HOPE redesign benefits affluent Atlanta area grads. Should we give the most to those who have the most?

(AJC/file photo)

All of the 15 high schools graduating the most Zell Miller scholars are within about 45 miles of Atlanta.(AJC/file photo)

The day is still early, but I am already getting e-mails from folks about today’s AJC analysis of the new Zell Miller Scholarships created by Gov. Nathan Deal last year when he retooled HOPE.

The new scholarship — which only goes to college students who had high marks and high SAT scores in high school“favors those students who live in Atlanta’s affluent suburbs,” according to the AJC analysis. (The paper relied on Open Record requests to get the data)

The AJC reports:

● Schools in the five most populous metro Atlanta counties — Cobb, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton and Gwinnett — graduated almost half of the students eligible for the Zell Miller award. The proportion tipped beyond when a smaller metro county, Forsyth, was added, even though those six counties account for just one-third of the state’s high school seniors.

● Metro Atlanta students from seven ZIP codes, including those for Alpharetta, Marietta and Lawrenceville, received a total of $8 million in Zell Miller Scholarships. That’s about 15 percent of the money in the program awarded by mid-January. The average award for ZIP codes was $75,566, with some receiving far less.

● All of the 15 high schools graduating the most Zell Miller scholars are within about 45 miles of Atlanta.

A regular AJC reader sent me this note about the analysis.

For while it evidently is true from your stats that one third of those qualifying for the Zell Miller Scholarships are from a six-county area, your use of the word “favor” spins the definition of the word. Favor suggests with special advantage. Qualify – the meeting of stated eligibility requirements.

And unfortunately as a result, the use of favor gives a reader like myself who looks for our AJC reporting the news without a prejudice slant, reason to question the balance of the article. For while what you presented was well done, that statement gave me cause to look throughout the balance of the article for hidden arguments pushing for a change in the definition of the program. What I would expect and appreciate from a piece like this, is simply the giving of facts and opinions supporting the many various opinions that exist on what would serve the state best in terms of providing for its future leaders and workforce.

I am not sure that I agree that the use of the word “favor” undermines the balance of the story, but judge for yourself when you read it.

I have already stated my concerns about the fairness of the Miller Scholarships. The qualifications rest solely on high school performance. So, teens who graduated from the state’s highest performing high schools and even achieved a perfect score on the SAT cannot get full HOPE if their grade point average was not 3.7. Students who took 11 AP classes and attended highly competitive high schools but ended up with a 3.6 GPA because of their grueling course loads are out of luck. And that will not change even if those students are physics majors at Tech and maintain a 4.0 GPA there.

Here is an excerpt of Sunday’s AJC story by Kristina Torres and Laura Diamond, but please try to read the full piece before commenting:

Those most likely to afford college without the state’s financial help are benefiting the most from the full-tuition scholarship, while students from low-income homes and the first in their families to attend college are least likely to get it, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Deal defends the scholarship. His spokesman, Brian Robinson, said the governor “will climb any mountain, swim any river, cross any desert when it comes to finding ways to give every hardworking student a chance to go to college.”

Others question the way the scholarships are being given. During debate over the new program some critics argued it would benefit only a small number of the state’s students even though it is funded by the Georgia Lottery through tickets sold statewide.

The Zell Miller award pays all tuition for the state’s highest-achieving students. Lawmakers created it to counter the diminished payouts of Georgia’s popular HOPE scholarship, which is available to more students but pays less toward tuition.

Zell Miller scholars must graduate high school as the valedictorian or salutatorian, or with at least a 3.7 grade-point average and a 1200 on the SAT’s math and reading sections. While in college they must maintain a 3.3 GPA. HOPE scholars must maintain a 3.0. So far, 11,600 Zell Miller scholars receive payments through the program.

Some experts said the distribution of Zell Miller Scholarships was predictable, given that metro Atlanta boasts the state’s top high schools and the most affluent communities.

“I think this is somewhat expected, but going forward it raises policy implications,” said Alan Essig, executive director of the nonpartisan Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, which has suggested changes to the program. “How much of the limited lottery funds should go to the wealthiest families in the state? What we have are middle- and upper-class entitlements.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

346 comments Add your comment

What's the purpose and some extra thoughts

February 19th, 2012
10:39 am

Merit based or needs based ? The team that scores the most points wins the game, not the one that gains the most yards or gets the most sacks. Also we need more plumbers, electricians, HVAC techs….not more English Majors

resno2

February 19th, 2012
10:41 am

Sen. Charlie Bethel’s(R-Dalton) comments are what should be focused on.

