HOPE Lite versus Full HOPE: Less filling but more lasting?

I am sharing the governor’s full statement on his proposed changes to HOPE and pre-k.

His changes apply to students now in college and receiving HOPE, which means that some students will have to come up with another $1,000 next year if they don’t make the grade to be Zell Miller Scholars, which brings full tuition. (You began school as a HOPE Scholar, and now you may be a Miller Scholar as well if you meet the criteria.)

No students are grandfathered in under the current HOPE rules, according to the governor’s spokesman, whom I called for clarification of a couple of points.

I asked how many times a Full Hope/3.7 student can lose the Zell Miller Scholarship, revert to HOPE Lite, and then regain Full HOPE.  Once.

However, as long as those students maintain a 3.0, they will always get some HOPE. And the governor’s office said that students can upgrade to the Zell Miller level at the stated check points.

However, students now in college can only qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship, the full HOPE ride, if they had a 3.7 GPA in high school and met the SAT/ACT score cutoffs.

So to be clear: That means that even juniors now at UGA with a 4.0 GPA all three years can never get full tuition if they did not graduate high school with a 3.7 GPA.

That means many students now in Georgia colleges have lost full HOPE for good, regardless of  stellar achievement in college. They will only qualify for HOPE Lite.

I have already heard from parents who think the 3.7 GPA is too steep. They also think the 3.5 to keep FULL HOPE is too high especially for students at Tech in math and engineering. (My son has a merit-based presidential scholarship at a private college and has to maintain a 3.25 GPA to hold onto it. What do other colleges require to keep academic scholarships?)

(Please see prior blog to get more details on the GPAs required for Full HOPE versus HOPE Lite.)

To folks in the field: Are there any concerns that the higher GPA requirement to both earn and keep Full HOPE will dissuade students from tougher majors, such as engineering or economics?

Here is the full statement from the governor:

Gov. Nathan Deal today introduced bipartisan legislation that preserves Georgia’s cherished HOPE scholarship and Pre-K programs – among the most generous benefits in the nation — even as it stabilizes lottery-funded programs for future generations. Deal, along with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders, unveiled the plan on the campus of Georgia State University.

“Facing bankruptcy of the lottery program in 2013, I worked closely with members of the General Assembly to save Georgia’s prized jewel, the HOPE scholarship, for the next generation of Georgians,” Deal said. “With this plan we are going to maintain one of the most generous scholarship programs the United States has ever seen or will ever see. Even in the tough economic times we are facing, HOPE is going to endure, it’s going to thrive.”

Deal revealed legislation that will create the Zell Miller Scholarship program; the program, named for the governor who created HOPE, will maintain full tuition coverage for Georgia’s highest-achieving students.

“Zell Miller’s HOPE scholarship is a distinctly Georgian program that serves as a point of pride for every resident of our great state,” he said. “This plan today is endorsed by Zell Miller, and I’m honored to announce the creation of the Zell Miller Scholarship, which will serve as a reward to Georgia’s best and brightest students and will encourage them to remain in Georgia.”

Under the new legislation, Zell Miller Scholars will include the top 10 percent of HOPE scholars under the present system based on both a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 SAT or 26 ACT score. These scholars attending any public college or university in the state will be awarded full tuition scholarships, while those attending private institutions will receive the full private HOPE award.

Deal assured all of Georgia’s HOPE partners that all three of the lottery-funded programs — Pre-K, HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant — have been protected and current funding ratios for these programs will remain the same.

Beginning this fall, students with a 3.0 GPA attending Georgia public colleges and universities will receive 90 percent of the FY ‘11 standard tuition rate. To ensure that limited resources are used to best honor the original intent of the HOPE program the legislation will: Eliminate funds for books and fees, eliminate funding for remedial classes, cap eligible hours at 127 and ensure that HOPE scholars are prepared for college-level work by requiring these students to take a certain number of high school rigorous courses.

