Interesting data out of today’s joint House and Senate hearing on the shrinking HOPE Scholarship.
The only speaker was Timothy A. Connell, president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which manages HOPE. The Georgia Lottery funds HOPE and pre-k.
With lottery revenues failing to keep pace with rising tuition and growing demand, Gov. Nathan Deal last year made drastic and controversial changes to HOPE, and those changes were retrofitted to students already in college.
For most recipients, HOPE tuition payments fell 10 to 15 percent. The payments could fluctuate each year based on how much money the lottery raises and how much students must also pay for mandatory fees.
Only one group of college students — those who graduated high school with a 3.7 or higher GPA and scored at least 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 on the ACT – earn the assurance of full tuition every year regardless of lottery coffers. These students are Zell Miller Scholars. The Zell Miller honor is also extended to all high school valedictorians and salutatorians.
Out of all HOPE recipients in the state, only 14 percent met the criteria to be Zell Miller Scholars.
We know a little bit more about where those students attend school:
–86 percent of Zell Miller Scholars attend Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia. Throw in Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Georgia College and you know where 90 percent of the Zells are.
–If the state remains committed to aligning HOPE payments to available lottery revenues, the non-Zells, the HOPE Lite students, will pay more out of pocket for college tuition and fees than they receive from HOPE in 2016.
–Despite the contention of many folks here on the blog that top students don’t stay in Georgia for college, Connell says about only 30 percent of high school valedictorians leave to attend out-of-state colleges. Seven out of 10 stay in Georgia for college, a number that Connell says has stayed consistent over the last three years.
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog