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.

mountain man

February 19th, 2012
11:56 am

The fact that most of these kids are from wealthy families is merely a side affect of the criteria. The criteria is that only the best and brightest get the Zell Miller scholarship. What if you said that most of the kids who recieved it were black, so it must be racially biased? It is only biased towards those kids who make the grades. Yes, we know that richer kids have access to tutors, etc. but they still have to make the grades. That is why I proposed a SAT requirement for the HOPE cholarship, to counter the effect of grade inflation.

Shar

February 19th, 2012
11:56 am

Ms. Downey, my daughter too blew off some of her assignments and paid the price. It only takes a few. She graduated from a good school with a 3.65, 1530 on the math/verbal sections of the SAT (and another 800 on the writing), ten APs (eight 5s, 2 4s) and received several offers of full cost scholarships from universities she didn’t want to attend and waitlists or rejections from Ivies. She was in her first year at UGA with a 4.0 when Deal changed the HOPE and she will never qualify for a Miller scholarship. @Anthony, your insistence that this cannot happen only shows that you don’t know the realities of the college entrance system.

I think resno2’s observation on Senator Bethel’s comment is absolutely true: The fact that students from outside the metro area are not qualifying for the HOPE or the Miller is indeed an indictment of the K-12 education they are being offered. If Governor Deal wanted in truth to “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” he would return funding to both the K-12 and the college-level budgets. Mouthing platitudes while redirecting money and permitting the tuition rape that has gone on for ten years at the research universities is baloney. He would also release data on the performance of HOPE scholars in this state, with analysis of what happens in college to these ‘best and brightest’, what factors are common among those students who excel and among those who lose it after a year, and how students who do lose it can best be supported in re-igniting their college careers. If, say, HOPE only paid an amount equal to the full tuition at the local community college of those students who require remediation before taking college-level courses, or perhaps for those students who have the minimum 3.0 but who cannot score at least a 1100 on the M/V of the SAT, would that lead to a better long-term success rate? We don’t know because we don’t have the data, and Deal is not interested in success, only political viability.

I have to disagree with Ms. Downey’s assertion that GPA alone is a good indicator of college success. The grade point averages in Georgia have been so warped by parental and political demand to achieve HOPE that they are essentially meaningless. We must add a qualifying indicator that is nationally-normed to the GPA to take the pressure off teachers to inflate grades, and the SAT or the ACT are the most convenient options.

mountain man

February 19th, 2012
11:57 am

How about doing a study of what race of students get Pell grants. If it happens to be black, it must be racism!

tony

February 19th, 2012
12:00 pm

Curious to know why Zell Miller has not made a statement in regards to the lottery and the changes made to the program since its existence?

Tom Bop

February 19th, 2012
12:00 pm

The reason the Hope Scholarship was created was to stop the “brain drain” from the state. Studies showed that most college grads settled within a short distance of where they went to college, and most of the brightest students left Georgia and never came back. The Hope Scholarship was intended to provide an incentive to keep them here. It was never intended as a welfare program, although the grade inflation that followed it’s enactment made it seem that way. The test of whether it’s working or not is how many bright capable people has it kept in the State of Georgia to work and provide a basis for the future.

the prof

February 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

No offense Maureen, but I have advised hundreds (yes hundreds) of kids and am constantly amazed at the high number of 3.5 GPA’s that go along with sub 900 SAT’s.

mountain man

February 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

Shar – Amen!

A reader

February 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

From the story:
“Lindsay Gribble will attend Georgia Southern in the fall, and while she is on target to graduate with a 4.0 GPA from North Murray High in Chatsworth, near Dalton, she may not get a Zell Miller Scholarship. She’s not good at standardized tests and is struggling to reach the required 1200 SAT score on the reading and math sections.”

A student who has a 4.0 but cannot receive a score of at least 1200 on the SAT is not “the best and brightest”. And while this girl will likely complete college and succeed in life, she simply is not the “best and brightest”. The Zell Miller scholarship is designed to keep the best and brightest in the state of GA for college. And I thought this story was about the scholarship, not the likelihood of a student finishing college in 4 years. Those are two issues are separate in my opinion.

There are a lot of resources on the internet for SAT prep. This is an important test and students who are serious about attending college should start the prep work in the 9th grade. Many school in the metro area offer SAT prep classes as an elective, and for many students this is the only class on SAT prep they will take. I do not know if rural schools offer a class like this, but they certainly should consider doing it if their student are graduating with 4.0’s but cannot score a 1200 on the SAT.

mountain man

February 19th, 2012
12:06 pm

“Using gambling (sinful) to take money from the poor and give it to the rich.”

Nobody is “taking” money from anyone – the Lottery is a totally voluntary enterprize. If it did not exist, people would be gambling in other ways, and there would be no money for HOPE. And we are NOT “giving it to the rich” – we are giving it to those who are good students (with the eception of thoe with 3.5 GPAs and 900 SAT scores).

Shar

February 19th, 2012
12:06 pm

@mountain man, good point. If we ran a national survey of where the funding money for Pell grants comes from and then insisted on having a proportional distribution, the whole system would fall apart. Pell and nearly all other public scholarship programs are either means-based or target kids by race or family background (first generation to attend college being most predominant), and thus are clear transfers of money from those wealthy enough to be paying taxes to those who fall below set economic lines. HOPE is not means-based, and would never have been approved by the voters if it had been. It is earned by the student, not predicated on his or her parents’ income.

Cris

February 19th, 2012
12:07 pm

My cousin is a teacher, and has taught in several counties in Georgia. She states that county to county in Georgia the educational system is not equal. in rural counties students often received older outdated books. So the disadvantage begins early.
Secondly, minority students do not get scholarships unless they have high GPAs, or athletic scholarships, music schlorships etc.. the same thing any race must qualify for. If you are below a certain level of income a student of any race may qualify for a grant. The USA needs more college grads or we will not be competitive on the world stage. We don’t just need Ivy league 3.7 GPA graduates, we also need 3.0 grads. The people who purchase lottery tickets come from all over Georgia, with varied degrees of intelligence, and they have paid the tuition for hundreds of thousand of Georgia students. Nathan Deal is short sighted, and once again the south will remain behind in education, because of Nathan Deal’s changing of the “Hope” rules.

mountain man

February 19th, 2012
12:07 pm

“I…am constantly amazed at the high number of 3.5 GPA’s that go along with sub 900 SAT’s”

That is what you get when teachers give A’s for attendance and not for mastery of the ubject.

Really?

February 19th, 2012
12:09 pm

Well, as I’ve said a million times… our kid would not qualify for Hope if there is any sort of income cap in the ranges that are being proposed. I am a lawyer, and my husband is an engineer. Our kids have similar aspirations, have near genius level IQs and make straight As. None of them will attend college in a state such as Georgia if they do not have a strong financial incentive to do so. It sounds like many people don’t want kids like ours around in Georgia universities anyway, so I guess everyone wins if they move on to a state that has a more highly educated populace….. and stay there. We can join them when we retire b/c we’d like to get the heck out of Georgia anyway.

I expect lots of comments along the lines of, “Good riddance.” Fine with me – happy to get my kids the heck out of here.

KIM

February 19th, 2012
12:17 pm

The grade averages were too low for HOPE the first time around. 80 was not nearly high enough. Now, people are complaining. I say HOPE goes to those who have HOPE to get out in the normal amount of time for a degree. Don’t make it out? Pay for it. But, if you are making the grades, you WILL get out, so there is no problem. The students who prove themselves in HS are the ones who ought to get the HOPE. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. That might help some lazy bones, hangers on get the idea: performance is “where it’s at”…not anything else. Some may mature, grow up and do better. But, it makes me ill everytime I hear of another do nothing athlete get a better shot at a scholarship than an academically inclined student. Most non-HOPE scholarships go to valedictorians and leave almost all others out. HOPE was/is a blessing for performers. I say raise the academic requirement, provide for all who meet that.

Kiteman

February 19th, 2012
12:20 pm

OMG!!!! Stop the presses!!!! Georgia students who are at the top of their classes and do well on the SATs are getting ACADEMIC scholarships!!!! Isn’t that the object of such scholarships???? Other students were given ample opportunities by the federal/state public educational system and utterly failed to produce results that qualify them for academic awards. I have a bold idea: Why not eliminate taxpayer-funded education altogether???? That way, the playing field is level for everyone, the disadvantaged who get a free ride now, the struggling middle class, and the lazy, spoiled children of the wealthy. Let’s see who bothers to educate themselves. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
12:21 pm

Shar,

HOPE did have an income cap when it was approved.

Jerry Eads

February 19th, 2012
12:23 pm

I am not surprised much at the stupendous naivete expressed over and over again above. Somehow, people cannot resist hanging onto the fantasy that grades, and particularly SAT scores, perfectly correspond to talent and drive. While they are RELATED to those traits, they are also very strongly rleated to income and priviledge. That the Miller scholarship would go to any BUT the richest and least needy was as sur a bet as the sun coming up in the east, and as AYP being impossible to meet by 2014. The POINT of the original scholarship was to lift up the state to make it more business competitive by enabling the most needy yet deserving students a shot at college instead of manual labor – for which Zell realized there was diminishing demand. The most likely benefit of the present structure is to the bimmer dealers supplying toys for those upper-income parents to bestow on their kids, rather than wasting it on that nasty old tuition. And they’re laughing at the rest of us all the way to the bank with their slice of the lottery. P.T. Barnum sure had it right.

Gabrielle

February 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

The issue of to whom one should be granted the HOPE scholarship borders on class-ism; yes, another -ism. If a student works diligently and puts off his/her social life to excel while other who may be economically less fortunate engage in weekend social functions, that is a choice made by the student. Let’s face it, why would we offer a scholarship to one that holds a 2.0 GPA (or lower) vs. one who holds a 4.235 GPA ? Governor Deal is in the process of creating a scholarship for those in the less economically advanced groups of students, but even saying that, ALL students should earn their scholarships and realize that it is NOT an entitlement

zeke

February 19th, 2012
12:27 pm

They should be based totally on merit! Only those with the highest qualifications should receive lottery scholarship money!!!

R. Lopez

February 19th, 2012
12:27 pm

Mountain Man,

The demographics for the US are as follow: 63% White, 12% Black, and 16% Hispanic, the demographics for Pell Grants are as follows: 63% White, 12% Black, and 13% Hispanic. Poor kids have a disadvantage regardless of race and should be given a hand if possible. That is the Christain way as I interpret the Bible, I could be wrong. I still love you no matter how you think.

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
12:28 pm

Why do people on this blog (like Gabrielle) make up stuff? Since when has HOPE or Miller been granted to kids making a 2.0 GPA?

MD

February 19th, 2012
12:28 pm

VOTE REPUBLICAN YOUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE!and that goes for all hard working people THAT WANT TO PROTECT THEIR FREEDOM AND LIBERTY.

Oh My!!

February 19th, 2012
12:32 pm

@Really? like you, many of us have the “Huxtable” type situation that would prevent us from qualifying from a Hope scholly should they place income parameters on us. “Therein lies the rub.”

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
12:38 pm

Also, HOPE and Miller are entitlement programs. Lottery money is funding these programs and I doubt very seriously that anyone has been granted funding less than or equivalent to the amount they’ve spent on lottery tickets. So no, students don’t 100% earn anything, they qualify for it based on rules established. Earning your higher education would include paying for it out of your pocket while making good grades.

juny

February 19th, 2012
12:40 pm

More class-warfare from the ajc. nice.

Why is the author complaining? The law is objective. I’m sorry if the low income don’t qualify but they have technically the same chance as everyone else. If they don’t make the grades or scores then they are done. There are plenty of “need-based” scholarships already.

And you have to use SAT scores because not all high schools are created equal. If you base it only on grades all you’ll see is a bunch of meaningless grade inflation just so more students qualify. I don’t see how the author doesn’t see that.

Rural Georgia Educator

February 19th, 2012
12:45 pm

All this “us and them”, “advantaged vs disadvantage”, “rich vs poor”, “urban vs rural” isn’t necessary. There is plenty of HOPE to go around if the State simply had the fortitude to invest it in those who have prepared for college and are committed to earning a college education!

If applied, a few simple principles will solve the problems with HOPE and ease the pain for all. Unfortnuately, HOPE has become an entitlement and politicians can’t stay away from an entitlemen during an election year any more than a junky can stay away from crack or an alcoholic can stay away from booze.

HOPE principles that will work:

Principle 1 – Merit before means.

If the student hasn’t demonstrated commitment through usual and customary measures like high school achievement (classes taken and grades earned) and aptitude (SAT/ACT), his/her chances of toughing it out through 4-yr academic experience or a 2-yr technical experience are remote.

Merit before means – because if it becomes a means only program, the entitlement character will be reinforced, not minimized. The student, and the parent, will conclude that they deserve it regardless of their willingness to earn it. There truly is no free lunch!

Principle 2 – Pay after performance, not before!
Pay HOPE only after performance occurs. Retain the 3.0 HS GPA and a modest SAT/ACT requirement to establish initial eligibility. When the eligible student arrives at college, or technical school, enroll them in classes and make them sign a promissory note. At the end of the semester HOPE pays 90% of note for all classes in which they earned an A, B or C. They pay for all D and F classes, and they do so before they take any more! Pay only 90% as an incentive to finishing (graduating). If you’ve ever built a house you pay the contractor 90% of each draw, retaining 10% until the end to insure he’ll finish. Why not do this with students. Think about it – make A’s, B’s or C’s and the State pays 90%. That’s a great deal! When you walk across the stage and graduate, you get the other 10%!!! What a deal! What an incentive. If at any time the cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, give them a one semester probabtionary period. If they don’t bring it up – cut them off and give the money to someone who is prepared and committed.

Do these simple things and there will be plenty of HOPE for all Georgians who have prepared and are committed. Plenty for all rich and poor. Plenty for black and white? Plenty for rural and urban? Plenty! Plenty!

Don’t forget that currently about 1/2 of all HOPE recipients lose it after the first year – not prepared and not committed. And, oh, by the way, don’t dare drop the academic requirement that was added last year for technical college students. Preparation and commitment is as important for technical students as it is for academic students.

bilbo799

February 19th, 2012
12:47 pm

If you can’t get a 1200 on your SATs (math/verbal), I don’t want the state to pay your college tuition. To those who complain about SAT tutoring, most studies indicate tutoring has a very modest effect on scores. But even if it made a huge difference, a 1200 is a VERY easy mark for reasonably intelligent high schoolers to make with or without tutoring (and excuses about test-taking are just silly). Getting 90% or more of your college tuition paid is so incredibly generous — the least you can do is make a 1200 SAT. MY GOODNESS!

Shakeesh

February 19th, 2012
12:50 pm

Your premise is that you are “giving” something and that you ought to be “fair”. How about HOPE as a reward for academic performance? What about the power of the HOPE to keep the best and brightest in the state? If HOPE becomes another government program to create equity ( what ever that is) then the best students will be going out of state again and the impact of the HOPE will be lost.

I know the AJC needs to find a way to prop up the Georiga democrats to keep them from being utterly irrelevant but the endless drumbeat from the AJC about the HOPE is tiresome.

Elwood

February 19th, 2012
1:05 pm

I have my fourth child finishing the Atlanta Public school system. What a challenge it has been to get kids educated in our current school system. Gerogia’s K-12 results continue to stay at the very bottom of the ranking nationally, educators stay under tremendous pressure to do more with less, and parents who do keep their kids in the public system continue to pay more and more for their kids to participate in school activities because all of the schools have less funds because of budget cuts. . Parents either pay to play or programs get cut at their respective schools. Yet, we continue to prop up the Hope Scholarship and now the Miller Scholarship.

Why don’t we have the lottery funds which are supported primarily by lower to middle income workers in this state benefit those to basically pay for it by using the lottery money to improve k-12 and make Hope and Miller Scholarships available for the kids who truly need the money . Georgia needs to improve the Public system first and foremost.and then have money available for those kids who achievement high academic success and need help to go to college, Everyone wins in that scenerio. I really get a kick out of talking to parents who send their kids to private schools for 12 years and then think the Hope Scholarship is such a big deal. Do the math, it doesn’t pay out come close to paying out..

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
1:06 pm

@tony. Not sure about his health.
Maureen

Grady Gram no more

February 19th, 2012
1:07 pm

Keep your eyes on the Macon Miracle, aka Dallemend’s Detriment…if he has his way all the students from here will be going to China.

EJ Moosa

February 19th, 2012
1:14 pm

A student has no legal claim to the income or savings of their parents for a secondary education.

So how does one justify the expectation that the parents will indeed contribute based on their incomes and then eliminate those students for consideration for these scholarships?

Unless you are going to create some new rights for students of wealthy parents, you cannot.

Brunswick Tech

February 19th, 2012
1:17 pm

yes sir….who cares about poor people? If they were meant to be any thing they would have money…I love being Republican !! GO Zell and Deal…..being poor must suck ..too bad…now fix me a Latte’

Hillbilly D

February 19th, 2012
1:18 pm

A 2 income family making 100-140K a year is not wealthy.

What is or isn’t wealthy is a matter of opinion but that figure is 2-3 times what the average Georgia household makes.

I’ve never been a big fan of Zell but I wonder why nobody has gone up and asked him what he thinks of all this. The Lottery was his program to begin with, after all.

Peter

February 19th, 2012
1:25 pm

I think it’s time people stop looking at incomes and focus on achievement. Standardized test scores are vital to keep teachers in lower income areas from “fudging” grades. Look at all of the people who received hope scholarships in the cheating scandal that didn’t deserve them. It took away from others and depleted enough money reserves to cause an overhaul of the whole hope system.

KnowItAllYankee

February 19th, 2012
1:27 pm

It seems like it is politics as usual in the south. How is this scholarship to be funded, with lottery proceeds. I bet that the percentage of white, affluent monies played in the lotteries pales in comparison to lower, class non-caucasions. I thought that the country was done with riding on the backs and down trodden? The South will never get over the “WAR” and that is beyond sad. If a student, regardless of race or economic status should be afforded the same opportunity if they wish to expand their education. As long as the state holds back the less fortunate it will only go to increase the welfare state. They don’t get it in the gold dome. Of cource they do if you have a wad of cash you wish to spend to those most deserving representatitves. Deal is just courting his rich firends so he can assure his re-election. Hasn’t the country learned its lesson from our current situation in Washington, another term and we will just have to tell the last one to leave to turn the lights off.

Kim

February 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

I’m glad that we are finally getting something for being responsible citizens. We work everyday, pay our mortgage and bills and can’t get any assistance. Thank God for this scholarship.

sct

February 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

Ok, I’m an elementary school teacher, so if you look at the research why some kids achieve and some don’t, here are the facts….kids who read 60 minutes or more on their own every day AFTER school score in the 85% or higher on achievement test. Kids who read less by 10 minutes increments go down by 15 to 20%. For ex, a kid who reads 15 minutes a day normally score in the 20 to 30%. These are the facts. Look it up. Tim Ransinski from Kent State has many articles on struggling readers. It is also a fact the more books, magazines, newspapers a home subscribes to, the higher the reading level of their kids. The parents value reading and provide lots of literature to them therefore the students read better. And yes, they can afford to subscribe to them due to income. If a student reads very well then they score higher in all areas on test b/c they can comprehend and have the vocabulary. Low income kids can over come this but not many are taken to their local libraries after school. These are facts not my opinion. It all depends on what happens at home after school. Teachers only have them 8 hours a day 180 days a year. Then there is also the “digital divide.” The higher income provide their children with more technology at home. There is also a big divide in schools due the area of GA where the students attend. You have to go back to the younger years to see where the gaps start forming. Even Dolly Parton knows that ireading is important. She give free books to the low income kids in the rural area she grew up in to instill the love of reading at an early age.