“I would say that’s an indictment — and I’m saying this as a non-metro person — on those of us outside the metro area, that we have failed in our public education system to qualify enough people. “That’s not a reflection on the scholarship program. That’s a reflection on the state. We need to do a better job across the state in educating our children.”

Mom

February 19th, 2012
10:46 am

My daughter will graduate HS in May and will be a Zell Miller Scholar. She took those gruelling 11 AP courses, including AP Calculus, Chemistry, Statistics, Economics, and Lit all in her senior year. She made a 1500 math/reading on the SAT. She has never had a date or gone to a party–she has no free time because she studies for hours, and when not studying, does volunteer work, and participates in sports and after school activities.She applied to several major universities and received multiple full scholarship offers, including Minnesota, Loyola Maryland, Tulane, UNC, and the Colorado School of Mines–just to name a few.

She rejected all these offers, however, and chose to attend Ga Tech instead because 1) the rigor and reputationof the school, and 2) the Zell Miller Scholarship was equivalent to the scholarships she had received from schools outside the state.

I have no doubt–and I mean none-that without that Zell Miller Scholarship she would be leaving Georgia and would likely never come back here to work. In fact, we tried to convince her to take one of the other offers and leave because she has a better chance of keeping her full scholarship at any of those schools than keeping the Zell Miller Scholarship, given the current political climate surrounding it–as well as well as the likelihood that at Tech she will not meet the gpa requirement to keep it.

This is just one anecdotal example, I know, but it is exactly what the supporters of Zell Miller are saying. Without it, this state will not keep these great students. They will be lured away by other great schools.

By the way, we do not live in either of the counties listed in this article and my daughter will be one of only 4 Zell Miller scholars at her rural HS. Also, her father and I are first generation college graduates ourselves. We both served in the military to get the money for college. Our children are great students not because we are rich and hire tutors, but because we have instilled in them the values of hard work, responsibility, and the importance of education.

Abe Froman

February 19th, 2012
10:48 am

Let’s not forget…no matter how much the parents of a potential college student make, they are under no obligation to pay for their child’s education. If the parent’s aren’t going to pay for a student’s education, is it really fair to deny that student HOPE because of the parent’s income? Why punish a student because his/her parents make too much money?

All a student has to do is work hard and qualify for HOPE. Even if it doesn’t pay the full amount, there are plenty of loan options for ANY STUDENT who wants to go to college which can cover the portion which HOPE does not. Paying off college loans are a reality for many of us…it’s just part of life.

tony

February 19th, 2012
10:49 am

good and i hope the kids that are getting the scholorships come from wealthy families …. their parents are most likeley more involved in their education and they pay more in taxes , so let their kids get the majority of the scholorships , they desearve it!!! good for them!!! yea rich people!!!

resno2

February 19th, 2012
10:50 am

If the goal of HOPE and the other scholarships is to keep the best and brightest in Georgia to attend college, then making it means based defeats that purpose. If a household worked hard and is lucky enough to earn more than the ‘limit’, and then being excluded from benefiting from those programs, then, I for one, would be looking outside the state for what ever college/university can provide the desired education with the best deal. If Georgia can’t provide it then someone else can. As as the article said, once they leave they don’t come back.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
10:51 am

@resno2, But what Sen. Bethel ignores is the fact that what prevents students from his area from qualifying for Zell Miller scholarships are their SAT scores. And that is where rural systems may have their best argument.
There is research that shows the most reliable indicator of college performance and completion is high school grades — regardless of the high school — and not SAT scores, as many insist.
Here is an excerpt from I interview I had with one of the researchers in this issue:

