Holding onto the last shreds of full HOPE in summer school

After the Legislature approved reductions to the HOPE Scholarship this session, a father asked me what he could do to minimize the financial loss since his child only had a few courses to go to graduate. My suggestion was that the student consider summer courses that would be under the old HOPE rules, which would mean full reimbursement.

I am not sure if the dad took my advice, but apparently other people came to the same conclusion as the AJC is reporting a possible spike in summer enrollment at the state colleges.

According to the AJC:

Beginning in August, the scholarship will provide less money to all but the highest-performing students.

The change means Boone would need a loan to pay for fall semester. Instead, he’s taking a full load of classes this summer, while HOPE still covers all tuition, so he can graduate early and most importantly, without any debt.

Across the state, some students, such as Boone, are rushing to get as many credits as they can during the final days of full HOPE. While final numbers won’t be in for months, colleges are seeing a modest uptick in summer school enrollment.

As of last week, Georgia Southern University reported a summer enrollment increase of more than 5 percent, and Southern Polytechnic State University is up by more than 4 percent. Georgia Tech is up by about 1.5 percent, and Kennesaw State University reported a 1 percent increase.

Boone said summer classes “just made the most sense.” If he was in school this fall, he would have faced a nearly $500 shortfall between the scholarship and his semester tuition.

“I started college thinking I would graduate debt-free because of HOPE, and this is the only way I can make that happen,” said Boone, who is majoring in finance and marketing.

Students with at least a 3.0 GPA saw HOPE pay for all tuition and provide some money for books and fees. But lawmakers revised the scholarship to keep the Georgia Lottery-funded program stable instead of allowing it to run out of money.

Starting this fall, it will pay full tuition for only about 10 percent of recipients. The rest will receive scholarships that cover 90 percent of the 2010-11 academic year tuition rates — not the increased 2011-12 academic year rates.

Georgia State University student Daniella Bass usually takes one class each summer to stay on top of her double major in sociology and political science. This summer, because of the HOPE changes, she’s taking three.

“This is the cheapest option for me, but this is not the easiest way to get your credits,” she said. “I fear I’m not going to get as much out of my classes.”

Professors and students cram a semester’s worth of learning into just a few weeks during summer sessions. Professors teach at a faster pace and students have less time to learn the material, Bass said.

About 30 percent of the students in the University System of Georgia receive the scholarship.

“I don’t want to make this sound like it’s all about me, because there are a lot of students who are in the same position,” said Bass, “but when you’re paying for college, every penny really counts.

“We’re going to miss what HOPE provided, not just tuition, but the other money, too.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

14 comments Add your comment


May 31st, 2011
10:14 am

The college my son attends had to cancel their Maymester due to budget cuts and scale back the number of classes that will be offered this summer.


May 31st, 2011
10:15 am

Kids should have been doing this all along, instead of prolonging adolescence to 5 or 6 years! My children kept HOPE all the way through, and finished in exactly 4 years!


May 31st, 2011
10:50 am

all hope did is jack was jack up college tuition and keep average students from the state of georgia out of uga in turn making them all go out of state to schools

WE lost our way

May 31st, 2011
10:50 am

Son going 9 hours this summer at UGA.He will gradute next May in 4 years while keeping HOPE.


May 31st, 2011
12:31 pm

High achievers should get the best deal from HOPE.

Neil Murray

May 31st, 2011
2:12 pm

The lottery should have increased its contribution to HOPE closer to previously mandated levels. But that’s another story. We have to deal with what is, not what might be. In that context, let’s separate the seriously wounded from the folks with minor scratches….According to the AJC, Corey Boone will graduate in December of this year and would have to come up with $500 for fall tuition if he did not take courses this summer. How burdensome is a $500 loan for one semester? How great a sacrifice is it to ask students or their families to pay a few hundred dollars for tuition even every semester? I sense that the fire is lacking in some bellies.

A Conservative Voice

May 31st, 2011
4:15 pm

@Neil Murray

May 31st, 2011
2:12 pm
I sense that the fire is lacking in some bellies.

I sense that these complainers have a bad case of “entitlement mentality”

William Casey

May 31st, 2011
4:29 pm

@Neil: I agree about your point that $500 is a rather minor “burden.” However, there are many, many expenses other than tuition associated with attending college and these are not covered by HOPE… housing (the main one), fees, textbooks (only a smal part covered.), etc. My son had HOPE last year and I still spent around $8,000 out-of-pocket. Luckily, his Mom and I began a college savings program when he was six months old. Not everyone is in a position to do that. To someone who has lost his job or house, the HOPE changes are a big deal

Really Amazed

May 31st, 2011
5:21 pm

More qualifing jr and sr high school students are going to enroll in accel programs to still get full hope and exempt first two years of college. This way you receive last two yrs of high school and first two yrs college at the same time. I am sooooooooo surprised that alot more students that qualify don’t do this!!! Georgia Southern offers this to 3.0 students that have a min 1000 in math and reading portion of sat by the end of sophomore year. This way they can start jr and or sr year at college while receiving college credit. This is a little different than dual enrollment. You live on campus and attend full time.

another comment

May 31st, 2011
7:01 pm

It is really to bad that they did not have the guts to just put the SAT/ACT, 1200 or 26 reguirement on for getting the Hope for everyone going forward. My daughter got very ill with the H1N1(Swine Flu) the First Semester of Freshman Year. She missed 7 full weeks plus of school and was in the IB program. I tried to obtain a Hopital Homebound tutor from Cobb County, what a nighmear. They only have 3 for the 100,000 plus district. They only sent one twice for less than 3 hours each time. His coffee break was more important. He didn’t know French so he skipped that. He obviously didn’t know Math 1,2, 3; because everything he taught my daughter in that was wrong. She ended up having to drop PE, for lack of participation time. My daughter still ended up with 3- B’s for a 3.0, but now it is killing her. She has worked her way back up to a weighted 3.83 GPA, but her unweighted is only a 3.53 taking all honors and AP courses. I have no doubt that she will easily score above the 1200 on the SAT. She just got sick and almost died, the county wouldn’t provided a teacher/tutor. Now she gets screwed. She will never have a grade lower than a B. It would have been different if she wasn’t enrolled in IB classes. She had an A in the PE/Health class, that they made her withdraw from. Then Ironically they have said she can make it up on-line. I still don’t get how you can do PE on-line. I asked what happens about all of the Pregnant girls taking PE and not being able to do anything but sit on the stadium seats.

College Student

May 31st, 2011
8:58 pm

I definitely saw a lot of people taking summer classes. Almost every single summer class is full at my college.


June 1st, 2011
8:56 am

The irony is that there will be some who load up this Summer to save a few hundred dollars on HOPE, and will make low grades due to the compressed schedule and lose HOPE.

C’est la vie

Hopeful Parent

June 1st, 2011
4:39 pm

Maureen-I still haven’t gotten a clear picture of how they will figure GPAs to qualify for full HOPE. I know they don’t use electives but will HOPE allow the weighted grades in AP/IB courses or will they put it back to an A being 4 points? Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

Maureen Downey

June 1st, 2011
4:56 pm

Look at this blog: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/04/25/tale-of-two-transcripts-in-gwinnett-and-dekalb-are-gwinnett-students-losing-out-on-hope/

My understanding is that AP grades are weighted, but not beyond the 4.0. for the A.