Speaking of a motivation for grade inflation, only high school students with a 3.7 GPA and decent SAT/ACT scores would get a full HOPE Scholarship under the plan unveiled today by Gov. Nathan Deal.
For kids with a 3.0, HOPE would cover at most 90 percent. Students who lose HOPE in college because their average falls below a 3.0 will only be able to regain it once under the Deal plan.
I can imagine a lot of parents shaking their heads right now if their kids have a 3.6 or a 3.5. A slight boost in that GPA could mean nearly an additional $1,000 a year in tuition at the research universities. I expect greater pressure on teachers for grades to earn the full HOPE.
I also wonder about the kids who have a perfect 2,400 on the SAT and a 3.6 GPA. Shouldn’t they qualify for full HOPE, or as it’s being called, the Zell Miller Scholarship? These Miller Scholars also can only regain HOPE once, and must maintain a 3.5 to keep their full ride. I am not clear from the bill whether these Miller Scholars then default to partial HOPE if their GPA falls to 3.0, which is the qualifying threshold for the partial HOPE. (See how confusing this is becoming?)
As predicted, Deal wants to cut pre-k down to four hours a day, from 6 1/2..
All the changes would save about $300 million., according to the governor.
As the AJC story states, “The proposal marks the end of two long-time promises Georgia has made – free all-day pre-K and free college tuition to public colleges if students earned and maintained a 3.0 GPA.”
HOPE serves 200,000 college students, while 82,000 children are in Georgia pre-k.
Deal also talked about low-interest loans of about 1 percent for students who can’t maintain a 3.0. The loan would be forgiven for those who teach math or science in Georgia’s public schools. One year of the loan will be forgiven for each year spent teaching.
In its response to Deal’s plan, Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. said, “The plan to maintain the full tuition HOPE scholarship for University System of Georgia students earning a 3.7 high school GPA, in combination with a minimum SAT or ACT score, and requiring a 3.5 GPA in college, builds upon the work of the Board of Regents and of the Alliance of Education Agency Heads to increase academic rigor. This recommendation will help to keep Georgia’s best and brightest in the state.”
• Decouples from tuition. Students earning at least a 3.0 will see the scholarship cover 90 percent of current fiscal year 2011 tuition rates.
• Ties future scholarship amounts to lottery revenue, not tuition rates.
• Cuts private college award from $4,000 to $3,600.
• Creates the Zell Miller Scholarship. Students with at least a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT or 26 on ACT will get full tuition at public colleges and $4,000 to private colleges. Students will need to maintain a 3.5 to keep the scholarship.
• Eliminates money for books or mandatory fees.
• Caps payout to 127 hours for HOPE scholarship and 63 semesters for the HOPE grant. Students will a post-secondary degree will be ineligible for the technical grant.
• Requires high school students to take “rigorous” classes to qualify for HOPE. This will begin this fall with incoming high school freshmen.
–Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog