get straight Bs in on-level classes where they’ve never had to open a book.

Honestly, though, with the number of unprepared kids the high schools send into college, I’m fairly shocked enough make it through the first semester and retain it.

I worked my butt off in high school and college to maintain a 3.5 GPA in both so I wouldn’t lose HOPE. So do millions of other kids. But no – don’t reward them because they’re intelligent, or hard workers, or care about their education. Let’s pander to the jealous people who look at them and see them “taking something away” from someone “more deserving.” Let’s punish kids for doing well in life and starting off successfully on their way to a career. Makes perfect sense to me.


August 31st, 2009
11:36 am

Put a limit on the pay and spending of the lottery personel……. Use the money for it’s intent……Students !


August 31st, 2009
11:40 am

I agree with Laura…why punish the kids who have been successful, and whose parents have been successful? Is this going to turn into just another welfare program for the mediocre? Is it true that HOPE dollars go to support pre-K programs, the success of which is hard to prove and the results difficult to measure? Why not strip those down and re-dedicate the money to college students?

I will also add that there needs to be a better way to judge the financial ability of families, before income caps are implemented. I received ZERO financial support from my family…not that I’m complaining about that or expected a handout- I worked to put myself through school and HOPE was a Godsend. And I know I kept my nose to the grindstone and in the books all through high school and college to make sure I earned that scholarship. I just think it’s very assumptive that just because a family makes a certain amount of money means that the college student gets everything handed to them.


August 31st, 2009
11:42 am

I agree with Laura. Hope should be a reward to those students who work hard to qualify and keep the grades required for eligiblity for the scholarship. Besides, there are many more scholarships and grants available and specifically targeted to those who need finanical assistance.


August 31st, 2009
11:42 am

Rich kids dont deserve it. Plus the so called rich should pay for schooling in addition to the huge increases in taxes coming soon. Something has to be done to make it more fair for everyone. What a load of >>>> Maybe your job will be the one cut when the small business owner who makes $250k a year has to make some tough choices after he suddenly gets hit with a tax increase and has to start paying for his kids college as well. Got to make up the difference somewhere.


August 31st, 2009
11:46 am

Absolutely, set a high income cap. HOPE was originally envisioned as a means to help good, but not stellar students (B average), who were not likely to win academic scholarships and whose family income, while not high, was too high to qualify for much, if any, financial aid. I have no problem with it being a combination academic achievement/needs based award. I believe Emory has developed program specifically for middle class families making up to $100,000. HOPE could have a scale based on family income and total number of family members. I think its perfectly reasonable for that financial aid to be denied to, for example, a family with one child that makes $200,000 per year in order to have aid available for a child from a family making $50,000.


August 31st, 2009
11:49 am

I agree, we do need to look at income requirements AND we do need to hold the schools responsible and stop grad inflation. I have two daughters in college on my middle income salary. I have had to pleasure of meeting parents whose children are on HOPE and the combined salary for both parents make mine look like I am ready for aid. Parents are not honest in completing the financial aid forms – so their kids can qualify for HOPE and become priviledge. Mom or Dad’s salary drops off the radar around the 11th grade so their child qualifies.

If the GA. DOE actually provided a fair and quality education across the board then grade inflation would be easily recognized. Honestly, some rural and even urban students are not receiving the same quality education. The curriculum, faculty, and quality looks different at a Therrell (APS) vs a Mays (APS) vs a Jenkins (Savannah) vs a Walton (Cobb) vs Davidson Magnet (Richmond). The state has to really look at how a student in rural Douglas County can be given the same education, including resources, as a student in Dekalb.


August 31st, 2009
11:49 am

In creating HOPE, the state had goals beyond helping individual students. The larger goal was to improve the state’s bottom line by turning more of its citizens into college graduates, who, over a lifetime, earn more money and pay more taxes.
I bet many of you posting about how HOPE helped you would have gone to college anyway.
Yes, HOPE made it easier for you to afford college but it was not the deal breaker in whether you went.
Wouldn’t the state realize a larger return on its investment if it devoted its HOPE dollars to those students for whom it may well be the deal breaker?


August 31st, 2009
11:50 am

I’ll take a stab at this. FWIW, the following link has interesting information about the history and evolution of the HOPE scholarship:


Interestingly, there is also information on Wikipedia about the history of the scholarship.

There was originally a $100,000 income cap in order to receive HOPE however it was eliminated in 1995, a mere two years after the first award was made. One can speculate it was positioned as a means of also keeping more of our talented students in our state colleges, regardless of their family income. The revenues generated were such that we could afford to do that and also make this a 4 year award rather than a 2 year.

Given the current economic conditions, more students will look to stay in state, partly because of HOPE. Historically, when something is given to citizens then either scaled back or eliminated, people do not react favorably. If the money is not there to keep up with the demand, I would look at providing the award based on a sliding scale of income.

Since 100K was the figure used in 1995, I would adjust that figure accordingly based on inflation and use that as the point for possible ’sliding down’ the amount of the award. I would perhaps set the floor of the award to 50% as there is still an incentive for both the state and student to consider this.

Assuming there is still a goal to reach students that may have not had the opportunities with rigorous instruction as others, I would look at class rank. I would base ’some’ of that on the SES for that school system and/or individual schools.

Ironically I heard in Texas where they use something like this, students from a ‘high achieving’ school would consider transferring to a ‘lower achieving’ school to ensure their class rank and college award. This reinforces the concept that people look to ‘work the plan’ to ensure they maximize their opportunities.

Lastly I recall reading an article in the AJC on this topic a few years back. It seems that one of the zip codes with the highest amount of lottery ticket sales was a lower income area while an zip code that had the greatest number of students leveraging HOPE was an affluent area. It brought up interesting conversation about lotteries in general.

V for Vendetta

August 31st, 2009
11:58 am

I agree, Laura.

C’mon, Maureen, you’re smarter than this, right? If the question is one of money, the only fair solution is to make the HOPE scholarship more academically exclusive. Despite having used the HOPE myself, I’ve always thought that a 3.0 GPA was a bit low to earn such a monumental reward–value for value, remember. The GPA requirement could be raised and a testing requirement added–maybe with two options for both the SAT and ACT. Combined with the testing requirements, I would hope that would put the HOPE out of the reach of grade inflation; however, that would NOT put the HOPE out of the reach of the moochers.

The past few days, the moochers have proven me right time and again by demonstrating something that is a given when dealing with a belief system such as theirs: No matter what is handed over to them, they will always demand more from the producers–i.e., the people of ability. They will never be satisfied as long as someone exists who has something that they don’t have. It’s really that simple.

We’re seeing it now with the HOPE scholarship. Because they are unable to EARN the scholarship, the moochers must find a way to take it by force. They claim that their lack of money is a sufficient claim on the funds of the HOPE scholarship, that the families who could pay for the children’s education don’t deserve to use the HOPE, and that academic achievement is not a fair arbiter of ability. Once again, their rhetoric amounts to “I’m emtiteld to what you have for no other reason than I don’t have it.” Is there anything more base and immoral than that?

There is only one way to stop a moocher; it is, of course, the same way in which you would stop a parasite: you must remove the source of its nourishment. By raising the achievement level required for the HOPE and adding a testing requirement, the scholarship will be preserved and well beyond the grasp of the moochers. Were that to happen, the moochers cries would be immediate and desperate, seeking more entitlements and values with nothing to offer in return.

“I saw that evil was impotent…and the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it.” – John Galt, Atlas Shrugged


August 31st, 2009
12:02 pm

HOPE changes destinations. It does little to increase participation at the college or university level. (It does increase tech school participation.) The research (limited though it is, bears this out).

For longer than there was a top income limit, there was a bottom income limit.

I am all for raising the requirements. Almost anyone can get a 3.0 in high school. Couple the GPA with an SAT score of above average, or raise the requirements, or specify a list of courses more demanding upon which the GPA will be based. Or a graduated scholarship: the higher your SAT, the more it will pay. A 3.0 and poor SAT might get $500 toward tuition, which would help the student start at a two year college to solidify their skills. A 3.0 and excellent SAT might net tuition, fees, and books, plus a little supply money at a research institution.

