Technical college in Georgia enrollment dips. Is reduced HOPE the reason?

The consequences of reducing HOPE Scholarship awards are being felt at the state’s technical colleges, according to this AJC news story.

It will be interesting to see the long-term impact of the cuts to HOPE across all campuses in the state.  I am not sure anybody is monitoring in a cohesive fashion, but it would be helpful in future debates to know the outcomes.

The story reports:

After three years of record enrollment, the number of students attending Georgia’s technical colleges dropped by more than 12,000 this fall and leaders say a reduced HOPE scholarship is partly to blame. Technical College System of Georgia officials are still analyzing the data. But with about 75 percent of the system’s students receiving HOPE, the state-funded scholarship program’s influence can not be underestimated.

Lawmakers overhauled HOPE last spring, decreasing the aid students receive to keep the program viable for future recipients. Tens of thousands of 4-year college students arrived on campus this fall on the hook for hundreds of dollars in tuition, books and mandatory fees HOPE once covered. Now, the reduction in HOPE benefits are being felt on technical college campuses.

Technical colleges charge $75 a credit and HOPE provides $60.75. While the out-of-pocket expense may seem small, technical college students tend to be older adults with families to support. “Once students got the bill and saw what they had to come up with some didn’t have the money and it scared them off,” Commissioner Ron Jackson said Tuesday. “To be honest, I thought we would have had a bigger decline.”

The 12 percent drop in enrollment can’t be attributed just to the scholarship and grant program. The system anticipated fewer students because of a system-wide switch from quarters to semesters that went into effect this fall. The system is teaching 103,762 students, a decrease of 12.4 percent from last year, according to the seven-day enrollment count. Jackson thought enrollment would drop by as much as 30 percent because of the schedule and HOPE changes. When the University System of Georgia switched from quarters to semesters in 1998, enrollment dropped by about 3 percent.

From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

43 comments Add your comment

Hooper

September 28th, 2011
9:51 am

Now none of our graduates will be able to do anything.

carlosgvv

September 28th, 2011
10:25 am

And yet, certain other pundits still insist we are the richest nation in the history of humanity. If so, where is all the money being held?

November 6, 2012

September 28th, 2011
10:30 am

The reason enrollment is falling is, 1) our high unemployment rate due to the POTUS’ failed economic policies and, 2) why would you spend money you don’t have to try to get a job that’s not available because of Number One Above? Until Obamacare is repealed, Obama is soundly defeated on November 6, 2012 and our Antiquated Tax System Fixed, unemployment will remain in the stratosphere and our economy will remain lousy, thus no money to go to school because there’s a lot that HOPE doesn’t pay and I’m assuming that parents do not want to go into debt to finance an education that may, or may not produce a job that has the potential to pay off the hugh debt. Economics!!!!!!!

Teacher Reader

September 28th, 2011
10:50 am

Older people are realizing that they may not get a job if they take the classes, and graduate. Even if they don’t have a job they will be stuck further in debt, if you have children does that make any sense, especially if your home value has dropped and you owe more on it than it is worth. I really think that blaming HOPE is a stretch.

student

September 28th, 2011
10:58 am

@November

What does Obamacare have to do with the unemployment rate?

Also, there are many government scholarships being offered to those who are unemployed, so they can learn a skill/trade and be more prepared to enter the workforce.

Scott

September 28th, 2011
11:20 am

While this year’s enrollment is down due to a number of factors, many students will want to consider technical colleges as a cost effective way to earn core credits towards 4 year degree at larger, more expensive schools.

catlady

September 28th, 2011
11:36 am

November: In times of high unemployment, enrollment tends to skyrocket, so this drop is significant. Unfortunately, you chose to show your ignorance and get a chance to blame Obama, and denigrate the health plan, all in one. A three-fer!

mystery poster

September 28th, 2011
11:36 am

@student
Don’t feed the troll…

Halftrack

September 28th, 2011
11:48 am

This ain’t hard to figure out. With the economy so down, spendable money so tight, layoffs, etc. ; the increase in cost of tuition, etc. the overall increase in cost above the hope scholarship has begun to eliminate many borderline students. Also any new taxes or costs of living excerbates the condition and makes it riskier to continue or start. Things will get worse before they get better.