When discussing Georgia’s youngest scholars, Deal said Pre-K will continue to receive one-third of all lottery-funded expenditures and will remain a voluntary, universal, free program serving 4-year-olds across the state regardless of a family’s economic status.

In order to make several programmatic changes to Pre-K, Deal announced that the state will move from a six-and-a-half hour day to a four-hour day.

“By removing rest time and creating new efficiencies, we can minimize the decrease in instructional time and bring our program more in line with other states and many private preschools,” he said.

Deal closed by citing a verse from one of his favorite hymns: “Strength for today and bright HOPE for tomorrow.”

“We are taking the appropriate steps today to strengthen the HOPE balance sheet, ensuring that future Georgians are afforded the same great opportunities as today’s college and university students. Make no mistake, even after these needed reforms are implemented, Georgia’s invaluable HOPE will endure and continue to set Georgia apart.”

Other changes to of note:

Pre-K
Georgia remains one of only four states to provide a universal Pre-K program
Adds 5,000 slots to address the Pre-K waiting list in the state. Currently there are around 9,000 on the waiting list in Georgia.
Increase of transportation funds.
Increases extended day funds by 4.5 million, tripling the amount currently paid for these slots for at-risk students

HOPE Grant
Requires students to earn a 3.0 GPA by the first HOPE check point, once enrolled in technical college courses
Provides that students who already possess a postsecondary degree are ineligible to receive the HOPE Grant
Establishes a firm cap of 95 quarter hours or 63 semester hours for all students.

The Georgia Lottery Corporation
Limits bonuses awarded to Georgia Lottery Corporation employees to no more than 25 percent of their base compensation and conditions bonuses on an increase in net proceeds from the prior year transferred to the Lottery for Education Account.
Lowers the commission paid to lottery retailers from an average of 7 percent to not more than 5 percent on gross sales.

Need-Based Aid
HOPE Scholarship funds will be paid in full without taking Pell eligibility into account.  Pell-eligible students will then be able to use these federal funds to cover the costs of college-going expenses beyond tuition costs.
$20M will be appropriated to the one percent loan program and Georgia Student Finance Commission will work to raise private matching funds for $10M of this investment.  These student loans can also be forgiven altogether if loan recipients become certified and teach in a public K-12 school in the STEM field.  Each year of service in the classroom will forgive one year of the student loan.

–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

177 comments Add your comment

karen

February 22nd, 2011
12:57 pm

I understand the need for changes to the way Hope is disbursed but as a Kindergarten teacher and a parent of a college student, I would much rather Pre-K be abolished than to take money from the college student. Since Pre-K isn’t mandatory, we see a huge disparity in students when they enroll in August. The ones who went to Pre-K are more prepared for school where the ones who didn’t are far behind academically.

karen

February 22nd, 2011
12:59 pm

Just saying that if Pre-K isn’t mandatory then it’s not really preparing all 4 year olds anyway.

SUSAN

February 22nd, 2011
1:07 pm

i AGREE…GET RID OF 4 YEAR OLD SO CALLED PRE-K! IT SHOULD BE CALLED FREE DAYCARE!

DekalbGuy

February 22nd, 2011
1:09 pm

What do the changes to HOPE mean for summer school? Will eligible students still receive HOPE to cover the cost of summer tuition (either at 100% or 90%, depending on the criteria that have been set)?

Karen G

February 22nd, 2011
1:15 pm

I am outraged that Gov. Deal cut the 2 hours off of the pre k day. Of course that limits learning time, but actually cuts teacher salaries by $10,000 (TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS) less. The Pre K program requires teachers have Bachelor degrees and teach by the Georgia Performance Standards. The program will lose it’s best and brightest teachers to other professions thereby creating an unfortunate ripple throughout the Pre K system. This decision will collapse Pre-K’s who depend on lottery money to stay in business, it will affect parents who will now have either pay for aftercare or quit their jobs so they can stay home with the children. I know Kindergarten teachers know the difference between a child who has been to Pre K and one who hasn’t. College kids can work to pay for some of their tuition. Four year olds can not work to help pay for their education. Stop the maddness

Gary

February 22nd, 2011
1:16 pm

Susan….I disagree. My 4 year old is currently in Pre-K and it is much more than free daycare. He is able to write his name, say the alphabet, count to 50, and tell me about shapes, animals, stories read to him, and upcoming field trips and what he learns from them. This is far more than what he could in August and he is excited about going to kindergarten and learning more.

I know not everyone agrees and there are some who use it as free daycare. However, the majority of the parents at the school we attend are really focused on the education of their child and GA Pre-K helps with that.

Karen G

February 22nd, 2011
1:18 pm

SUSAN Have you had a child go through Pre-K?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

February 22nd, 2011
1:26 pm

What are the rigorous high school courses HOPE scholars will be required to “take?”

Will the GPA-criterion subsume a minimum GPA in these rigorous courses?

Shivam Kumar

February 22nd, 2011
1:33 pm

The number one cut should be from community colleges. They pay less tuition, and yet get full hope. Take example Georgia perimter. Students recieving hope there now, recieve 4120 in HOPE, but pay 2300 in tuition, and receive the remainder as a refund check to do as they please. WIth this new plan, students at GPC who have higher than a 3.7 receive even MORE money even though their tuition is paid for already. So basically Nathan deal is telling me to go to GPC instead of UGA. smart move.

MannyT

February 22nd, 2011
1:34 pm

I can live with the basics of this plan, but two things stand out. First, the grade inflation pressures will remain and are likely to increase as students lobby for a 3.7 gpa. Second, the students that are being steered toward teaching the hardest subjects are those who have falling achievement. Not sure that is a good way to attract teachers.

Aquagirl

February 22nd, 2011
1:35 pm

@ Doc Spinks, the “rigorous” courses are laid out around p 22, or line 778 of the document Maureen linked in the first sentence.

Atlanta Mom

February 22nd, 2011
1:46 pm

Shivam Kumar
I have never heard that everyone gets the same amount under “HOPE”. If that’s the case, clearly, that’s where the funds need to be cut.

Anonymous2

February 22nd, 2011
1:47 pm

So the bottom line question is how do we fight this legislation? Afterall, this is “proposed” legislation, not a final decree…

Atlanta Mom

February 22nd, 2011
1:50 pm

Maureen,
Your concern about engineers passing on that major due to less HOPE? No way. People who want to be engineers are in a class by themselves. I know, I have one. Also, many of the students at GT lose their HOPE after freshman year as currently administered. That’s because GT has many many classes with an average GPA of 2.0.

Shivam Kumar

February 22nd, 2011
1:50 pm

I know about 5 people currently at GPC and GGC who are recieving the same amount I am at uga. It’s because they base the amount of hope on the standard tuition rate that tech, southern, state, uga etc. charge, but the community colleges charge less than that standard rate.

Local girl

February 22nd, 2011
2:04 pm

I certainly understand the need for these changes and would support most of them. However, I do think it is unfair not to grandfather current college students in for the HOPE full vs. HOPE lite. College students who have managed to maintain a 3.5 or 3.7 GPA in college should get their full HOPE, regardless of their grades in HS. This aspect seems particularly unfair to me and only serves to punish the hardest-working students. We know that sometimes HS grades are inflated because of HOPE, but I don’t think colleges have ever been accused of this. These students have definitely earned their grades and should be rewarded for it.

catlady

February 22nd, 2011
2:11 pm

What about that $20Million that will be in very low intest rate loans? Where will they cut that from? I am assuming it is taxpayer money, with an additional 10 m they hope to get donated (probably for some sweetheart Deal like taking it off your taxes) And how will they pay the salaries of those required to process it, and collect it? And what about defaults? Who will pay for those? Get ready, boys, the hand is heading for YOUR pocket!