They signify that the students are disciplined, hard working and likely to do well in college, according to the new book “Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities.”
The book stresses the importance of not only starting college but graduating, maintaining that the real payoff from higher education comes from running the last mile and crossing the finishing line.
Yet fewer than 60 percent of college freshmen graduate in four years, a tremendous waste of money and productivity.
For example, the four-year graduation rate at UGA is 52 percent; based on the 2002 entering class, the six-year graduation rate is 79.7 percent.
In sifting through data from 200,000 students at 68 colleges, the book’s authors unravel several myths, beginning with the one that the A’s in poor urban and rural high schools come easier and mean less than those awarded in tony suburban campuses.
“An ‘A’ from the fancy, affluent school is worth a little bit more, but that ‘A’ average still means something,” says Harvard research fellow Matthew M. Chingos, who co-wrote “Crossing the Finish Line” with William Bowen and Michael McPherson. Bowen is a former president of Princeton University; McPherson is past president of Macalester College.
In their research, the authors found that students with exemplary grades from weak high schools still graduate at a high rate from whatever college they attend. Whether it comes from a struggling urban school, a sparkling suburban campus or a lackluster rural one, it seems that “a grade is a grade is a grade,” conclude the authors.

Dekalb Teacher and Mom

February 19th, 2012
10:52 am

I’m with Peter. I am a teacher and my husband was laid off 3 years ago as a home builder. He started his own home renovation company and works around the clock. Although he is busy, his current income is nowhere near what he was making during the construction boom. Yet the only scholarship my daughter is eligible for is the Miller. We qualify for nothing. If we were a minority it would be a different story. They need to keep the income cap off because the academically qualified poor and minorities get all kinds of assistance. Those of us who are not poor enough to qualify for other scholarships, but don’t make enough to actually afford the tuition, are the people who need the help the most, regardless of our zip code.

jsmtih

February 19th, 2012
10:52 am

good point peter i have heard many people in the same situation as you say the same thing.

j rev

February 19th, 2012
10:52 am

They should have had a provision in the original Hope agreement, that when lottery revenues decreased the original earnings cap would be put back in place. There was a 100k cap when I went to college in state that kept me from receiving Hope, but I really don’t see what the big deal is. If you meet the criteria for the Zell Miller scholarship, then you are easily eligible for other awards.

KayJ

February 19th, 2012
10:52 am

Its not the wealthy. Here we go with wealth envy again. Its the kids who have parents that want their kids to succeed. A 2 income family making 100-140K a year is not wealthy. We have sacrificed to keep our kids out of government schools. They both are succeeding. They both were not brain washed to be a voter for life and they actually think for themselves and they think out of the box. Not just hard work pays off, but it also has to be smart work!

Patrick Malone

February 19th, 2012
10:52 am

“Georgia’s newest public scholarship was intended to benefit all of the state’s best and brightest college-bound students. At least that was the plan when Gov. Nathan Deal created the Zell Miller Scholarship last year. Instead, it benefits students from Atlanta’s affluent suburbs.”

AJC reporters bias? Who says those kids are not Georgia’s best and brightest?

Sam the Sham

February 19th, 2012
10:53 am

Leaders of these poor communities have consistently and repeatedly failed to improve those communities. They simply complain and beg for hand outs rather than changing the culture of cyclical failure into one of success and progression. To the victor go the spoils.

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
10:54 am

Leave it to Peter to kick things off with both the race card and lower income people don’t work card. According to Peter, a non-white doesn’t deserve assistance because by definition they cannot be as accomplished as a white. Also, a low income family is that because they don’t work. So Peter, should every job pay $40K/year? If you have a two-income family that’s an $80K annual income which isn’t rich but more than enough to get a child through college even if some loans need to be taken.

The reality is that every business owner and corporate manager will tell you there’s no way in Hades every employee of every job in every industry is going to get paid a minimum middle class salary.

Oh yeah, your rant also neglects to mention the white families from non-metro Atlanta districts who are not getting their share of the pie either. Is your advice to them to pack up, move to metro Atlanta and get better paying jobs?

Anthony

February 19th, 2012
10:55 am

This article is nothing but prejudiced fluff.

And the person writing it is a fool.

No one could get a perfect score on the SAT and only get a 3.6 even if they took 10 AP classes. I guess the writer thinks that their fictional idiot savant can only be a genius one Saturday taking a test. Or is it that the SAT is set to give advantage to affluent white students?

With all things wrong in our community, I feel that the writer should look for something more meaningful to write about.

Boohoo, high schools in Valdosta only produce champion football players, but not a kid that can achieve a 3.7 gpa. Go ask a physicist if they would like some of that NFL money.