Ole Guy

September 28th, 2011
11:52 am

Quite possibly, the answer to this anomaly may lie in the fact that Georgians…that is, Georgia parents…have become somewhat spoiled in the notion that their kids would be able to attend some sort of post high school education on OPM/Other Peoples’ Money. Now that that source is quickly diminishing, so also is the parental fervor. Just look at the example in the article: A $75 technical school credit may actually incur a $15 out-of-pocket cost…GEE FREQIN’ WIZ! HOW DAMN AWFUL THAT’S GONNA BE!

I know, the ole “times are tough” arguement is bound to creep into the retort…BS! Passing any public school, one is forced to gaze upon acres of new-to-recent model vehicles IN STUDENT PARKING LOTS. At day’s end, one is forced to traverse the line of new-to-recent model vehicles as they await…ON PUBLIC THROUGHFARES…the arival of their little ones who simply cannot WALK, or take the TAX-PROVIDED SCHOOL BUS. So don’t start crying the “times are tough” refrain…sure, times are tough. If ya gotta actually pay $15 for a $75 credit, JUST FRIQUIN DO IT, and stop whining.

November 6, 2012

September 28th, 2011
12:05 pm

@student

September 28th, 2011
10:58 am

@November

What does Obamacare have to do with the unemployment rate?

It has everything to do with the unemployment rate – It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room. That’s the main reason companies are not hiring, it’s gonna raise their benefits cost astronomically.

@catlady

September 28th, 2011
11:36 am

November: In times of high unemployment, enrollment tends to skyrocket, so this drop is significant. Unfortunately, you chose to show your ignorance and get a chance to blame Obama, and denigrate the health plan, all in one. A three-fer!

I blame Obama simply because………IT’S HIS FAULT and I choose to denigrate the health plan BECAUSE IT NEEDS DENIGRATING AND REPEALING

Reminder to “student” and “catlady” – Vote responsibly on November 6, 2012. It’s the most important presidential election in any of our lifetimes.

Bob

September 28th, 2011
12:20 pm

Way to go Georgia! If those “freeloading off of HOPE” students can’t afford an education then they don’t deserve one, right? Is that the message we want to send? Well that is the message we ARE sending in Georgia. I’ve seen many posts that talked around this issue and hinted at this message but I’m going to say it directly. So we are to pay taxes to support OTHER people but if we need something, like help with our kids going to college then is it a “too bad, so sad, you don’t deserve anything” story? So typical.

Dekalb taxpayer

September 28th, 2011
1:06 pm

If all that is keeping you from getting the training needed to support yourself for the rest of your life is $14.25 a credit hour, something is wrong. Get a part-time minimum wage job or get your cable turned off.

Ole Guy

September 28th, 2011
1:20 pm

Good points, Bob, but let’s be perfectly honest here. It’s a matter of misplaced priorities among parents. For far too long, parents have successfully badgered and politically strong-armed the educational powers that be to award UNDESERVING kids the grades necessary to qualify for the HOPE. In this regard…yes…these kids are NOT DESERVING of educational assistance. Because grade inflation has become the norm in education, parents have come to view HOPE monies, also, as the norm/as the expected “reward” for their kid’s simply sitting in a chair. At the same time…I know what bad economic times mean…from what I see, there are not all that many people in REALLY dire straits… tough times to be sure, but not to the extent some/if not many would like to portray. With multiple late model cars in driveways, boats, ATVs, etc, etc, etc, in front of some rather lavish homes reminescent of “Tara-like” oppulance, I find it incredulous that a parent would kick up a fuss over $15 for a $75 credit. These parents…not all-that removed from the self-satiating mind sets of a generation steeped in instant gratification…are, like their kids, SPOILED. They truly feel that they, and they alone, are deserving of only the best…like the TV commercial goes, “I WANT IT, AND I WANT IT NOW”!

Like my grandmama used to say…”YOU MADE YOUR BED…NOW LIE IN IT”!

mystery poster

September 28th, 2011
1:25 pm

Let’s keep in mind: HOPE is NOT taxpayer money, it’s lottery money.

Libby

September 28th, 2011
1:38 pm

The tech schools were getting super fat at the HOPE all you can eat buffet! I taught at one and listened to students there talking about which certificate they were going to do next, NOT what kind of job were they going to try to find. Some of these people supported themselves by attending tech schools….HOPE, Stafford, Pell, Food Stamps, Peachcare, SSI, Unearned Income Tax Refund, Free Cell Phone, Reduced Cost Housing, Help with Utility Bills all amounted to a nice little bit of money for some, so why not freeload off HOPE forever? I heard students who had done welding, cosmetology, business courses, nursing, etc., etc. Tech school students don’t have the grade requirements that college students have and until recently could have done one program after another after another after another. Too many did not want to work.

Until minimum wage jobs pay more than being on Welfare/Peachcare/Medicaid/sitting on your butt at home, some of these people have no plan to work. They have no desire to earn their way, nor the way of their families.

Been there, seen that.

Jack

September 28th, 2011
1:39 pm

Reduced HOPE is the reason. Real simple. I really don’t understand why a light is not shown on the Lotto administrators’ salaries.

Mom of 3

September 28th, 2011
2:14 pm

Ole Guy….. You are correct! Agree with both of your posts.

funny

September 28th, 2011
2:19 pm

really all kidding aside… prehaps some may be wise to view the film V for Vendetta… to really grasp what some ppl have as an end game play for american society

catlady

September 28th, 2011
3:04 pm

However, mystery poster, every one of those HOPE “scholars” is supported by taxpayers to the tune (at uga) of about $18,000 per year. At the “lesser schools” the taxpayer is less. So any kid on HOPE who would not have ordinarily gone to college is costing you big time. You see, tuition is subsidized significantly by the taxpayers for every in-state student.

catlady

September 28th, 2011
3:05 pm

November :Take off your blinders. There is PLENTY of blame to go around!

Clayco Parent

September 28th, 2011
3:36 pm

Libby hit the nail on the head…..I also have heard firsthand accounts of tech students being “professional” students as a means to support their five kids and to get out of working by instead going to class, doing just what they have to do to get by to continue receiving their subsidies. At a previous workplace of mine, there was an actual “study group” of these students whose main priority was to share strategies on getting HOPE and applying for any and every student loan available using bogus information and no intention of ever repaying the money. What changed? Have the changes in HOPE affected the tech gravy train? Are these folks getting caught? The “financial aid” offices of these tech schools need some random audits!

Fred

September 28th, 2011
3:41 pm

“However, mystery poster, every one of those HOPE “scholars” is supported by taxpayers to the tune (at uga) of about $18,000 per year.”

Bull puckey. Quit making things up. HOPE is funded entirely by the lottery and a years tuition at UGA for academic year 2011 is $18180. https://www.admissions.uga.edu/article/tuition-and-costs-of-attending.html

You post is senseless.

BTW: Did catlady just get name jacked there?

SAWB

September 28th, 2011
3:44 pm

Actually a lot of Tech College students are older adults who no longer qualify for the Hope. It is a shame that a forty year old guy gets let go after twenty years in manufacturing and can no longer get re-trained for another industry. This really should be more of a priority than paying for some spoiled eighteen year old brat to study Art History so they can “find themselves”.

Browncoat

September 28th, 2011
4:12 pm

SAWB, many adults can still qualify for the HOPE grant (not the HOPE scholarship) if they enroll in a dilpoma or certificate program. The only exception to this is adults who have already obtained a bachelors degree.

Car Salesman

September 28th, 2011
4:47 pm

I got a job for all you HOPE drop outs.