When I interned in a large university admissions office, I saw firsthand how many kids applied with nearly a 4.0 who couldn’t muster above a 900 on the SAT (the old version, before the 100 point adjustment, with 2 parts and 1600 max). You are NOT a “scholar” with an SAT like that. Therefore, undeserving of a “scholar”ship.

Also, cut out the subsidy to private colleges. I know they’ll scream; two of my kids got GTEG from HOPE while attending private colleges instate. We have NO BUSINESS subsidizing private institutions, who take up very little instate “slack”. In a place like New York, the subsidy might make sense. Not here.


August 31st, 2009
12:03 pm

I hate big gummint socialism.


I need the HOPE skolarship dun take it away.


August 31st, 2009
12:07 pm

In my middle class community in Cobb, the HOPE allows more along the lines of 70% of our neighbors’ children to attend college that otherwise would not. Income to debt ratios being what they are, the income caps are not a sufficient measure of need.

Income limit?

August 31st, 2009
12:19 pm

$100,000 doesn’t go far when you have more than one or two children to put through college.

what about it

August 31st, 2009
12:20 pm

Let’s see why not make the middle class pay more. My sons couldn’t get into UGA because they were white males even though they had higher GPA’s, higher SAT’s and more outside community services hours than others but because of ‘affirmative action’ they were denied entry, but that is another story. My oldest just finished college and is now $18,000 in debt. HOPE book stipends pay $150 a semester. His books cost between $450 and $700 per semester. Plus there was the food plan and the rooming plan and the Professors wanting them to get this subscription and the School adding new fees for parking garages and to acquire land. According to FASFA we were so wealthy we could afford to pay $45,000 a year for him to go the school. Which we could have done had we selected to live in a cardboard box. Now my younger son has starting and we are going through the same thing. If it hadn’t been for the HOPE no telling how much more my oldest would owe…


August 31st, 2009
12:20 pm

It’s simple. Take the total dollars collected by Hope and divide by the number of eligible students. Send the students a check for that amount.


August 31st, 2009
12:22 pm

I was among the very first class to be elligible for the HOPE scholarship. Without it, I still would have attended school. I just would have been poorer in college and I would have had to have had more loans.

If you want to put an income cap on it, it needs to be much higher than $100,000. That is not all that much money for a family. If you make $100,000 and have two children in school, you are barely making ends meet.

Big Al

August 31st, 2009
12:25 pm

HOPE staff should find a way to decrease the eligibility WITHOUT counting income as a factor. You make a few solid suggestions, including SAT/ACT minimums and/or class rank. You could also increase the eligibility out of high school OR make the requirements for maintaining HOPE more stringent. As a graduate of a GA public university I can vouch that maintaining a 3.0 gpa is not all that hard if you go to class and study 6-8 hours a week.

As others have said, a child can only affect how they do in school, not how much their parents make. And although some “middle-class” folks would like to believe children of the affluent are handed everything, it is not always the case. Why should those whose parents do not provide 100% support be penalized with student loans when others aren’t?

Take a quick example. Child A’s parents make $101,000 per year and therefore child does not qualify. Parents put themselves through college and therefore do not assist child. Child leaves school with $40k in debt. Child B’s parents make $99,000 per year and do qualify for HOPE. Child gets tuition and book stipend, borrows for living expenses, and leaves school with $10k in student loans. How is this scenario fair for either Child A or his parents?


August 31st, 2009
12:25 pm

Ernest, I believe before they took away the top cap, they raised it once (into the $200,00s?). Meanwhile the bottom cap was still in place. Then, I think 2 years after they took off the top cap, they took off the bottom cap. This was after 1995, as I recall.

The bottom cap refers to: if a student qualified for Pell, they did not get the HOPE grant, even if their grades were higher than a more wealthy student who could not qualify for Pell. A travesty.

Lower income students are much more sensitive to the “you can’t afford it” arguement. Middle class parents like to say their kids wouldn’t go to college if it weren’t for HOPE, but they certainly did before HOPE was instituted. HOPE allows them to go to a higher tier college, or allows the parents to avoid tapping their assets, or to taking out loans.

I have nothing against wealthy kids who earn HOPE getting it. It is still fundamentally biased, however, because wealthy kids bring with them the advantages their wealth accrues: higher grades, higher SATs, higher expectations, and lots more social and cultural capital. I think all kids who earn it should get it; it’s just that right now the bar is too low for it to be a true scholarship. THAT is what needs to be addressed.

Too much non-lottery money is wasted from the taxpayer supporting borderline students for a year while they “find” themselves. You support every kid who attends over $12,000 per year at UGA, in addition to tuition and any living expenses. If your incoming class has 5000 HOPE scholars and the usual percentage loses it after a year, you have spent 24 MILLION DOLLARS that year of taxpayer money supporting kids who are “finding” themselves at UGA. That includes nothing HOPE or parents pay. Like it?

a pleasant

August 31st, 2009
12:27 pm

what about it-

How could you possibly know that your sons were more qualified for UGA than “others?” I seriously doubt that if they had these scores they’d be denied entry. Is it possible they just weren’t qualified and you’re using evil affirmative action as an excuse?

Reality 4

August 31st, 2009
12:31 pm

I think an income limit is necessary and appropriate. However, the difficulty is whose income do we use. Some college students are on their own even though their parents may be reasonably well to do. I think there has to be a way to let some students use their own income level for that judgment. I know some may still go through the loop hole, but maybe something like filing their own tax return can be used as a criteria.

DeKalb Conservative

August 31st, 2009
12:31 pm

The criteria needs to be raised for these scholarships. A 3.0 GPA might be an accomplishment in high school, but if you graduate with a 3.0 in college, essentially you’re a borderline loser that either didn’t dedicate enough of your time to your studies, or you were in over your head and shouldn’t have been in college in the first place.

what's right for kids???

August 31st, 2009
12:33 pm

Again, the middle class will suffer from this. The poor will get the HOPE, the rich will pay anyway, and the middle class, who makes too much to be “poor” but not enough to truly afford university will suffer.

Or we could have our children do what we did and borrow for our college. I’m still paying mine back.

OR, we could do what our parents did and, are you ready? SAVE for our children’s college. I don’t like doing it, but I know that I have to do do it to ensure that my children have the opportunity. Now, what I save may not cover all of the expenses, but it will keep the loan amount down.
What ever happened to taking out student loans, anyway?


August 31st, 2009
12:35 pm

HOPE needs to remain achievement based if we want to keep the state’s brightest here….and ONLY achievement based. I do agree with the writer that the qualfications should be raised because stats show that too many HOPE recipients never finish college. 1/3 of recipients fail to get the grades to even re-qualify for year 2.

That tells me that there are a lot of unqualified students receiving the funds and I would bet a lot of it comes from grade inflation at the high school level. Which is why college entrance exam scores should be included in the criteria.


August 31st, 2009
12:37 pm

There should be a scale based on GPA AND income (adjusted for debt). The higher the income the less you get (but even kids from very high income deserve the scholarship). The higher your GPA the more you get.

So a kid from a low income household with a GPA of 3.5 would get fully funded whereas a kid from a high income household with the same GPA would maybe get 1/2 funding. Same kids with a 3.0 would get less but still get something.

Even a kid with a 2.5 GPA should get something if they are accepted at an eligible college.

This is so easy, but I’m sure the state will screw it up.


August 31st, 2009
12:43 pm

catlady, I could go with your suggestion from 12:02 combined with a sliding scale award based income. How about 50% of the award based on grades and 50% based on income? A student from a lower income family with good grades can get a maximum 100% award. A student from an affluent family with good grades can get a maximum 50% award. You could also set it such that any additional scholarships earned will be deducted from the award IF 100% of fees are already covered. This would provide the student from the affluent family an opportunity to secure additional scholarships to reach the 100% level.

From a historical standpoint again, the lottery was ’sold’ to citizens as a means to provide higher education opportunities to lower income students. Ironically, it did not pass by a large margin. It was expanded to allow all students to participate however the demand for awards may soon exceed the funds available.

Interestingly, I recall many calling the lottery a ‘tax on ignorance’ primarily based upon where the greatest sales took place.


August 31st, 2009
12:45 pm

Yes, Maureen, I would have gone to college anyway. That’s not the point. The point is that it is a reward to help those that put forth effort get the most out of their college experience. You know, working for what you have. It’s not the same as having a part-time job, but I assure you, it’s damn near as much work.

HOPE helped me save the money that my parents had saved for college for myself – so I could use it for grad school that HOPE, since I teach a non “high needs” subject, did not pay for.

Who cares if someone’s going to go anyway? This philosophy of “they’re gonna do well anyway” is why gifted funding is abysmal and no one pays any attention to the upper echelon of students – they’re just left to fend for themselves. Yep. Let’s cater to the average and the sub-par. Can’t imagine why society’s so screwed up. Thanks for illuminating that for me.


August 31st, 2009
12:49 pm

another welfare program… heck no. my children have worked their tails off to be eligible for the HOPE and there is not way i’m going to let it be based on income or diluted academic scoring found in metro atlanta.


August 31st, 2009
12:49 pm

DeKalb Conservative said,

A 3.0 GPA might be an accomplishment in high school, but if you graduate with a 3.0 in college, essentially you’re a borderline loser that either didn’t dedicate enough of your time to your studies, or you were in over your head and shouldn’t have been in college in the first place.

Though I think I understand the point you are attempting to make, I would base this more on the school and/or major before making a broad brush statement like that.

Along the same lines, when I go to my doctor, I don’t see their GPA listed on the diploma. It may be a good idea to ask though what their rank was since someone has to finish first and someone has to finish last. It could be based upon the level of competition you had also where the worst of the best could be better than the best of the worst.

middle class loses out again...

August 31st, 2009
12:51 pm

Looks like this is proposing the middle class lose out again. I guess it doesn’t matter what kind of grades and/or intelligence those who earn below a middle class wage actually achieve. As long as they don’t make much money, they can qualify for HOPE, financial aid, all kinds of grants, etc. And the middle class have to take out student loans at ridiculous interest rates that take years to pay off.

And why is it that there seems to be an assumption that every child’s parents are paying for their higher education when this is simply not the case? There are too many students in college who graduate with student loan debt that are still paying down in their 30s.

I don’t think an income cap is the answer here.


August 31st, 2009
12:52 pm

Dear V for Vendetta,
On your producers versus moochers comments:
— How do you separate advantage versus merit?
— How is merit measured? By what you have achieved, or by what you have overcome?
— More specifically, does the presence of thousands of middle- and upper-class students on the HOPE rolls reflect merit, or prior advantage?
My oldest two would probably be considered producers by your definition – they do well in school and have perfect or near perfect SAT scores. But it’s not because they work harder than anyone else. My husband’s family has been sending its offspring to Harvard for generations. In the genetic dice roll, my kids inherited the traits conducive to academic success.
My neighborhood is full of smart college professors and CDC researchers whose children are very high achievers. Should such students be celebrated and rewarded for high test scores and grades that come easier for them than most of their peers?
Is that merit at work or advantage?

DeKalb Conservative

August 31st, 2009
12:53 pm

@ mdowney (11:49)

Thank you for bringing up the original intention of HOPE. When looking at this from the prospective of this being a scholarship for high achieving / lower income that by not having funding would be a deal breaker is significant. That said and being there are always budget limitations, focusing on the highest potential students that ultimately would likely never attend school and directly enter the work force is the biggest contribution that could be made.

As much as I would like to see no income limit, because I think the middle class get shafted when it comes to paying for college, perhaps we’re looking at mid-to-high achieving SATs (ex. top 25% bracket), combined with a top 25% bracket GPA at their school and a bottom 25% bracket from an income perspective (this might more realistically mean <50k, even 35k).

Students that can break through that have these type of stats encompass the American dream.


August 31st, 2009
12:55 pm

Our child is a junior in college and HOPE is providing tuition, some fees and a little of books. According to FAFSA we are able to provide somewhere in the neighborhood of $45K towards college. Right. That is assuming that we stop eating and that we do nothing for our other child. We have been fortunate that other scholarships are covering some of the room costs, that summer jobs have helped and we are able to pay the myriad of other fees including lab fees, as well as meal plans and books. Books themselves, even bought used exceed $450 per semester.

Yes, she would have gone to college anyway, but with HOPE we do not have to pay the approx $4500 per year that HOPE covers. That means so far no loans. She probably would not have stayed in state for college as her packages were good at several other schools, but HOPE was a deciding factor.