We all know. It will be the taxpayers. Folks, you are being had. We know this is a poor Deal for the taxpayers.

$400 in cut to the private colleges! Are you kidding?

Much of this ranks right up there with the stupid pet tricks. Ill conceived, to say the nicest.

Nicely Done

February 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

@ Local Girl, if you are not happy with any HOPE funds you get, you can always decline them.

Tech Student

February 22nd, 2011
2:14 pm

If what Shivam is saying is true, it is ridiculous that we should face the same cuts as people who are receiving a rebate on their HOPE scholarship! Their refunds should be eliminated and used to fund the tuition of students who need the assistance. While this doesn’t affect me, the fact that a student who now makes a 4.0 in college will have no chance at the full HOPE because of the 3.5 they made in high school is terrible. What are these students supposed to do about this?? It doesn’t seem fair.

FBT

February 22nd, 2011
2:17 pm

Pre-K needs to go and especially the free after school daycare. I believe Karen made a valid point that kindergarten students are still entering the classroom at different levels because all students are attending pre-K.

Double Zero Eight

February 22nd, 2011
2:32 pm

Maintaining a 3.7 at Tech or UGA is tougher than
maintining a 3.7 at the smaller universities.
Some majors are tougher than others. There are
built in disparaties that most choose to ignore.

Pre-K is a waste of money. In most instances,
it is subsidized day care. There is no data to
support that Pre-K has favorably impacted the
high school graduation rate, or the number of
participants that have successfully completed
college. I doubt if the state has even tracked
this data.

Aquagirl

February 22nd, 2011
2:34 pm

No, Karen’s point was that kids who attend pre-K are better prepared for school. This means it’s not just daycare, it provides actual academic advancement. Duh.

But when you match that up with middle class welfare in the form of HOPE scholarships, guess which program people will discount?

East Cobb Parent

February 22nd, 2011
2:35 pm

I’ve never been a fan of the Pre-K. My daughter never went to pre-k but knew her letters, colors, shapes etc at 3. Our youngest attending a private Pre-K program which was only 4 hours. Both kids were well prepared for K. I think our son was over prepared as many of the kids did not know their letters or numbers. And my son was reading simple books. I realize that I may be in the minority regarding pre-k, I just have never seen the benefit.

redweather

February 22nd, 2011
2:35 pm

The money provided to HOPE Scholars varies and depends on the type of institution you are attending and your specific enrollment.

Interested Participant

February 22nd, 2011
2:38 pm

@Double Zero Eight….the state does track that data. Now, what they do with it, I am not sure. But in our Student Information system every student has to be classified as having attended Ga Pre-K or not. So the DOE has this information on every student in the system. Not sure if they doing any analysis yet or not.

future teacher

February 22nd, 2011
2:42 pm

If Pre-K teachers are going to have their salaries cut by 10K then those teachers are going to want to find K-5 teaching jobs which is going to further enhance the problems with the oversaturated job market. On the other hand, something has to be done to save HOPE. I think that college freshman should get reimbursed tuition if they mantain a 3.0 after their freshman year. That would save a lot of money from all the freshman that either do poorly or drop out.

Shivam

February 22nd, 2011
2:45 pm

future teacher
Some students cant afford to pay tuition from the beginning, alternate of your plan, if you dont obtain a 3.0 or better freshman year, you have to repay the money you recieved from hope, if you obtain that 3.0, you dont have to repay hope.

GSU Student

February 22nd, 2011
2:49 pm

I do not even remember what I made in high school. I have succeed and worked so hard for three years, and I might be getting punished for some grade I made 7 years ago!! That is totally flawed. There should be some type of grandfather clause for this scholarship (at least for the high school clause).

Shar

February 22nd, 2011
2:51 pm

As could have been expected, this Administration’s proposals are moronic. They absolutely fail to address two of the most egregious side effects of the HOPE program: High school grade inflation and the failure of many, perhaps most, students at UGA and Tech to maintain their HOPE eligibility after the first year. The GPA requirement should remain as it is (since it is relatively toothless due to grade inflation) but should be coupled with a national norm, such as the SAT, the ACT or the AP exam, to promote actual learning and mastery instead of grade manipulation at the high school level. Changing the college-earned GPA is also ill-advised, as it effectively discourages bright students from taking courses outside of their comfort zones, and instead steers them toward the easiest courses and the easiest graders. The award should also be made a reimbursement rather than an upfront payment, so that parents and students have some skin in the game, and there is a strong disincentive for students to spend their first year playing Beer Pong and then disappearing from the university, having wasted $8,000 partying.

It is manifestly unfair to yank full HOPE from those students who did not achieve a 3.7 in high school and are current students. Those students fulfilled their part of the HOPE bargain and have no means of addressing these changes now; they should not be penalized for failing to meet retroactive requirements any more than current high school students should be ineligible for failing to take whatever “rigorous” classes are mandated for entering freshmen.

Finally, Deal and his dopes have decoupled HOPE from tuition without setting any limits on tuition increases. This way, they can continue to take money away from the education budget and redirect it elsewhere (which has been the root cause of the UGA System’s massive tuition increases in the last few years) leaving students to make up the difference. Tuition and fee limits would at least temper the many hands in the Legislature that grab education dollars for personal projects. Go Fish in Oaky Woods, anyone?

Pat

February 22nd, 2011
2:59 pm

I understand the need to make changes in the HOPE program but cutting money from the students attending college will only hurt our state. The future of Georgia are these students in college and if they cannot get HOPE many will not attend. The money will not be available and having to pay loans back will not be an option. Governor Deal needs to find other ways to help HOPE. There is so much money wasted in our state that could be applied to this program.

Public & Private Parent

February 22nd, 2011
3:05 pm

Wow, everyone does realize that free/subsidized college by a state is rare…right?

HOPE

February 22nd, 2011
3:07 pm

Public and private parent
You also realize that a majority of the students choose to stay in georgia is because of hope right?

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
3:14 pm

Folks, the issue has a lot to do with the fact that the USG unilaterally acted in regard to tuition increases. The USG did this without considering OR ignoring the fact that these increases would have negative consequences in regard to subsidizing student tuition with HOPE dollars. Deal inherited this mess and, as I’ve said on the other blogs today, while I was initially upset by this, the reality is that this is the best method.

I know some of the people working on this proposal – they are all smart individuals. They are representative of some of the best minds in this state – many homegrown and graduates of Tech, UGA, State, Emory and others. The Governor’s office and the legislative leaders looked at all of the proposals, ran the models and this solution is the one that makes the most sense. If you want to blame someone, blame the University and College Presidents and the USG for enacting the tuition hikes.

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

@Shar – The governor will be tackling the USG problem soon enough. He’s not just going to let the same practices continue.

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

@Shar – also, the SAT requirement addresses, in part, the grade inflation issue.

the prof

February 22nd, 2011
3:20 pm

I see it from both ends as I have multiple children in Pre-K (currently) and instruct college students. I’d much rather we invest in getting 4-5 year olds off to a solid foundation that what I see on the other end…

Public & Private Parent

February 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

@HOPE of course I realize that. But do your really think a good student who NEEDS the scholarship will turn it down because it pays 90 percent instead of 100%? Not many will. UGA tuition is $8700. 10 percent cut means parents/students have to come out of pocket $870. Over a years time that’s an additional $20 a week that parents or students will have to make to cover the additional cost. Still sounds like one heck of a deal to me. Unfortunately my kids are in elementary school and HOPE will be long gone by the time they get to college – thus I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way…and pay.

Concerned Student

February 22nd, 2011
3:22 pm

I believe that it is completely unfair to take HOPE away from students who didn’t get a 3.7 in high school, but have such grades now in college. I finished high with a 2.97, worked hard my first year in college and currently have a 3.84. It seems unfair that although I have excellent grades in college, I will be punished for high school errors. There needs to be a grandfather clause for students already enrolled in college. Also, taking away fee money is a big thing. The fees at Georgia State are currently more than $800.00 a semester.