Anthony

February 19th, 2012
10:57 am

Oh and considering that AP classes are weighted that fictional student would have been smoking meth to only get a 3.6 with 10 AP classes.

And they must of been on a different planet to be able to shove 10 AP classes in one year.

sebastian

February 19th, 2012
10:57 am

Wealthy people can afford to pay for their children’s education. Scholarships should be given to low-income students only who meet the academic and financial criteria. Some students are brilliant but can’t afford to further their education who deserves the HOPE scholarships.

jsmtih

February 19th, 2012
11:00 am

is there any statisitc out there that shows how well kids do that come from failing schools or schools that are not ranked very high in college compared to kids that come from top high schools

Anthony

February 19th, 2012
11:00 am

One last thing.

Any person in this country that could make a perfect 1600 on the SAT and get a 3.6 would get a full ride scholarship from every college in this country and the NAVY would be calling 4 times a day trying to recruit the little rascal into the NUC program.

In the future try thinking about what you write before you write it.

Michelle-Middle School

February 19th, 2012
11:02 am

All scholarships under HOPE should be merit based, and the criteria should be adjusted yearly based upon the ability of the fund to pay for the scholarship. In essence the entire program should be on a balanced budget. Who cares where a student goes to high school? Who cares how much money the parents earn? Give scholarships to those who have earned them through work and dedication to learning. Giving a scholarship to anyone who earns a 3.0 average is a JOKE. Grade inflation is rampant due to the NCLB policies that have resulted in ridiculous policies throughout the state mandating that teachers cannot give zero’s, that every student must be given the opportunity to retest infinite numbers of times, and anything that keeps the real estate values high and the superintendent in the throne. Teachers need to revolt, as well as the parents.

Chip

February 19th, 2012
11:04 am

This article shows the absurd bias of the AJC and sounds like it was written by someone better suited to occupy an encampment at Woodruff Park than to write about successful students. Children who work hard and maintain a high GPA should be rewarded for their efforts regardless of the zip code they live in. Could it be that more students from the “affluent suburbs” are receiving the schlarships for reason other than thier locale? Consider the fact that a two parent household in a school district where teachers care about the children may produce better educated students than in a one parent household where the mom is on walfare and the teachers have to battle the students and the district they teach in on a daily basis.
When did we become a society where certain people believe they are “entitled” to priviledges just because of the economic, religious, racial, or social status?

mike

February 19th, 2012
11:04 am

Leave it to government to try and fix something that was never broken. I was the beneficiary of the initial Hope. It was simple graduate with a B average and your books and tuition were paid. Without that benefit I would have never been given the opportunity to attend. I graduated college and went on to law school to better myself and provide for my familly. Taking these benefits away is as big a governmental scam as Emission Testing. And for what it is worth my SAT scoring was pitiful.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
11:05 am

@Anthony, No offense, but I had a son who scored a perfect 800 on the verbal and a 780 on writing and yet had a B in at least two English courses. Why? Because he didn’t think some of the homework assignments and projects were worth his time and effort. And his teacher rightfully gave him zeros for the missing assignments, which pulled down his grades. Not sure if you know too many teenagers but I know several kids with perfect or near perfect SATs and less than 3.6 GPAs — which you call impossible — because they, too, either didn’t bother to turn in assignments or turned them in late.
Maureen

Reward Achievement

February 19th, 2012
11:05 am

Why should kids who have worked diligently be penalized because their out-of-metro peers can’t reach the standard? If the HOPE/Zell Miiler programs were established to keep the best and brightest in Georgia, penalizing the best and brightest doesn’t seem right. A student making a 4.0 gpa who can’t make a 1200 SAT or 26 ACT is not among the best and brightest; her school inflates gpa. Out-of-metro schools need to examine why their top students are not making the scores on SAT/ACT. Should we reward kids because of they are poor, come from a certain part of the state, or because they are the first in family? Or should we reward kids based on hard work and achievements? Let’s reward our high fliers regardless of family income and/or address and perhaps they will stay in Georgia and make it a better place for all.

j rev

February 19th, 2012
11:06 am

Anthony –

Under your reasoning, those eligible for the Miller Scholarship don’t need it because “every college in this country and the NAVY would be calling 4 times a day trying to recruit the little rascal into the NUC program.”
Those who qualify for the Miller qualify for a multitude of other scholarships, so why not revert the Hope back to the original earnings cap it had until lottery revenues increase?

hl

February 19th, 2012
11:07 am

We’ve come a long way since the Hope was founded. I would not want the law to pass today in its current form.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
11:08 am

@Anthony, That is not true, either. I know at least one kid with a 1,600 and a 4.3 GPA from a top private school who was turned down by Harvard and Yale and waitlisted at some other top Ivies. I am not sure if you are aware of the competition now for the very top schools, but the Ivies reject valedictorians routinely.
Maureen

From the Wall Street Journal:

A record 16.7 million students are expected to enroll in college next fall, 1.2 million more than five years ago. The U.S. education department expects up to 18.8 million enrollees eight years from now. At the same time, ambitious high-school students are loading up on advanced-placement classes and taking prep courses to boost their scores on college-admissions tests, heightening the competition.

California’s Pomona College says one-third of the students it accepted for next fall scored the maximum 800 on either the verbal or math part of the SAT admissions tests. North Carolina’s Davidson College says one-quarter of its new class has a combined SAT score over 1500.

With the glut of high-scoring applicants, colleges are paying closer attention to factors such as community service, artistic talent, leadership — and summers. “There’s more demand than we can accommodate at the selective institutions. What do you do? You need some tie-breakers,” says Barmak Nassirian of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, a Washington, D.C., trade group.

“These days, just having perfect grades and perfect SAT scores does not guarantee anything,” says Victoria Hsiao of IvySuccess. “It’s the complete package that colleges are looking at.”

jess

February 19th, 2012
11:08 am

“Should we give the most…..” ? I was under the impression that the students who recieved the scholarships EARNED them. This should either be a merit based program or an entitlement. Mixing the two will never work.

ABC

February 19th, 2012
11:08 am

I’m tired of this. We work very very very hard to give our children the best possible chance in life. We live in a very modest house in a good area so that we can send our children to good schools. We sacrifice a lot to give our children this. So now we are going to be punished because we work hard? Maybe we should move to Valdosta where we could afford a huge home for cheap and our children can get a crappy education..but with a guarantee that they will get scholarships.

William

February 19th, 2012
11:10 am

I think we should punish the kids because their parents are also high achievers.

Why don’t we just flush all the money down the toilet and hand out scholarships to any kid with at least a C average, as long as their parents are on the government dole?

At least then we can guarantee another generation of Democratic voters to serve their Masters.

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
11:10 am

Patrick,

Those students are the best and brightest but the problem is a systemic one. The deciding factor here seems to be SAT scores, not GPA. There seems to be plenty of students from all over the state making a GPA to qualify for HOPE or Miller. So if we focus on the SAT, which kids are more likely to do well? I’d say the ones with the greatest resources for test prep tutoring. Here is where the underlying conditions appear.

Metro Atlanta families have the greatest access to SAT test prep resources. Many metro Atlanta schools have test prep programs within the school or a district program at a central location. There’s also many commercial tutoring options available in metro Atlanta compared to rural areas of Georgia. It’s pretty obvious that the highest income is pooled specifically in the north metro counties so they are most likely to take advantage of every resource available for test prep.

The playing field is not fair when the deciding factor is a standardized test where one group has a fundamental advantage over another and it has nothing to do with the student’s motivation or ability. I’d be curious to see how students perform on the SAT if there were no test prep service and their knowledge measured strictly based on what they’ve learned in school. As a person who grew up in metro Atlanta and continues to live here and doing quite well, I’m simply stating the truth as I see it. My child will benefit from the advantages of living in metro Atlanta and having enough family income to support his needs in school. I’m just calling it like I see it and not making excuses to protect my personal status.

mike

February 19th, 2012
11:11 am

Again go back to the beginning and see how simple it was. The ACT and SAT benchmark scoring is absolutely useless when determining who is or is not ready for college elgibility.

j rev

February 19th, 2012
11:13 am

And for the people arguing the false merit/entitlement dichotomy. In neither way is this program an entitlement program. Even with a earnings cap, these awards are given based on criteria that is above the average. The kids who earn Hope are not getting an entitlement but earning it through grades and hard work.

Michelle-Middle School

February 19th, 2012
11:13 am

@Maureen Downey, OK! I guess you think it is OK for a student to ignore an assignment or turn it in late. Under current policies, we cannot give ZERO’s! People like you are the cause for this ridiculous mandate. Tell me how your “fantastic” kids are going to fare when they miss a deadline at their new job? How about the “unemployment line!”

Greg

February 19th, 2012
11:14 am

Maureen.. no offense, but school coursework grades are much more important than an SAT test.
Most kids can be taught the test.. but when a college digs into coursework, they see the real level of understanding and commitment.
Hey the world still needs Arby’s managers…

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
11:16 am

@michelle, Did you actually read my comment? I said my son “rightfully” earned zeros for failing to turn in his homework. I have no problem with that, and, when I wrote about the no zero policies in schools a few weeks ago, I also expressed my concerns with such policies. My point to Anthony was that high-scoring SAT kids can also get Bs and lower.
Maureen

Here is my post on no zero policies:

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/02/03/no-zeros-in-school-any-longer-but-arent-there-well-deserved-zeros/

rascal

February 19th, 2012
11:16 am

Why don’t we get the government out of the business of funding college altogether. The result of the government subsidization of college is simply a higher price and incredible inflation for a college education. Additionally, using a gambling scheme to fund college is ridiculous. It taxes mostly the poor to the benefit of the wealthier in our society. How does that make sense to the liberal mind? Oh yeah, I forgot, most of the university employees are liberals, so they get the benefit of the scheme.
So follow the tax dollar going to the lottery proceeds for HOPE program:
Georgians earn roughly $4.5 billion in income, pay taxes of roughly $1 billion
They then spend that money on the $3.4 billion on tickets
The lottery system turns that $3.4 billion in revenue on
$2.1 billion in prizes that then get taxed at 45% to over 50%
$880 million goes to colleges, substantial portion to kids that are not ready for college due to failure of k-12 public schools
$400 million goes to pay for operating expenses.
So, to make it clear, in order to get $880 million for HOPE
Taxpayers earn $4.5 billion and the government and its agencies get a total of approximately
$2.5 billion in “taxes” of various kinds
Seems like a horrible way to fund higher education versus the good old fashioned way.
You pushed your kids to do well in schol, made sure you saved some money to help them through college, they picked a college they could afford, but most importantly, if they were going to spend their own money for going to college, they worked hard and really had an appreciation for the value of that extra education.
Also, college tuition inflation went from about 20% per decade prior to 1980 to over 45% in the pat two decades
Government involvement causes all service affected to rise.

Oh My!!

February 19th, 2012
11:18 am

kids from metro Atl do better because there is an emphasis on getting good grades and doing well on SATs. Parents in these areas can and do insist on their kids doing well on the exams. they are sending their kids to SAT prep classes. you can’t knock the hustle.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
11:21 am

@Greg, I agree. Please see my earlier comment on the research on how high school grades, regardless of the quality of the high school, have a greater relationship to college completion, which ought to be our goal. I have always maintained that what cannot be measured by tests is self-discipline and drive. In 25 years of reporting, I have found that those are the two most common qualities in highly successful people.
Maureen

R. Lopez

February 19th, 2012
11:27 am

If X county collects X amount for hope, then the lottery board should give x amount in hope scholarships to that county’s students. We don’t shift property tax around and property taxes have a lot to do with quality of the schools in each particular county. If poorer county residents buy more lottery tickets then their children should get the proceeds. Just a thought! Have a wonderful day and love your neighbor.

Michelle-Middle School

February 19th, 2012
11:28 am

@Maureen Downey, I apologize for missing the hey word in your post. Personally, I feel the only criteria should not be the SAT. Grade inflation has rendered the 3,0 average criteria invalid. However, I do see the lower income families having great difficulty in affording SAT Prep classes. This would put them at a real disadvantage. The state must find a middle ground on this issue. Perhaps a large percentage of scholarships should be for SAT only, and the rest should be awarded to each high school for their award to students. Affluent schools would probably maintain a larger share of the scholarships, but all highest performing students would be included from every school in the state.

D

February 19th, 2012
11:33 am

Those evil rich folks are in the news again. How dare they teach their children about setting goals and stressing the importance of education! And for them to expect to be rewarded for such behavior, what nerve! I know what the solution is; drive around all the inner cities in an ice cream truck and throw money around like it belongs to somebody else. This way anybody who wants it can get it freely! No strings attached. This makes about as much sense as the talking heads that want to redistribute the wealth.