Straight Nate Deal

September 28th, 2011
4:57 pm

What the real “Crooked” Nathan Deal is thinking…

On the bright side, cutting hope even further skews the dynamic of poor lottery participants subsidizing rich kids education, and it widens the education gap between the rich and the poor. Its a winner on all points, and I got to appear “responsible”.

The Genius

September 28th, 2011
5:13 pm

Rocket Science:

No promise of a decent job = No incentive to attend Technical College

The answer:

If people are able to get jobs after attending technical school that pay a livable wage, enrollment will increase.

Eric

September 28th, 2011
6:05 pm

The HOPE Teacher’s Scholarship – even in the critical shortage fields – was suddenly cancelled in 2010. Most of us are now paying out of pocket or big loans elsewhere.

It would really help if the university system would eliminate some of the “frills” currently being charged as athletic fees, activity fees, new stadiums, parking lot upgrades with all kinds of new and unnecessary signage, fancy student centers and bookstores, endless computers and large screens, technology fees, etc. This could all be cut significantly, if it’s education we want (rather than entertainment).

Random Thoughts

September 28th, 2011
6:44 pm

Isn’t HOPE paid for by lottery participants? If so, shouldn’t we get more people to buy lottery tickets? Also, isn’t this particular “tax” optional?

Libby

September 28th, 2011
7:18 pm

Forgot to add,,,tech school kids do not have the same grade requirements as college students do, tech school requirements are lower for entry and lower for staying in tech school. When I first started teaching at a tech school, before HOPE, my students were NOT capable of doing the kind of work I was charged with preparing them for. They did NOT have the basics….math, English, grammar, spelling, etc. They were making horrible grades. I was called in and told if they showed up, they passed. I know too many folks who have hired office workers, secretarial students, etc., who have gotten people who were either clueless or too sorry to work.

catlady

September 28th, 2011
7:49 pm

However, it costs more than tuition to pay for the cost of the courses. Tuition (or hope) pays about 1/3 of the cost of the courses. The rest is picked up by the taxpayers. For each student, the taxpayers chip in, whether the students are serious students or just there to test the waters.

Tom

September 28th, 2011
9:31 pm

Keep raising cost and giving raises to the highest payed employees during a down turn in the economy this is what you get. The lottery was approved by voters in georgia with the belief that it would go to education not pay raises for the highest paid people in the system. Check it out and you will be surprised by the results. Playing politics at all government levels is beginning NOT to be a joke!

OTOH

September 28th, 2011
11:34 pm

75% of the students in the Technical College System of Georgia receive HOPE? How can this be? 75% of them cannot have earned a 3.0 in HS. So what are the HOPE criteria for Tech schools?

Fred: Only out-of-state students pay $18,000 tuition to attend UGA. Georgia taxpayers pay about $10,000 for each In-state student. HOPE, from the lottery, picks up most of the remaining $8,000 for those In-state students who qualify. HOPE has nothing to do with the state subsidy; it existed long before HOPE and is there for non-HOPE In-state students too.

EducationCEO

September 29th, 2011
11:30 am

Those of us working in the technical college system saw this coming, especially in areas where there are a lot of unemployed people or first-generation college students. But like in K-12, no one listens to those of us at the bottom.

November 6, 2012

September 29th, 2011
12:13 pm

@catlady

September 28th, 2011
3:05 pm

November :Take off your blinders. There is PLENTY of blame to go around!

Never wear ‘em, catlady and yes, there is plenty of blame to go around; however, it starts at the top and the top is where it needs to be corrected. Your anti-american president is causing a lot of problems that will take years to un-do, if ever.

William Casey

September 29th, 2011
1:14 pm

THE GENIUS makes a strong point on which I would like to expand. HOPE supports two general types of programs:

1. EDUCATION which promotes the general improvement of the individual as a person and citizen as well as providing the opportunity to work in a variety of occupations (it is very common for college graduates to work in fields unrelated to their undergraduate majors.)

2. TRAINING which provides specific knowledge and skills required to perform a specific job. Though there is probably some crossover, in most cases the graduate is only prepared to do one thing.

People pursuing the latter tend to be more practical and short-term focused, as well they should be. The only way in today’s economy that I would invest the TIME (IMHO, more important than the $) in such a program would be if the institution were able to link my excellent performance in school to a specific job afterward. Otherwise, such institutions have no motivation to be realistic. Why train 50,000 air-conditioning system technicians if only 5,000 jobs will be available?

Libby

September 29th, 2011
2:01 pm

Yes, the requirements for HOPE are lower at tech schools. Where colleges require a 3.0 to get in and be maintained, tech schools require (if I remember correctly, and I certainly may not) a 2.0 to get in and keep HOPE.

MUCH, MUCH different standards. I haven’t kept up with high school grad requirements lately, either, but I think everyone graduates with at least a 2.0, since the D has been thrown out and a 70 average is equivalent to a 2.0 overall average.

Libby

September 29th, 2011
2:02 pm

Perhaps this clarifies….

A C is the lowest passing grade one can receive in high school and the lowest C is a 70. Anything below 70 is an F or failing grade.

Ole Guy

September 29th, 2011
3:11 pm

Genius, you present a good point, however, let us not forget…there are no guarantees in life. By simply going to trade school, gaining a degree in whathaveyou, or tacking all sort of credential onto a resume guarantees absolutely nothing. With all respect, Genius, to your participation in this rather important issue, your remark smacks of the over-simplicity which “snake oil salesmen” sell, every day, to the unwary and, often-times, to the desperate…”GO TO MY SCHOOL AND YOU”LL EARN BIG MONEY”. Why, after all, are there so many folks, with advanced degrees, working in occupations far far below their (assumed) capabilities while many, with far lesser educational backgrounds, enjoy…perhaps not a lavish lifestyle, but one of comfort.

After all is said and done, the crucial elements to (what we might euphamistically refer to as) success are RIGHT BACKGROUND (education/experience) and plain ole timing…right time/right place. Some may call this dumb luck…others, life’s losers, often refer to this as “it’s not who you know, it’s who you (expletive)”. I assign such crucial tenets to this philosophy as TENACITY, FOLLOW-THROUGH, and ATTITUDE.

Say what you want…tough economic times notwithstanding, there are many opportunities out there. They may not be in your backyard/you may have to chase them outside your “comfort zone”, be it in terms of geography, entry level status, or any number of criteriion. Get some sort of training/education, post-high school, to be sure. Just remember: THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES.

Chip

October 1st, 2011
2:31 pm

Did the Technical College System Einstein’s mention their decision to convert from a quarter system to a semester system? Not necessarily a bad idea but when combined with HOPE changes….they really should not whine! At least they will need less money and staff.

Alex

October 1st, 2011
2:36 pm

The quality of a technical school education in this state is not very good. Some of my worst employees came out of the technical schools with degrees. Just not the same as college. They should stick to welding and cosmetology.

Ole Guy

October 1st, 2011
3:45 pm

Alex, you just may have a good point, however, let’s not forget that tech schools, essentially, teach kids just enough to “be dangerous”…to be “qualified to learn”. This is where you, the employer, has the unstated duty to train and develop the budding technician. The degree-issuing tech school is, in my humble opinion, simply attempting to glamourize the product…the training and certification. Many trade schools seem to “tip toe” into the training, teaching the kid/student stuff which is superflous to the “meat an’ taters” of the primary intent of the training.

Unfortunately, some of these schools become “diploma mills” of sorts, cranking out graduates by the bushels. The eager students will, most certainly, do what they have to in order to gain licensure/the diploma. However, in my experience, the truly motivated will go just a step or two beyond the minimum expected/required. As a prospective employer, you may do well to visit the training facilities; guage, for yourself, the caliber of student and of the school.

Many employers may expect the recent tech school grad to be a sybject matter expert, of sorts. This may or may not be a realistic expectation. Good luck!