Tech Student

February 22nd, 2011
3:25 pm

I don’t think the 3.7 high school GPA requirement should be enacted for students currently in college or the students graduating high school this year. There isn’t anything those students can do to work for that GPA at this point. Students who come into high school once this act is in effect can know what they are working for to achieve it. Letting these high school seniors think “Hey! I’ve got a 3.5, my college tuition will be paid for! Great!” Then telling them “No, just kidding, you have fallen just short!” is just cruel.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samantha Davis, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: HOPE Lite versus Full HOPE: Less filling but more lasting? http://bit.ly/fLLXN9 [...]

Local girl

February 22nd, 2011
3:31 pm

@Nicely done – I am not sure I understand your comment, however, I will say that I do not receive any HOPE funds, and thus have nothing to accept or decline. This does not affect me personally, but I am an educator and it certainly affects students that I know. While I do not have any complaint with changing the rules for upcoming students, I do feel that it is unfair to change things midstream for students who have worked hard in college. Of course students know how lucky they are to receive ANY money from their state for college, but this is also something they were promised and have been working hard to continue receiving. I don’t have a problem with asking them to maintain a higher GPA, but if they have done so, I don’t think they should be punished for not having a 3.7 in high school when that was not the requirement that was expected of them at the time. This is impacting only the best and the brightest students, who are the ones that the HOPE scholarship was meant to help (and retain in GA schools).

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tammy Garnes and Tammy Garnes, Connie Jackson. Connie Jackson said: HOPE Lite versus Full HOPE: Less filling but more lasting? http://t.co/QUzQ7XT [...]

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
3:36 pm

I’ll admit the “midstream” change is hard, but that should tell you how dire the situation is. Again, this is what you get for electing Sonny (two terms) and Cox. Together they managed to really screw education in this state. Throw in the fact that Sonny never really addressed the USG issue and you have a recipe for disaster. This is the disaster.

D

February 22nd, 2011
3:41 pm

@Karen- You want to cut pre-k because it isn’t mandatory. Since when is college mandatory? Cut it all and give it to K-12 schools.

Top School

February 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Not worth my time. I don’t have any children.

Double Zero Eight

February 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

I bet the Georgia World Congress Center Authority will
end of wasting several hundred million dollars to help build
a new open air stadium for the Falcons.

We have our priorities screwed up in this state!

MPrice

February 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

I do think that the Pre-K program should be eliminated in full. It is a day-care. I do think the remedial college classes should be eliminated in full. If you cannot pass a college class then you should be in high school taking a class to get you ready for the college classes. I do not agree with the other changes. I think doing just the 2 changes would make HOPE balance out.

blackbird13

February 22nd, 2011
4:08 pm

@shivam

Not true. Hope pays full tuition at public colleges, but students do not keep the difference at cheaper schools. The only possible “refund” is if the book fee isn’t spent on books. You may have acquaintances who get additional grants–not HOPE– related to low income, or other scholarships, and thus they would get money back after tuition and fees are paid. I have seen account statements from GPC and GSU and HOPE currently pays the respective tuitions in full–but not any more. Check your facts.

blackbird13

February 22nd, 2011
4:31 pm

I read the bill, but I’m not clear on whether students already in college would continue to receive full tuition if they have a 3.5 or above. Surely this is the case. It would not make sense to go back to high school qualifications for those already in college.

blackbird13

February 22nd, 2011
4:40 pm

The language in the bill that would eliminate current college students with a 3.7 or above from ever being a “Zell Miller scholar” is poorly thought out. It leaves in place a system whereby high school students can come in on full HOPE, drunk and flunk out of college after a semester or two, while the very highest performing COLLEGE students get HOPE lite, as Maureen termed it. Where is the logic or fairness in that?