August 31st, 2009
12:57 pm

As a teacher at a 2-year school, I see a trremendous number of students who test into learning support classes (math, English & reading – these students receive HOPE! HOPE should cover college credit, not high school courses. Let these students pay for the learning support courses and then if they have a 3.0 average, HOPE can kick in. This may also encourage students to work hard in highschool.

DeKalb Conservative

August 31st, 2009
12:58 pm

@ Ernest

Point taken. It goes w/ that old saying, what do you call the lowest graduate of Harvard Medical School. Answer: “doctor.”

Let’s pick on that bottom graduating doctor, do you think the medical profession was the best choice for that person? That person would finish at the bottom because there was either a lack of talent, or effort.

Just as scary as the doctor scenario, pilots.

Bottom line, the HOPE scholarship, like other scholarships should reward mediocrity.


August 31st, 2009
1:00 pm

b, I agree with you on the FAFSA estimates. To come up with what FAFSA said, we would have to feed the rest of our family on water and crackers and live in our car.
But then a college financial aid officer explained to me that FAFSA isn’t really about what you can “afford,” to spend on your child’s education but what you can “recover” from in terms of loans.

David S

August 31st, 2009
1:05 pm

The HOPE is nothing but a giant giveaway – a big pile of money sitting in the middle of an unwatched table waiting to be taken.

Just look at the history of college tuitions. Ever since the federal government started guaranteeing student loans, the cost of college has skyrocketed. Every college in the country knows that every student expects to just take out a loan for whatever the costs are, so they continue to rise. If colleges had to compete for money instead, the costs would either be dropping or at least would have held steady.

Add on the free-for-all that the HOPE is, and you can kiss any sort of fiscal responsibility on the part of colleges in GA goodbye. The curve of these costs is even worse. But why should a college try and keep costs low. They can’t let everyone in anyway, and the tuition costs are fully covered, so why not jack up the costs of tuition and everything else.

Republicans and Democrats both love the HOPE. That of course is because they are all ignorant of basic economics and too unwilling to save and plan for their own kid’s education. And they certainly don’t believe in the free market enough to want to get rid of their government subsidies like their tax free savings accounts, mortgage deductions, or HOPE scholarship.

Why should it surprise anyone that the HOPE is running out of money? Its funded through gambling, a vice that is wasteful during good times, and should be completely shunned during these hard times.

And why should anyone actually be surprised that someone is proposing an Income limit on HOPE? Rewarding academic achievement is so yesterday, and with rampant grade inflation, its only further destroying the worthless government education system. Everything the government does is about wealth transfer. This program so far has been from the poor to the middle class, and now in typican fashion they want to now reward the poor only.

Here’s a thought. Get the government out of education completely, get rid of the worthless accreditation agencies that only serve to prop up the higher education monopolies, and let the outstanding internet finally bring afforable high quality education to the masses.


August 31st, 2009
1:09 pm

Just cut paying for ANYTHING besides tuition. There is no need to pay for anything else. If people are poor enough they can easily qualify for grants for the remaining amount. Also, ANYBODY can qualify for loans for the full remaining costs.


August 31st, 2009
1:12 pm

I think that there should be an income limit, but $100k a year is too low. I do not see it as punishment for higher income people, because higher income people will send their kids to college without the Hope Scholarship.

But for those making under $100k, the child will go to college, but it would probably be paid for by student loans.


August 31st, 2009
1:12 pm

You are correct. I’d like to throw something at you! So, let’s shaft the people who work hard and have been able to earn a little more than the average. Let’s ensure only rural or urban groups are given any support and forget the suburban families. Of course, you should never reward hard work and doing the right thing. Let’s only help those that strive to be the lowest common denominator.

Sp Ed Teacher

August 31st, 2009
1:12 pm

1. Raise the requirement to 3.25 GP for HS students.

2. How about a student going to college on their own dime. After they finish the semester with a 3.0 or higher, get a rebate for the amount they paid up front.

Stop The Madness

August 31st, 2009
1:13 pm

What I have learned in my brief existence on this earth is that the rich always want to get richer at the expense of the poor. I think the lottery money should be allocated to sudents in schools in the areas that spend the most on the lottery.The more money that area invests in the lottery the more Hope assistance a student from that area can get. Thats ruural and urban. Suburban areas would get whats left because they invest the least in it because they are “Successful” and worked hard to get there. The same way affluent communities form their own cities to keep their tax dollars in their communities. As long as they benefit HOPE scholarships are great because their kids can get some of the pie of which they put very little into. It is ridiculous to hear people on this blog tlak like they are affected by any change in HOPE funding. Your child will just have to do without a car on campus because you spent their college savings on school rather than a car or off campus housing. Stop the madness I say.


August 31st, 2009
1:13 pm

This mdowney is a clown. Total Obama kiss up. Let’s redistribute the wealth to the “poor” when what he really means is to the African-American population. How in the world can an alledgedly “reputable” newspaper publish this muck? Mdowney is just class baiting and it’s getting old.

As to your sad little questions of “Should such students be celebrated and rewarded for high test scores and grades that come easier for them than most of their peers? Is that merit at work or advantage?”, what a joke. That is the very defenition of academic merit. I don’t care if some dumb kid works hard. That kind of effort qualifies them for a nice manual labor job. But the real work should be left to those with intelectual merit.


August 31st, 2009
1:14 pm

No income caps! Raise the GPA requirement and hold high school teachers more accountable for teaching students and find way to discourage grade inflation.

maureen's accountability metric

August 31st, 2009
1:15 pm

Maureen, since you seem to be in a talkative mood today, can you explain why you haven’t featured your excellent blog on the APS cheating allegations in your Learning Curve column, where they would have maximum impact? Don’t the students of APS deserve to have maximum exposure of this story?

I’m sure a newspaper vet like you would agree that, even in the Internet age, there is still a level of legitimacy the printed word provides; also since you appear on the editorial pages, it would have much more exposure than posting it on Get Schooled alone does.

The AJC felt the allegations were serious enough, as they point to a corporate culture, rather than an isolated incident of cheating, to put on the front page of their highest selling day, the Sunday edition.

As serious as these allegations are how can you justify your statement that your single lens focus is “what’s best for Georgia students” when you steadfastly refuse to address in your print column a scandal that potentially affects an entire city’s worth of students?


August 31st, 2009
1:16 pm

Maureen, congrats. You’ve just summarized what’s wrong with this state’s gifted education program. Why just have the students who have the IQs and test scores who are gifted? No, let’s get the kids in there who *try*. Giftedness is no longer the psychological blessing it was once considered – now anyone can do it!

Not everyone can do college, upper, lower, or middle class. College needs to be about those who can succeed in it. I had a bunch of middle class friends who couldn’t pass muster, and they dropped out. They were what you would deem “advantaged,” I suppose.


August 31st, 2009
1:18 pm

I think that there should be a job requirement. A person receiving HOPE should have to work a minimum 20 hours per week.

A student who is working is a student who is contributing.


August 31st, 2009
1:24 pm

Come on people – the HOPE scholarship was created to give those who wouldn’t necessarily go to college an opportunity to go. It is NOT an academic scholarship – stop trying to make it one!! If we establish higher GPA’s as a requirement for HOPE – then we have defeated the purpose of the scholarship. Students with GPA’s higher than 3.0 most often qualify for academic scholarships and don’t need HOPE and if they are using it, it is merely a supplement. Base it on ACT/SAT scores – really – what about those who are bad testers like me – should I be disqualified because I only scored a 21 on the ACT? Rank in class is inconsequential considering there is a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement – so that is a moot point. When we start putting academic restrictions beyond the current requirement – we cut a large pool of indviduals who would be eligible and award scholarships to those who can easily obtain other academic scholarships in their own right.

I believe looking at an income cap with consideration for the number of family members is an appropriate avenue to pursue. This would eliminate scholarships for students whose parents can easily afford college for their children.


August 31st, 2009
1:25 pm

It’s amazing how many self-proclaimed intelligent, responsible, capitalist, anti-tax, anti-government Republicans in Georgia rely on HOPE Scholarships. If you want your kids to go to college, save money for their tuition or make them pay their own way. If you can’t afford to save, work harder/advance your education and get a better job. Isn’t that what you tell the other “parasites” to do? Bunch of hypocrites.