Dalton Dawg

February 19th, 2012
11:34 am

Here we go again. The Zell Miller scholarship should be for the children with the best academic resume. Period!! I agree with “Mom”. I have a Freshman @ UGA this year. When he finished HS He had a GPA of 3.85. He took 7 AP courses. (my sons HS only has about 10 AP courses) His Senior year he took 5 of these AP courses. My son made a 1300 on the Math/English SAT and a 29 on the ACT. He also took the AP tests and started UGA with 26 credit hours. We never had to ask our son to study. He had the self displine to study. He studied throughout the week not just the night before test.

My wife and I make too much money for any grants. The only thing our son qualified for was the Zell Miller. He worked hard for this scholarship and continues to work hard in college. He made the Deans List his first semister.

I have no problem with the current system. The kids who work the hardest get the Zell Miller scholarship money. What is wrong with that? Don’t make the system into a welfare program. “If you work the least you get the most”. but I can probably see this coming as politicians will be involved in the decision making not the real hard working Georgians!!

Digger

February 19th, 2012
11:34 am

Dark haired parents tend to have dark haired kids. Tall parents tend to have tall kids. Brown eyed parents tend to have brown eyed kids. Intelligent parents tend to have intelligent kids. Intelligent kids tend to do well in high school and make the grades necessary to go to college.

JF McNamara

February 19th, 2012
11:36 am

This was completely predictable. Everybody knew ahead of time where the high SAT scores were concentrated. Poor minorities are buying lottery tickets and paying for affluent non minorities college educations.

Its the antithesis of Christianity which Republicans hold so dear. Using gambling (sinful) to take money from the poor and give it to the rich. How does that mesh with living a wholesome life and helping the poorest amongst us? It’s rooted in selfishness.

It makes sense that successful people will have more scholars, because its likely that their parents are smart. It’s not fair, however, to carve self serving rules like the SAT requirement.

Digger

February 19th, 2012
11:37 am

Anyone read Pat Buchanan’s new book, ‘Suicide of a Superpower’?

Mitch

February 19th, 2012
11:39 am

Scholarships should reward those who achieved in high school.

It is correct though, that the fact that the Zell Miller Scholarships are predominantly awarded to Atlanta area affluent teens identifies a flaw in the State of Georgia’s priorities. Specifically, the value placed on quality education for all. Parents own responsibility too, but the parents have an edge in the more affluent communities since they are likely well-educated and understand much of the bureaucracy and how to navigate it. This puts lower-income parents at a disability. Also, when low-income families’ needs require all parents to work, this puts further constraints on the time they can give to influencing improved education in their public school system.

Therefore, rather than cutting higher education funding (which Deal did last year to significant degree) – influencing tuition increases for all, Deal should be focused on investing in ways to improve lower income school districts (lay off the underperforming teachers, eliminate tenure & put children’s education first rather than the teacher’s job security) and find ways (even if it’s tax increases) to keep tuition from increasing across Georgia’s Public Colleges and Universities.

JeromeMJ

February 19th, 2012
11:40 am

So what the brilliant political minds have determined is that we should give money to those who already have full scholarships outside of the state so that they will stay here? I thought that the HOPE and other lottery based help was to help those who needed help… those on the brink of achieving and those with limited funds. It has been shown that High School achievements do not translate to adult achievements. Many are late bloomers.

It is sad that we have moved away from helping those who need it to giving perks to those who donate the most to politicians. We must gamble with gambling money on the future of those who need it the most. HOPE should be for anyone who makes 2.5 without regard to the SATs. And HOPE should not be available to anyone making over $150,000 annualy. The plain truth is they do not need the money except to have better vacations and eat at more expensive restaurants.

Oh My!!

February 19th, 2012
11:49 am

I don’t think there is a class warfare going on. This is called get into college and get an education. This scholarship is more about people that position themselves to win the scholarship. I’ve always contended that if there is a will, there is a way. Poor and disadvantaged groups tend to stress athletics as a way of getting into college. If you must play the race card, I overheard a family from the burb say white kids are gravitaing to lacrosse since basketball and football are currrently dominated by fleet footed brothers.

Wow

February 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Jerome,

Those poor “poor” kids. They don’t realize that we want them to succeed so later in life you and yours can take their money. Scholarships are merit based.