I was the 1st generation in my family to go to college. My 3 siblings went to technical school also. My dad was handicap. My mom made sure we went to the local library or had the old book mobile come by our house in the summer. Grades, reading, responsibility were important at my house growing up in the 70’s. Now my twins are in college, (yes they got HOPE in 2009) applied for over 25 scholarships but were awarded zero due to our income. My youngest will graduate this May and receive the Zell Miller Scholarship. She kept her 3.9, worked 20 hours a week, played sports, took a few AP, and made the minimum on the SAT/ACT to qualify. We will have 3 in college this fall and none of our kids qualify for any other scholarships. But they’ve worked for their HOPE and it started in Kindergarten with high expectations.

So don’t punish kids based on income. Everything else we do in school w/ testing are performance based. Set standards high, give early help and you’ll have more achieve. I do like the new scholarship from Gov. Deal b/c it instills these same values to work hard even if you are poor.

Maybe legislation might want to go back and research how to close gaps in elementary school and NCLB or RACE TO TOP is NOT the answer. Talk to the real teachers in the trenches. Do some educational research and not make opinionated assumptions.

Yes, I am passionate about my job and believe all kids can learn but you have to look at the facts and make improvements early on in order for them to be successful by high school.

Joseph

February 19th, 2012
1:57 pm

This is one of those “no duh” answers… Of course the most affluent get the benefits of HOPE because they make the grades to be able to obtain it. This is a hit piece from a liberal to again try to divide Georgians through class warfare… Hopefully folks will see through the bs and pay this no attention… But honestly what do liberals want to do? Shell out millions in HOPE money to kids that will never gradute from college let alone make the required grades???

Cobbian

February 19th, 2012
2:05 pm

I thought the purpose of the Hope program was to expand opportunities for a college education. I am all for that. I truly do believe that Hope scholarships should be means tested.

Yes, that means that families who fall on that edge of making a little too much to qualify and too little to afford to pay all the costs – they will suffer. I was one of those parents, because my child went out of state. There were scholarships, some student loans, my child had a campass job, but it was an awful lot of parent money that got thrown in. So, I drove the same car for 10 years, took no vacations for years.

I didn’t make “sacrifices” – I made choices to produce an outcome that I valued enough to make it a priority. It was worth it.

At least college for my child was within the realm of possibility. There are too many kids in families who would have to give up food on the table, rent, clothes on the back in order to meet tuition. That “hope” of the Hope Scholarships was meant for them.

Chris

February 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

Is this a joke? Darn, you mean people who work hard and have parents who work hard will get rewarded? THEY SHOULD. Poor people and thugs out there with one parent already get PLENTY of special treatment. If a kid gets good grades and has better grades then someone else, they should be rewarded.

Middle Class Mom

February 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

I think the article and statistics shown here tend to mislead the readers. Those students are eligible to scholarship is not because of income, it is because those students have earned it. Many people live in those area do not have enough money to send their children to private school. They work hard and live in modest home. Sending children to college is still a huge financial burden for them. Hope could be the only scholarship that their children can get, because their income is not “low” enough. Why not said those zip codes also have the best CRCT score or SAT within the whole Georgia? There are many other meaningful statistics you can get,why it has to be connected to income level?

Don’t punish the kids. When they earn it, they earn it. True middle class families really need Hope scholarship, too.

Come on AJC

February 19th, 2012
2:21 pm

Maureen…please title your blog post appropriately…”HOPE Redesign benefits the students with the highest grades and SAT scores”.

Hugh Beaumont

February 19th, 2012
2:24 pm

I also bet there is an inverse relationship between lotto sales and SAT store. . And, anyone who plays the lottery with any regularity is flat out stupid, and has no credibility to say how any money needs to be spent, for you have proven yourself to be incapable of making an intelligent decision regarding finances.

If the community that spends the most on lottery tickets put that money in the bank to save for their children’s education….Well, we might not even be having this conversation. It is about choices, decisions and discipline, so if your zip code lead in lotto sales, just shut up.

Georgia Southern Mom

February 19th, 2012
2:26 pm

HOPE only FAVORS the students who have made the GPA and test scores to earn it no matter where they live or their race. Your headline should have said HOPE favors students who are academically prepared not affluent. These counties or schools with the highest performers should have not come as a surprise to anyone, just look at the schools with the highest CRCT and EOCT scores; most of them from the same counties.

Real World

February 19th, 2012
2:36 pm

The Real World does not care about your need. The Real World will only reward you based on the MERITS of your results. Keeping an entitlement mentality for our post secondary eduction will only hurt Georgia and all of us in the long run.

Beverly Fraud

February 19th, 2012
2:38 pm

@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

But George Dubya Bush got in…my but the world indeed is a strange place.

Patricia

February 19th, 2012
2:41 pm

I wrote to one of the author’s to question the statistics presented in the article and look forward to understanding them better. According to an article written by Jim Galloway on February 16, 2012, 8721 Georgia graduates were awarded the Zell Miller Scholarship. http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/02/16/african-americans-make-up-3-6-percent-of-2011-zell-miller-schoolarship-recipients/ Yet, todays article by Kristina Torres and Laura Diamond list 12670 Zell Miller scholars in just the top 5 counties listed. Further, according to the Cobb County Schools website there were approximately 7500 graduates in the class of 2011. The data listed in today’s article states that there are 3169 Zell Miller scholars in Cobb. Is it possible that 42% of Cobb high school seniors from the class of 2011 received the ZM scholarship? If the numbers presented include students other than the class of 2011 it is not made clear in the article. Moreover, the statistics presented do not paint the entire picture.

Joe Meigs

February 19th, 2012
2:45 pm

Little of this matters. 30% of those going to UGA will get into the univeristy because of their skin color. I emailed Tom Landrum at UGA and asked him for the grades/SAT scores of whites vs black students. For years the differences have been stunning. Now Mr. Landrum refuses to share this information. He claims UGA does not even run those figures anymore. He said he will provide those figures if I pay UGA $25 an hour to run them, but he has no idea how long it will take to run them. This article puts down white kids who work hard. The AJC has known for years of the racism at the admissions office at UGA….and has ignored that story. Shame on the AJC; shame on Mike Adams; shame on Tom Landrum; and shame on UGA. And by the way, my child got into UGA. Finally, Tom admits he has the figures for black students and provided them….but won’t provide the grades/SAT figures for white students. Guess why????

DHD

February 19th, 2012
2:54 pm

People who live in affluent neighborhoods are probably smarter than those who don’t and would qualify for scholarships more than those from non-affluent neighborhoods. Makes sense to me.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
3:00 pm

@Patricia, It was applied retroactively so Cobb students already in college received it as well. It did not start with this year’s graduating class, but was applied to all current college students receiving HOPE who met the new, higher criteria for the Zell.
Maureen

InAtl

February 19th, 2012
3:06 pm

@Jerry Eads: “The most likely benefit of the present structure is to the bimmer dealers supplying toys for those upper-income parents to bestow on their kids, rather than wasting it on that nasty old tuition. And they’re laughing at the rest of us all the way to the bank with their slice of the lottery. P.T. Barnum sure had it right.”

Wow, someone has a very big chip on their shoulder. For once, this is a program designed to reward achievement; yet liberals like Jerry just can’t stand the fact that it might benefit a lot of those evil, nasty rich kids. Typical.

Lisa

February 19th, 2012
3:09 pm

I want to clear up a fallacy that many of these posters are incorrectly assuming to be true: SAT prep classes may be nice, but they are completely unnecessary to doing well on the SAT. My only preparation for the SAT was buying a soft-cover book that had some old tests in it for me to practice. (These are available at public libraries, too, if buying the book is too expensive for some.) I scored in the 1400s and got into both of the Ivy League schools I applied to. I did the same thing to prepare for the LSAT, and scored high enought to get into one of the top 10 law schools. When I studied for the bar exam, instead of paying thousands to take the BAR-BRI review class, I bought someone’s old BAR-BRI materials for a few hundred dollars, studied on my own, and passed the bar the first time. Doing well on standardized tests doesn’t require lots of money — it just requires perseverance and hard work.

Shakeesh

February 19th, 2012
3:11 pm

Maybe the AJC writers could get all wee-weed up with this:
The HOPE and the Zell Miller scholarship are merit based. OOOOOOOHHHHHHH
Need to end that quickly.

What will happen to our society if we reward hard work and acccomplishment instead of race and gender? Oh Dear!!

Proud Dad

February 19th, 2012
3:11 pm

My daughter was a Valedictorian and accepted by MIT and CalTech. She was turned down by others – Stanford, Princeton… that’s okay. MIT offered enough scholarship assistance so that it was actually cheaper than GA Tech with in-state tuition, without the HOPE scholarship. This made a big difference in my daughter’s decision, and she now maintains a 4.0 in her second year at Tech.

What other scholarships did she qualify for at Ga Tech? None. Zip. Nada. All colleges have very similar means testing programs, and apparently I earn enough that any other financial aid, at least with any help from the school, is out of the question. While I’ll grumble about that because I don’t make that much and am living from check to check, the point is that there are ample scholarships out there for those whose parents are unable to afford college – plus parent/student loans.

Meanwhile, I shake my head as to why she didn’t get an offer for a free ride, as So Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M and others offered her just that.

Obviously, Tech is the better school, but she was deserving of even more than she got, in my balanced opinion. For once, there’s been some pretty reasonable discussion on an ajc thread. Score this one for HOPE works as intended.

Hugh Beaumont

February 19th, 2012
3:12 pm

Maybe we should value rapping skills in evaluating intelligence? Instead of an SAT, we should have rap-offs like they did in the M@M movie…no that won’t work, a white kid won that too.

Hugh Beaumont

February 19th, 2012
3:14 pm

Now,the other article about salaries of scholarship funds is absurd. WT is that all about? Can the AJC find somebody do some real reporting to dig deeper into that one?

Publeesha

February 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

If most of the students who qualify for the Miller scholarships hail from more affluent families and communities then so be it.

The public good transcends individual entitlement when it comes to subsidizing higher education. Applying an affirmative action approach to prop up less qualified students based on socioeconomic considerations just weakens our society.

Hugh Beaumont

February 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

I would like to see a documentary of the average day of a C student in a lower SAT zip code. Do they have books? How much time is spend actually reading them? My guess is we will never see it.

bu2

February 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

I suspect the writer of this article didn’t qualify for any scholarships.

The 15 schools having the most are all within 45 miles of Atlanta, but how many of the 15 biggest high schools are within 45 miles of Atlanta? Probably all or nearly all.

And with over half the state’s population in the Atlanta metro area, you would expect most of the scholarships to go to the metro area. The article doesn’t even state the exact % going to the 6 counties (and Forsyth was picked to skew the statistics more). It was “almost half.”

This should have been in the editorial section, not on the front page. Its a propaganda piece. It reflects the lower standards by newspapers in recent years.

Kiteman

February 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

One other thing: Because these ACADEMIC scholarships are funded with lottery proceeds, all the people who rant about the Miller scholarship being unfair should realize that buying lottery tickets is a CHOICE. If I were poor and needed money to send my kid to college, buying a lottery ticket would be the last thing on mind. Heck, since the lottery started in 1992 or 1993 (can’t remember), I have bought maybe a total of 5 tickets. And I can afford to buy thousands of them a week. Yet, the poor schmucks who decry scholarships based on ability are spending 10s or 100s of dollars a week on this nonsense. Here’s the solution for the folks who can’t stand to see qualified students get academic scholarships: STOP BUYING LOTTERY TICKETS. It’s that simple.

crankee_yankee

February 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

Just a few random thoughts that may or may not relate…

If the research points to GRADES being the #1 indicator to college success, I would postulate the fear of grade inflation to have no basis in fact. The charge has been bandied about since Hope began but that research data would point to it being a non-issue. However, was this reasearch national or state based?

On the other hand, the data showing college completion in the state being barely above 50% after 4 years may well support the charge of grade inflation. There’s probably a doctoral thesis somewhere in here. My daughter completed her degree @ UGA in 3 1/2 years (could have done it in 3 had her mom not taken ill). She worked for it, but it underscores the question as to why so many do not complete in the traditional 4 years.

Needing to hold down a part time job, missing a semester due to family circumstances or not having the funds to pay for a semester may all be possible reasons but some research needs to be done to find the answers. Until then, all of this is just speculation.

@prof…you mention “hundreds” of couselees, that would be about 1 semester’s worth for a counselor in a big metro county, what are the actual numbers/percentages for the 3.5 GPA/900 SAT kids?

Hillbilly D

February 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

It seems like it is politics as usual in the south.

And of course, y’all never play politics up North. Bless your heart.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
3:21 pm

@Joe Meigs,
I can guarantee you that the difference in scores of some white kids from top metro Atlanta districts and peers from rural Georgia would also be stark. (See the difference in how many rural kids qualify for Zell as an indicator.)
The differences will also be stark for athletes admitted to UGA.
And that will be the case in the Ivies as well. Colleges are upfront that their goal is a diverse — in the broadest sense of the word — student body. So, they want a mix of kids. The reason why Harvard turns down kids with perfect SATS and GPAs is because they are looking for more than a single variety of student. They want the kid who plays the tuba. They want the kid who runs track. They want the actresses and debaters and Ultimate Frisbee players.
If UGA only went by SAT and grades and did not look for a broader range of students, it would like Walton or Centennial.
As Steve Cohen, the author of “Getting In!” told me:

High school counselors often tell kids that colleges seek a well-rounded student.

Not exactly, says Cohen. Schools desire a well-rounded class. They want math scholars, classical pianists, operatic voices and, as the book describes them, “really nice kids to organize hall hockey.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/09/17/getting-into-college-not-as-easy-as-it-was-but-not-impossible/

joboxer

February 19th, 2012
3:28 pm

That is why I don’t play the lottery anymore. I’ll be D@#ned if some high falutin 1 percenter brat get any of my money.

the lottery has turn into a money trough for the rich with the poor supplying the money!

Old school

February 19th, 2012
3:31 pm

A student who studies hard and makes the grades (SAT included) deserves any type of scholarship available regardless of parental income. What would be unfair to these students is to create a welfare program that diminishes their hard earned work. The proof of the pudding is when a student gets to college. Remember what the college professors said at the beginning of the freshman year? “Look to your left and now look to your right…two of you are not going to be at graduation exercises”. Oops! They probably can’t say that today because the truth might offend someone.

@Really I am surprised you found the Atlanta area appealing in the first place. I wish you and yours the success and happiness you desire elsewhere!

Nsnstv

February 19th, 2012
3:33 pm

I love the way people use this blog to brag on their children and pat themselves on the back for being such great parents. If you’re that great, quit your whining and find another way to get your kid money for school. The Miller scholarship is not the only one available in GA.

Real World

February 19th, 2012
3:36 pm

@ Proud Dad.

Amen. My daughter is at GT (my Alma Mater as well) on a full ride — Hope + Tech scholarship. If not for the Hope, she most likely would have ended up out of state.

As the saying goes, my daughter and my MONEY go to XYZ University. My point being. If all the “rich” kids go out of state, where do you think there money will go? As a family, we spend considerable time and money to visit my daughter at college.

If Georgia makes the Hope and needs based scholarship, guess where all the affluent money will go? Answer – out of state with their children.

Georgie

February 19th, 2012
3:40 pm

As a parent of a Senior at Roswell High who is on track to get a ZM scholarship, I high five him for HIS achievements. We, his parents, have stressed education, education, education to him and his siblings since the start of their schooling. Are they over achievers? No. They just know the stakes are high. We asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This typical question signals that 1) they will grow up and 2) they will need to be productive in society.

My senior has plans for medical school and knows this path will be long, tiring and expensive. Why should he not be able to accept the ZM and position himself for more loans/debt to come? We are not wealthy, nor poor, just middle class. He will not get a full ride from us or a full ride from a government grant. This is one and probably the only area where a middle class student can compete and be rewarded along with other students in other economic classes.

As for universities, yes, he has been accepted to UGA, GA State, etc. Georgia has a tier university systems, so that too, is a given that most ZM and HOPE goes to the top tier students at those institutions.

My senior was not a product of Georgia Pre-K (or any preschool program). Make a bold move and cut the Pre-K programs (there is always Headstart for the needy). It is glorified babysitting. With so much emphasis on HOPE and ZM, what are the results of GA Pre-K? Has a study been completed on that program?

Hugh Beaumont

February 19th, 2012
3:43 pm

I am sure there is some complicated convoluted exhausting explanation by minds more brilliant than mine, but I have to ask.

If the is culturally bias, why to children who were not even born in this country, and in some cases do not even speak our language will, score high?

catlady

February 19th, 2012
3:48 pm

I think whoever makes the cut should get the scholarship, regardless of parental income. However, it would be nice if the legislature would put some money into the rural/poor schools, for identification of likely students and offering SAT preparation classes after school. We don’t need to worry about the grade part; grade inflation, which can be easily documented, has taken care of that. For example, in my poor system (70%+ FRPL) there is NO PLACE to go for SAT prep, unless you can find and pay a private tutor. IF SAT prep classes were offered, either students would avail themselves of the help, or they wouldn’t. If they didn’t, well, they have no room to gripe about inequality.

The prep that the kids in wealthier neighborhoods get begins at birth (or maybe even before!) An effort to give the opportunity for improved SAT should start by 6th grade, at least, for kids identified as promising. No behavior problems, no excuses, limited absences. It would put the onus on the kids and their parents: You can do this, and make the requisite sacrifices, or not.

I think the suggestion of making the HOPE a reimbursement is good, but fraught with problems, like collecting on the loans. Perhaps there is a way around this, but it seems iffy to me.

To those who say that grades are a better predictor than SAT, you are right in the past. However, with the grade inflation you really cannot count on grades to be an accurate reflection. Too many 4.0s who cannot manage 1000 on the SAT belies using grades alone here in Georgia.

Glad I live in Boston:

February 19th, 2012
3:48 pm

First off, hats off to Ms. Downey for remaining patient and polite under a barrage of idiocy from her posters. She gives them facts and figures and sources and they give her inanities about liberal politics.They ignore the elephant in the room. Georgia has limited funds for college aid. Does your state direct the scarce funds to students who would go to college anyway or to students who would not? If any of you blusterers read Zell Miller’s book, he writes that he saw HOPE as a way to offer college hope to poor students who had none otherwise. If your kids are so smart, have them read the book to you.

Real World

February 19th, 2012
3:50 pm

Perhaps one of the best minds in our history.

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” Milton Friedman

In other words, if you don’t earn it, you won’t get anything from it.

Real World

February 19th, 2012
3:52 pm

Here’s a thought…

Ask the Greeks how government welfare is working.

bilbo799

February 19th, 2012
3:54 pm

The ONLY argument against Zell/HOPE seems to be that the SAT requirement is unfair to poor students because only the rich can afford SAT prep courses. Do people think SAT prep courses are magical? I’ve taken an SAT prep course — it’s no different than studying hard on your own with used books that can be purchased for $15. NO ONE can do the work for you. There’s no secret to high SAT scores — it takes years of developing verbal skills and basic math. The prep course logic is just absurd.

bilbo799

February 19th, 2012
3:56 pm

To follow up, you know what’s MORE important than an SAT prep course? Basic high school math (geometry, algebra) and basic verbal skills (vocabulary, reading). If you can do basic high school level stuff, you may not get a 1600 but a 1200 shouldn’t be a problem.

catlady

February 19th, 2012
3:57 pm

crankee yankee, some research on this has been done. GSU researchers found that–get ready–students who have to work while taking classes are less likely to hold onto HOPE. Amazing, huh? That seems to indicate that students who need the money (less parental help) are less likely to stay eligible. Wow!

I’m not sure if serious researchers can get the HOPE data and do some substantive research with it now. I am only aware of crosstabs examinations that were allowed to GSU researchers. However, if the data were open to other, nationally-reputable researchers, we might be able to mine the data for better policy decisions. I’m guessing that will never happen. Don’t want data to “mess up” our program!

Georgie

February 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

Look at the scholarships and endowments at the universities in the GA system. They sure collect, but don’t distribute. It seems the Georgia universities are relying on the lottery for tuition scholarships. But then again, if it’s not football scholarships, then it’s not needed to be given out.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
4:05 pm

@Hugh: Not all immigrant kids do well. Education of parents and age of immigration play key roles:

Research has shown that parental education is a strong predictor of children’s educational attainment. Even when analysts control for income—that is, when they compare only youth with similar family income—they find that young people whose parents have no college experience are much less likely than others to enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. According to 2006 American Community Survey data, 26 percent of children of immigrants, compared with only 8 percent of those with native-born parents, lived in families where no parent had completed high school or the equivalent. Almost half of Mexican-origin youth have parents with no high school degree.

Immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, other Pacific nations, and Europe are more likely than native-born individuals to be college graduates, whereas those from Mexico, Central America, the Spanish Caribbean, Laos, and Cambodia have much lower educational attainment. The differences are dramatic. More than two-thirds of immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with only 7 percent of those from Mexico.12 This bimodal distribution of educational attainment among immigrants translates into a built-in advantage for some and severe disadvantage for others—disadvantage that persists across generations.

Age at immigration also makes a predictable difference in educational attainment. Immigrants who enter the country before age thirteen generally do as well as their native-born peers.15 Individuals who come to the United States as young children are likely to have an easier time learning the language and internalizing the norms of American society. By contrast, those who immigrate between the ages of thirteen and nineteen have the lowest levels of educational attainment.

http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=74&articleid=545&sectionid=3757

InAtl

February 19th, 2012
4:05 pm

@Glad I live in Boston: I’m glad you’re in Boston, too. Congratulations for escaping all the cow-tipping rubes that live down here. Perhaps all of these comments are not as idiotic as you characterize them to be. I think it is you who fail to see the point that is being repeatedly made. This is NOT a welfare scholarship, nor was it intended to be. It was designed to help ANY student to get a college scholarship if they were willing to put forth the hard work to earn it. Obviously it was intended to help students who would not otherwise be able to afford the tuition, but it never precluded those who had parents who could afford the tuition.

Terry

February 19th, 2012
4:08 pm

If pretty much the only kids who qualify academically for HOPE come from households that shouldn’t need assistance, why not just eliminate HOPE altogether? It’d certainly help rein in the rate at which tuition’s been rising. Even without scholarships, Georgia’s public colleges are very inexpensive, so I don’t buy the argument that ending HOPE would drive more high-achieving students out of state.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
4:10 pm

@InAtl. When Gov. Miller created HOPE, he imposed an income cap on the scholarship. It could not go to students from families earning more than $66,000. In its second year, the Legislature raised the cap to $100,000.
In HOPE’s third year, with lottery funds exceeding expectations, the cap was removed.
Maureen Downey

Hillbilly D

February 19th, 2012
4:13 pm

Congratulations for escaping all the cow-tipping rubes that live down here.

Anybody who knows anything about cows knows that there is no such thing as cow-tipping. Cows sleep laying down and even if they didn’t, you can’t push over any 1500-2000 pound cow that isn’t wanting to be pushed over. Maybe they need to make agriculture classes a requirement in college, now.

Janet

February 19th, 2012
4:13 pm

Life isn’t fair people! If the goal is to keep best and brightest in the state, then leave the program as it is. I, myself, would **not** have recieved the Zell scholarship because I didn’t have the SAT scores, and my parents couldn’t afford to pay…. but LIFE ISN’T FAIR!!! I get that! Does anyone else??? I graduated from high school in Ohio where these kinds of scholarship programs are non-existant. So given my situation, I took out some student loans and went to college. I struggled greatly as my small rural school did not prepare me for the rigors and cometition of college level courses. I did not graduate in 4 years, but I did graduate. I am the first in my family (including entire extended family) to attend and graduate from college.

My point is… Life isn’t fair but that shouldn’t stop you. I am so tired of reading how it’s the end of the world and college is impossible if my kid doesn’t get this scholarship. Kids either have work hard early in life by taking those hard core classes in high school and getting top grades INCLUDING the SAT scores…. or work hard later when they are struggling in college and paying back those loans after college.

Just because a lower income kid or even a middle/upper middle class kid doesn’t get the Zell (or Hope) scholarship doesn’t mean they can’t go to college. They just have to plan differently. There seems to be alot of entitlement mentality on both sides of the fence… low minority income and rich white suburbs. LIFE ISN’T FAIR!!!!!! Time to cowboy up and deal with reality!!!!

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
4:14 pm

To Roadrunner. Didn’t mean to delete your post. Same comment showed up twice and I thought I only deleted one. Please resubmit and it should appear.
But to all:
The blog is holding out all comments from new posters in an effort to minimize personal attacks, racist rants and off-topic comments. It will only allow posts directly to the blog from commenters with a history.
Maureen

Roadrunner

February 19th, 2012
4:17 pm

Why does everything I enter say “Your comment is awaiting moderation”? That has never happened before?….

Roadrunner

February 19th, 2012
4:21 pm

I’ve blogged here before so not sure what ‘history’ you are referring to. I deleted my cookies today to see if that would let me enter my comments without being blocked after the first time, no go. I’ll try one more time to re-enter my original blocked comment to see if it happens again and give up on the AJC once and for all if it does….

InAtl

February 19th, 2012
4:21 pm

I was in error in say it “never” precluded, etc. Wikipedia says that in the fall of ‘93 the first scholarship was granted, and a year and a half later the $100,00 cap was removed. I should have phrased it: “for almost the entirety of the scholarship program.” Wikipedia further states: “The program is entirely merit-based, meaning that a student’s ability to pay for his or her own education is not a factor in determining if he or she receives it. Previously, traditional-college-age students whose family income exceeded $100,000 per year were disqualified from the program.”

Roadrunner

February 19th, 2012
4:21 pm

I have to agree with those who challenge the whole premise of this article. It smacks of the current president’s stated goal of ‘fairness’ in all things. If someone doesn’t have health care, give it to them. If they don’t make as much money as others, take it from those who ‘unfairly’ benefit by being successful and ‘fairly’ give it to those less fortunate. How completely pathetic America is becoming. No wonder we’re rapidly becoming the newest third-world country. Your question should be, “Should we / society give the most who work hard and produce the most?” Of course we should! I went to college back in the 70’s and worked and took out student loans to get through because my causcasian single mother (father passed away at a young age) didn’t qualify for aid programs designed to help only those disadvantaged of color. I guess it was ‘fair’ because at least I was white…..

Anonmom

February 19th, 2012
4:31 pm

I think a “reasonable” SAT/ACT score component is a necessary “check” against rampant grade inflation. I also think you could set it up so that anyone else who isn’t ready for college at that level could get the remedial work they need at community colleges and stop wasting Hope money on the 4 year programs with remedial work. Persoanlly, I wish we had a system designed where we used Hope as a way to get “outcomes” that we want and lowered the “maintenance” standards for Hope to get the STEM graduates we want from GaTech — let the kids take 6 years if that’s what it takes and let the GPAs fall to the 2.5 or 2.8 range, which appers to be more common for some of these majors, without losing Hope to entice kids to stick with it. Alternatively, don’t fund Hope for majors we don’t need. If we need science teachers then fund science teaching majors. I think we can be more creative with it.

Terry

February 19th, 2012
4:38 pm

“Your question should be, ‘Should we / society give the most who work hard and produce the most?’”

Roadrunner, why should society give anything to anyone? Since your ilk considers any form of government assistance “socialism,” isn’t HOPE one big entitlement program? Maybe your mom should’ve gotten a better education and earned enough money to adequately provide for her child. Isn’t that what you suggest to minorities who “make excuses” for their shortcomings? People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

bilbo799

February 19th, 2012
4:41 pm

Maureen,

You agreed with a comment earlier suggesting that high school grades were more important than SAT scores (I think) because drive and discipline are the most important factors to success. You also indicated that high school grades are more indicative of college completion than SAT scores. That’s all fine, but I think SAT scores measure drive and discipline, too. And, in many cases, I’d imagine they might be an even better indication than just grades (why? SAT scores are standardized; no grade inflation; no “easy” course selection). If test-taking can be learned (which you agreed with), it means that students have to have the drive and discipline to learn how to take the SAT. I’m also not sure college completion is necessarily our goal — it should be one of many goals. When it comes to our “best and brightest,” I hope we find more meaningful measures of success than mere college completion.

NTLB

February 19th, 2012
4:51 pm

Can someone tell me if there is any actual data on file which details how many Hope scholarship college graduates are or have been currently actually employed and still living in Georgia?????

I doubt very seriously, that the college graduate job market in Georgia is so extreme that we give away millions of dollars to individuals that cannot find work and contribute back to the state. I personally know of several Hope college graduates that have had to move to other states in order to land a decent job.

Is this data available, and are they looking at it???????

John

February 19th, 2012
4:51 pm

The front-page article in today’s paper was pretty interesting, but, come on, the article isn’t the result of an “investigation” by anyone, just pulling together some easily available data and throwing in a few comments in support of or in opposition to the Zell Miller scholarship criteria. None of my four kids has gone to college in-state, and I don’t play the lottery, so maybe I don’t have standing to support or condemn the HOPE/Zell Miller award procedures, but I’m hard-pressed to understand how a clearly defined, state-wide set of standards constitutes any entitlement system for anyone. Those scholarships reward good work, as reflected by the students’ grades and scores. Is the current system any more unfair to the rural students than to metro students who don’t measure up? I think not. HOPE was never designed to pay for everyone’s college, even mediocre students. To me, the focus should be on improving non-metro schools, not lowering standards because students from poorer-performing schools don’t measure up. Sure, let’s make other types of aid available to them, but let’s not lower the standards of HOPE and the Zell Miller scholarship.

yes i am worried

February 19th, 2012
5:49 pm

Maureen

Is there a family income breakdown for HOPE recipients? I think the parents have to fill out FAFSA to get the HOPE funds released.

I struggle with the no-income cap because other states don’t have HOPE, do much more for low-income kids seeking to attend college, and have an overall stronger university system.

One of the less spoken of goals of HOPE was to raise the status of all state Universities. I would argue that this hasn’t happened. UGA and Tech may have improved (Tech was already very good and frankly, would be ranked just as highly without HOPE) and perhaps GA State has gotten better as well as possibly Kennesaw. But schools like Valdosta, Georgia Southern, West GA, etc still are third and 4th tier.

The kids we are losing are the ones who qualify for HOPE but can’t get into UGA or Tech and whose parents don’t belive the other in-state schools are acceptable choices.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2012
6:30 pm

@John, Not sure how readily available the data are; the AJC had to use the Open Records Act to get it.
Maureen

Shakeesh

February 19th, 2012
6:39 pm

If they change the HOPE to be another playing field leveller ( seems to be a lot more interest in levelling the playing field between Northern suburbs and the City than levelling the playing field in terms of the dollar per pupil expenditure between metro atlanta and rural Georgia) then over time HOPE will be defunded. It will have lost its reason to attract widespread support and it will wither on the vine.
The AJC piece was a load. The piece opened sugesting that the purpose of the ZM scholarship was to reward the best students but that it only rewarded white suburban kids. What seemed to zip over the heads of the “reporters” was that these recipients of the ZM scholarship are the best and the brightest. It’s as though they were offended to find high performing students in suburban schools.

bootney farnsworth

February 19th, 2012
6:42 pm

it’s time to shut HOPE down. it’s been basterdized and politicized to the point its a dead program walking.

while a noble idea, its caused much more harm than good.

Tony Dow

February 19th, 2012
6:48 pm

Shut down Hope, and discontinue the lottery….But I disagree that Hope has done more harm than good, it has educated a lot of kids….But, maybe instead of buying lottery tickets, parents can put money away to pay for their own children’s education.

CA

February 19th, 2012
7:02 pm

First, so there are no presumptions, nor stereotypes, I am a white male living in East Cobb. Remarks like peter Gozinya’s are nonsense, since they are based on race. What also is pathetic is the use of the term, “hardworking” when talking about the scholarship. I know many students who work very hard, yet fail to meet the criteria. It is because they have special needs and can not manage the Honor’s classes. Don’t even try to start b y saying that they have IEP’s that must be met. Many teachers in the general education setting DO NOT meet accommodations for students. Sine the Honors classes are not co-taught, the child does not get what they need. That is fact. In our local East Cobb high school, many students with accommodations are not having them met. Still, the students go in everyday and work hard to try to pass and meet criteria. The fact is, attending a university is not for everyone, but let that student and her/his family decide. The fact that a student may not meet grades, and should go into a technical field such as HVAC, plumbing, etc. is pure marginalization and arrogance.

Devil's Advocate

February 19th, 2012
7:16 pm

The only fact you can depend on here is the fact that human nature leads us to protect what we have and go after what we want. People tend to make excuses to justify getting something good while saying that a perceived opponent doesn’t deserve it when there’s the thought that there’s not a enough to go around. All I know is the lottery was approved in Georgia because its main purpose was to fund educational improvements (HOPE and Pre K). HOPE was originally designed to give the less fortunate a chance at a local public college education using voluntary funds from GA Lottery proceeds.

It was irresponsible to take the income cap limit off and allow money to be used for private college education just because lottery sales went through a great period. That showed lack of financial planning and discipline on the part of our government as if things would always be good. Our reserves should have been built upon and any extra spending should have gone into the K-12 schools like some others have posted here.

Keep in mind I haven’t said that the more fortunate should not get assistance because I know my child won’t qualify for many programs because I make too much but it’s not about ME and MINE. It’s about US. If we’re running short on funds then we need to start pulling back on what HOPE has been expanded to cover and maybe install a tiered reward system based on income (instead of completely excluding families who make “too much”).

I told my wife the day our child was born that we shouldn’t depend on HOPE because it might not be around when the time comes to use it. The point is that I’ve been preparing to assist in my child’s education by planning for the worst case. If we get a full ride, great, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m being done wrong due to making too much money. What about all the families who put their kids through college before 1993? People are just too soft and too entitled today no matter how much money they have or race they belong.

Reinvent_ED

February 19th, 2012
7:39 pm

I believe that any scholarship that come from taxpayer dollars should be need-based. It’s the easiest way to close the poverty gap in this country. I am not surprised with the report on this weekend’s AJC about the distribution of scholarships.

Regarding the Zell Miller Scholarship, I would like to see the distribution of applicants based on zip code. Maybe the problem is that students from Georgia’s suburbs and rural areas are not achieving the levels necessary to qualify? If that is the case, then that speaks volumes about the uphill battle our state’s education system must climb.

redweather

February 19th, 2012
7:59 pm

Someone may have mentioned this already. But there are 159 counties in Georgia. If more than half of the Zell Miller scholars come from five or six metro Atlanta counties, that is an imbalance that needs to be addressed. I am not advocating that we lower the bar for rural high school students, but there is something seriously wrong with these numbers. I also don’t know what can be done to address the problem, just as I don’t think we should ignore it.

Come On AJC

February 19th, 2012
8:02 pm

Why did you censor my earlier statement? The article should be more appropriately titled, “The most qualified students receive HOPE benefits”. Are you hurting that bad for content to talk about that you are making a controversy out of nothing?

love2teach

February 19th, 2012
8:03 pm

My daughter qualified for HOPE and would qualify today for ZM even though she graduated from a S. GA high school. While she was a student at Ga Tech, I relocated to one of the “15″ top districts. She asked me why I had not moved prior to her high school experience so that she would have attended XYZ High and been more competitive with her college classmates. (She did graduate “on time”.)

I am with Sen. Bethel,R-Dalton. Educate all high school students to the level EXPECTED at the top 15. Georgia would be better off and income gaps would not be an issue.

td

February 19th, 2012
8:15 pm

I keep seeing pieces of data but and people exclaiming the we need to change the program back to where it was in the past with income limits have yet to yield any data as to what the parents income is for the students receiving the Hope. How can anyone give an opinion on where of if an income limit should be set if they do not know the incomes currently? It is still all speculation and political until there are numbers.

td

February 19th, 2012
8:22 pm

redweather

February 19th, 2012
7:59 pm

Since so many on here seem to think that SAT prep classes are the reason these higher preforming district turn out more ZM scholars then maybe people in these districts should pool their resources and hire prep teachers to come in and give the coarse on the weekends. I am sure the way some of these counties can raise money for sports programs then they should be able to raise $10 or $20 to bring in a professional to prep a 100 or so students.

Brandy

February 19th, 2012
8:22 pm

Lots of interesting (and, hey, a few appalling) responses. Much food for thought.

I do have a question for everyone who has stated that “if kids can’t make X score on the SAT, no matter the GPA” they don’t deserve to be called the “best and the brightest”. Do you honestly believe that only people who score well on a standardized test that has been shown repeatedly to be fatally flawed and a subpar predictor of college performance are the “best and brightest”?

Edison barely scraped by in school–to the point of teachers assuming he was retarded. Einstein was also a poor student. Gates, despite his privileged background and education, failed to graduate college. Would you dispute the brilliance of these men? Would you want to deny a future Edison or Einstein the chance to go to college? I’d rather not take that chance.

I did exceptionally well in high school (top 3 of a very large graduating class) and took college courses exclusively as a senior in high school (I only needed two credits to graduate but my school would not let me graduate early). I received numerous scholarship offers and did very well in college, graduating Cum Laude. However, I am a horrid test taker. I scored an 1170 on the SAT. If it were not for the differences between the SAT and the ACT and, well, honestly, I think, dumb luck, I wouldn’t have scored the 27 I did. Neither test was indicative of my scholarly prowess, my performance in High School or college, or my future career potential.

I’m very, very grateful that those evaluating my record for scholarship qualifications chose to take more into account than simply a score on a standardized test.

D

February 19th, 2012
8:23 pm

The policy makers are trying to pull the band aid off slowly here. What they’re inching us toward is a system that will reward socioeconomic standing and not merit. Poor kid from wherever will get so many quality points “earning” him/her so many scholarship dollars regardless of the grades while little Johnny Alpharetta gets nothing based solely because of his zip code. Won’t matter if the kid from Alpharetta has a 4.0, he gets disqualified cuz his parents are middle class or higher. Just another way to spread the wealth that somebody else worked for.
Greece is burning because of entitlement programs like this. Once it takes hold, it spreads like a cancer. Reminds me of welfare, but that’s another story.

Brandy

February 19th, 2012
8:31 pm

@CA, Can I just say, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for telling the truth! I have worked with and known many disabled students who are as gifted if not more gifted than the brightest children in Cobb, perhaps even the state. And, yet, because of their special needs they were denied access to the high-level courses they needed. This is wrong and people need to realize that it happens. Until parents complain (teachers complaints don’t seem to be given any attention by the Powers That Be) nothing will change.

catlady

February 19th, 2012
8:35 pm

Ms. Downey, I wish you would note in your “history of HOPE” that for 3-4 years it was NOT AVAILABLE TO THE POOREST OF THE POOR if they received Pell. It kind of belies the “noble” idea that HOPE was to help the poor kids afford college!

catlady

February 19th, 2012
8:37 pm

td. they DO know where the students come from, income-wise. As I recall, something like 70% are from the highest quartile of parental income.

Jerry Eads

February 19th, 2012
8:43 pm

Not much point in stating fact here, it would seem, but I’ll try one more time. People are under the delusion that grades and SAT scores are determined simply by talent and effort. Not at all so. A major component of achievement measures is economics. That’s because, to no surprise, kids from high income homes generally benefit from a vastly greater range of experiences, which prepares them to (generally)(a) more easily obtain higher grades in traditional schooling and (b) more readily answer correctly questions on the SAT (or an intelligence test or any other test). Kids just as bright and motivated from low-income homes do not have those advantages. Zell Miller and his advisors knew this, even though it’s quite obvious most responders here do not. His intent was to provide opportunities to high achieving lower income students. The high income students didn’t need it. Hence, the income cap.

Some of us who argue for the return to some sort of income scale for the scholarship are simply recognizing that it’s important to the Georgia economy to have a well educated citizenry. The high income kids will remain at the top of the income and achievement heap with or without the scholarship. The ones Zell wanted to help were those really talented and motivated kids with less or no help from their parents – the ones working 20-60 hours a week to stay in school in addition to taking classes, and those who never get to college because they must support others and end up scrapping for the diminishing pile of blue-collar jobs.

An income scale for the scholarship might help (just a tiny bit) attenuate the rapidly increasing gap between the rich and the rest of us.

Dr. Monica Henson

February 19th, 2012
8:47 pm

Maureen posted, “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.”

Maureen, I respectfully and fundamentally disagree with the “rightfulness” of a teacher assigning zeroes for missing homework assignments and pulling an otherwise A student’s grade lower. Where in the GA Performance Standards, Common Core, or any other curriculum framework is “playing the homework game”?

As a classroom English teacher, I made most homework mandatory only for students who could not score at least 80% on preassessments designed to determine their skill levels on certain concepts. Students who can score an A on tests, essays, projects, etc., ought not to have to complete busywork. Now a student who declines to submit a “major” assignment or project deserves to be marked down, and that might have been your son’s case. I used the “Incomplete” in place of a zero on that type of assignment, and if a student didn’t submit by the deadline, then the hammer fell. That almost never happened, and I think it’s because the kids felt that the homework policy I had was fair and appropriate, and they liked the assignments I gave. I also gave them the option to “counteroffer” any assignments they disliked with recommendations of their own design, reserving of course the right as the instructor to veto as needed. I got some fabulous assignment suggestions from my students.

President Obama still loves you.

February 19th, 2012
9:03 pm

“Greece is burning because of entitlement programs like this.”

Greece is burning because of a scholarship funded by its citizens who voluntarily play the lottery? Having your head so far up Neal Boortz’s butt must be restricting the flow of oxygen to your brain.

Jimmy

February 19th, 2012
9:35 pm

In the 18th century there were two very different roads for revolution. In America, the revolution emphasized liberty and produced centuries of unparalelled freedom and prosperity. In France, the revolution emphasized eqality and produced decades of misery followed by the tyrant Napoleon.

Behind the AJC’s questionning of all things that don’t seem “equal” is lurking the idea that the government should be in the business of equality. In America, this has not been the case. We should be emphasizing liberty and freedom, not the false and unattainable eqality.

The french demand for equality loosed the dogs of envy and ultimately brought a reign of terror that consumed itself in spasm after spasm of hatred and jealouly. Our country is on the same road.

Teacher Reader

February 19th, 2012
9:51 pm

My husband’s and my income has nothing to do with the hard work that my child may or may not do. I am not obligated to pay for his college education or to pay for him after he is 18. Although the government wants to make me responsible for his health care until 26, at the age of 18 in my eyes you are an adult and on your own. Go and fly and I wish you the best. Our parents didn’t help us and I am not helping my children. We need that money to take care of ourselves when we are old and unable to work.

ANY child who is willing to work hard and make sacrifices to earn HOPE (without needing to take remedial classes) or Zell Miller should not be penalized because his parents were successful. The class warfare in our country has got to stop. Any child can make it, if they put their mind to it and work their tail off. Too many are too eager to play video games and sports and not put the necessary work into academics, as being smart isn’t as popular as being a good athlete. As Americans we have our priorities mixed up, and they need to change.

R

February 19th, 2012
10:16 pm

@Chris, 2:13 pm – “Is this a joke? Darn, you mean people who work hard and have parents who work hard will get rewarded? THEY SHOULD. Poor people and thugs out there with one parent already get PLENTY of special treatment. If a kid gets good grades and has better grades then someone else, they should be rewarded.”

So…you’re saying poor people and single parents do not work hard? I am a single parent, dear, most likely better educated than you. My children make very good grades and are involved in the community and our church. Neither I nor my children get any special treatment. I find your “single parent” comments as offensive as your narrow-mindedness.

GA parent/teacher

February 19th, 2012
10:58 pm

I am so thankful that my children worked hard because they knew that if they did then they would be able to get the HOPE scholarship. What a wonderful scholarship this has been for my three children and for thousands of other students in Georgia! They were all in college at the same time, and they all had part-time jobs and loans to help pay for expenses that weren’t covered by HOPE. Without the HOPE scholarship, my husband and I couldn’t have afforded for them to go to college.

It didn’t matter that we lived in south Georgia. It didn’t matter that they all attended public schools. What mattered is that they paid attention in class, they studied hard, they got a good education, and now they are successful in the careers they have chosen. And yes, they all live and work here in Georgia.

Anonmom

February 19th, 2012
11:13 pm

By George, I think I’ve got it: I think the Legislature should drop the SAT/ACT requirement and go back to a grades only requirement but any time the “qualifying” student has to take a remedial course, the expense for that course is charged back to the “sending” school district as a “penalty” for that district’s failure to adequately prepare the kid for college…… then we motivate in the right places and put the incentives where they belong……

Income caps may not work in many situations not addressed — what about the kids where the dad’s earn a bunch of money and mom and dad are getting divorced or are divorced and dad won’t pay or can’t pay… there’s actually a state law that stops child support at high school graduation. Let’s let the kids who are the “achievers” get the scholarships. There are all sorts of grants strictly based on need. This shouldn’t be one of them. Refer back to the comment about the Pell Grant recipients… I do think that if kids are getting other funds that would make the Hope result in “refunds” or result in it being “superfluous” then it should be “mooted” but that’s a nuance. It shouldn’t be allowed to be used for “pocket change” (I have this problem with many of the student aid programs… kids get the cash to walk around with and then also receive under other program… such as section 8 housing and food stamps — it comes back to having some “skin” in the “game”).

Dekalb taxpayer

February 19th, 2012
11:19 pm

My part of Dekalb is outside of the perimeter but no one would ever label it “affluent.”

My daughter was a valedictorian and National Merit Scholar in another state (far above Georgia in education). The National Merit scholarship netted her $2,000 per year at the private college she chose to attend and the school offered her a good bit of money as well. But there was plenty left for her to pay—and most of the third-party scholarships were limited to minorities.

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

February 20th, 2012
1:35 am

The composition of the population of students who merit Zell Miller Scholarships is an indictment of the efforts- or lack thereof- of the folks who run the other 175 public school systems in our state.

bilbo799

February 20th, 2012
6:22 am

@ Brandy.

If you don’t see why your argument makes no sense, I’m concerned about our system of education, in which you purportedly did well. First, Bill Gates’ decision to drop out of college (Harvard) had literally nothing to do with academic performance — he was a fine test-taker (you pretty much have to be to get into Harvard), and it’s just lazy of you to discuss someone without knowing anything about him. Second, even assuming you’re right about Edison and Einstein being very “poor students,” then the GPA requirement would’ve precluded them HOPE/ZM, not just the SAT! Third, as your own examples of Edison and Einstein indicate, if you have true once-in-a-generation genius (although I’m not really worried about all the geniuses who can’t do the basic high school math/English required to get a 1200), you DON’T NEED THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP! You will have opportunities regardless of whether you qualify for one little state scholarship (Einstein spent time at Princeton at no cost, for example). COME ON!, BRANDY!!!

bilbo799

February 20th, 2012
6:27 am

Just for the record, Bill Gates got a 1590 on his SATs. And, I’ve got to add, if you can’t get a 1200 on your SATs because you’re a “bad test taker,” how are you going to get a 172 LSAT for law school or a 770 on the GMAT or any other exceptional score needed for the types of degrees we want our college students to obtain (test scores matter much more for elite professional grad school admissions, like law and business and medical than the SAT, in general).

Steve

February 20th, 2012
7:23 am

@ Devil’s Advocate – You mention that the Hope going to private in-state colleges is a bad thing. In fact, children going to in-state private colleges SAVES the state significant money every year. I know many Zell Miller scholars that by going to private colleges cost the state only $4,000 a year, NOT the full tuition currently charged at schools like Tech and UGA. Don’t scapegoat those choosing to go to smaller private institutions instead of large public ones.

ScienceTeacher671

February 20th, 2012
7:39 am

I read once that 80% of Georgia’s schoolchildren were within an hour of Atlanta (and thus able to take advantage of Fernbank or some other educational resource in the Atlanta area.) Does that statistic still hold?

Count me among those who thought that the original purpose of HOPE was to allow students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford college the opportunity to attend.

Also include me among those who thought that the purpose of the Georgia Lottery was to provide enhanced educational opportunities for Georgia’s students, not salaries and bonuses for Lottery Corp. officials.

Also I did not believe that the purpose of the lottery was to allow the General Assembly to cut funding to post-secondary education so that lottery fees could make up the difference and most Georgians wouldn’t notice, or allow college officials to go on spending sprees since lottery fees could pay for the excess.

Mountain Man

February 20th, 2012
7:45 am

Hope would have been fine except for two things:

1) Rampant tuition inflation at colleges, mostly because of reduced State money’s being allocated

2) Rampant grade inflation, causing every high school student to be one of the “best and the brightest” – how many of those keep Hope? One of the problems this year was “we vastly underestimated the number who would qualify for Hope”.

Mountain Man

February 20th, 2012
7:46 am

yes i am worried

February 20th, 2012
7:53 am

Here is the deal, and I know I post it all the time. Most states in the country don’t have a HOPE scholarship. And yet, students manage to go to college and parents manage to help pay for it. In fact, in some states, Virginia and North Carolina, for example, the overall University system is far superior to GA.

We saved for college because we didn’t believe we could count on HOPE and we didn’t want to limit our children’s options. It is mind boggling, in such a Republican state, that so many believe it is OK to rely on the government for this expense. What happened to self-responsibility?

David Hoffman

February 20th, 2012
8:04 am

I have an idea. Let the AJC and Maureen Downey check on the amount of Pre-K money used by each county, zip code, and legislative district vs lottery ticket sales. Let us also determine the amount of state income and sales tax dolars used. Who are the producers and who are the consumers of tax revenue? Who are the producers and who are the consumers of the money for Pre-K slots?

Brandy, your special needs children cannot do the work in the high level classes. The work in high level classes is like being in a Formula 1 automobile race. It is not for those who need bumper cars to compete. You special needs students have no more right to be in those classes than I have to be in a Formula 1 automobile race with my limited driving ability. I also did not qualify to be a Navy SEAL, Air Force Fighter Pilot, Army Tank Commmander, or Marine Sniper. I also did not qualify for the high school basketball team. Being 5ft tall and uncoordinated might have had something to do with it. I have found work doing things I can do, without slowing down others. Yes, the special needs kids slow down the rest of the class. The question is always how much of a slow down can we tolerate without segnificantly shortchanging the other students.

The HOPE scholarship is supposed to be based on ACADEMIC scholarship. The black African American state legislators have always wanted it to be a raced based welfare entitlement. They have stated that they want scholarships for children who do nothing more than attend enough school days, except for the allowed number of unexcused sick and absent days, to graduate. A D minus average is good enough to get a full scholarship, according to them. The ability to get up and get to school is so difficult, that that accomplishment should be rewarded with an college ACADEMIC scholarship worth tens of thousands of dollars. I have another idea. Put the lottery funded new welfare entitlement up for a vote by the citizens. Here is the ballot question. Do you want to change the HOPE ACADEMIC scholarship program into a race based welfare entitlement program or do you want to close down the GA Lottery? I predict I will be driving to Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina to get lottery tickets after that vote.

AlreadySheared

February 20th, 2012
8:06 am

Gotta chime in with the other bloggers who note that if you can’t pull a 1200 on your SAT, it really kind of tarnishes your 4.0 GPA. Reminds me of the APS kids a couple of years ago who earned A’s in math while failing their corresponding EOCTs.

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
8:26 am

@Bilbo, Oh, but the SAT and LSAT tests are completely differently. While I chose not to attend law school, I scored a 170 on the LSAT despite my 1170 SAT. The two are completely different! Same goes for the GRE and the GMAT.

Also, my inclusion of Gates was to highlight that high GPA and high SAT does not necessarily predict success in college.

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
8:37 am

different* (sorry)

@AlreadySheared, my high GPA was from a top performing Cobb County school. I highly doubt my grades from college coursework taken as a senior in high school were inflated. I also doubt that my high undergraduate GPA was inflated. Nor even that of my high graduate GPA from Johns Hopkins.

@David Hoffman, I have worked with students who are high functioning autistics with genius level IQs whose only specialized services were behavior related (for example, opportunities to step away from an overstimulating environment for a few moments to calm down) who were capable of completing college level mathematics coursework while in middle school. I have also worked with deaf students who were gifted but were placed only within on-level or below level courses because they required a sign-language interpreter. They should not be denied access to courses that challenge them appropriately simply because they have a disability.

I wonder how many of you would be singing the same tune if your precious Johnny or Janey was denied the scholarship by falling a few points to on a standardized test taken one day out of how many days in high school?

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
8:51 am

My real problem here is with the SAT requirement. Not because the score is too high (it isn’t). Not because it favors children who come from white or Asian upper middle class and above backgrounds due to vocabulary (it does). Not because it is a poor indicator of college performance (it is).

No, my problem is that the SAT is created and scored by a private company (ETS). It is not this perfect, magical arbiter of academic success–it is trying to make money! There is nothing wrong with that, but should state funds hinge upon buying one particular company’s product? Same goes for the ACT, by the way, though it is a somewhat better indicator of college success.

I would like to see a third factor added to the formula to make it more fair. Quality of courseload, performance once in university, teacher recommendations, or a holistic one that looks at the whole record inclusive of extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

I would also like to see it more equitably distributed. What if we instituted a rule that the top 1% students from every (public) graduating class were eligible, assuming they met the GPA and scores requirements? Texas has the 10% rule for public university admissions and it seems to work well at keeping students in state (a stated goal of both HOPE and Zell Miller), why not apply it to funding?

John from Little Five Points

February 20th, 2012
9:02 am

I “hope” HOPE remains MERIT based. When you say “affluent” you’re really not saying much more than “class” or income envy. We all play into HOPE by playing the games. I have a son on HOPE at Georgia State, and his mom and I play the games more out of a sense of supporting HOPE than having in realistic chance of winning money. If you HOPE into yet another “help the poor” scheme then we’re going to lose any incentive to put into HOPE.

Taxi Smith

February 20th, 2012
9:04 am

Do you think the fact that most of the HOPE kids come from where we have the MOST kids, kinda’ guts your argument?? Why would you expect a majority of the kids to come from Hahira?

Really?

February 20th, 2012
9:06 am

How about this. Put an income cap on PreK instead of college. Having a student attend PreK in Georgia does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that the student will stay in Georgia. Also, PreK does not serve only the best and brightest so even if all of the kids who go to GA PreK stayed in GA, it would not serve the purpose of reducing brain drain from out state.

Upper middle class parents can easily afford a couple of hundred dollars a month for PreK. I have a lot of “tennis mom” friends who use PreK as free babysitting. It should only be provided to low income families who need a boost up.

If Georgia wants to keep job creators in the state, they need to invest in programs that will make that happen. Offering HOPE to everyone regardless of income will make that happen. Georgia needs affluent families and their affluent kids if they want job creation. Free PreK, while a wonderful program for the poor, is of little or no use to the upper and upper middle class and should not be provided to them for free.

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
9:13 am

Anonmom

February 20th, 2012
9:17 am

Pre K was a nice raise! I actually could be “sold” on the income cap idea for the pre-k — the idea is to “level the playing field” to bring the non-affluent kids up to speed with the affluent kids for starting school.. (e.g. exposure to words for reading, numbers, colors, standing on line, etc.). …. I do think though, that a “low enough” SAT or ACT score does “check” grade inflation (I was an excellent student and never took standardized tests well — I was consistent, I did poorly on the SAT, the LSAT and the GMAT but always had high GPAs in undergrad and grad school. I have one son who couldn’t get past a 550 on any SAT: PSAT, Subject test or SAT but finally reached a 27 on the ACT and he’s a “smart” kid — my other son just scored an 800 on math… so I “get” it but if you put in a 600 or even a 550 requirement per section — that’s pretty low — it’s out of 800 (36 for ACT so use an 18, which my youngest scored in 7th grade).. just enough to try to prevent funding of remedial work for “3.7″ kids).

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
9:20 am

For more information regarding special needs students who are also gifted: http://uniquelygifted.org/

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
9:28 am

Excellent conversation since yesterday when I dropped in. I’d hope there aren’t REALLY legislators who would drop or lower the achievement measures to meaningless levels.

I presume the individual above who worried about a 1200 SAT meant 1800 in today’s test including the writing section; according to the College Board that’s around the 80th percentile. For those of you not familiar with testing numbers, that level means a student scored better than 4 out of every 5 students. Conversely, a student with a 1200 (say, 400 on each subtest) scores better than only about 1 out of 5 students on today’s test.

Combining income and performance standards would help level the playing field. It wouldn’t be all that hard to determine roughly how much income level contributes to SAT performance. Grades are much harder to equalize across schools of different socioeconomic levels because they’re pretty much assigned “on the curve,” and actual student performance on the whole will generally be higher in schools with higher-income students.

I have NO doubt that higher-income families appreciate their HOPE advantage; most folks seem to spend what they have, so cutting into the bimmer budget is emotionally just as tough for well-to-do folks as changing from regular to powdered milk for the rest of us. But it seems to me society as a whole would be better off if we favored the milk budget a bit when it comes to college support.

Come On AJC

February 20th, 2012
9:28 am

Maureen – How can you put your name on a post like this. I can make one statement to make this article and you look very foolish…”The scholarship is based on performance”. EOS

AlreadySheared

February 20th, 2012
9:36 am

@Brandy,

Certainly, with respect to the SAT, there are exceptions both ways – good students who test poorly but go on to succeed, AND kids who knock the SAT out of the park and flunk out of college.

Bear in mind the at the SAT is a test. It will necessarily not be as accurate in determining college success as actually letting students attempt a freshman year of college and observing the outcome. For that matter, you could similarly argue that withdrawing HOPE if a student’s grades fall in the first year is unfair because you could certainly cite many examples of students who faltered in their initial year of college and went on to succeed academically and professionally.

However, with limited resources, it is not feasible to give ALL high school graduates a scholarship and then remove their sholarships if they should perform poorly. The SAT has been and continues to be used by many colleges in their admission process because their experience shows that it correlates strongly (NOT perfectly) with freshman college GPAs – students with high SAT scores are more likely to have high freshman GPAs, and those with low SAT scores are more likely to have low GPAs and/or flunk out.

Since the lottery scholarships are given in the, ahem, ‘hope’ that the students who get them will succeed in college, it is perfectly reasonable to include an SAT requirement (not that rigorous to many responding to this topic) as part of the screening process. Perfect? Of course not. Reasonable? Yes.

By the way, I agree with you completely about providing an incentive for the 1%. We cannot afford for our most capable students to miss out on advancement simply because they were stuck going to lousy schools. I think that the that the top 1% or even 5% of any school’s population has gifts that need to be developed wihth higher education.

Steve

February 20th, 2012
9:36 am

What people that are failing to realize is the HUGE burden on almost anyone in the “middle class” to send their child to college now. Even if the child does qualify for Zell Miller, that is only about half of the “real” cost to go to college. Right now my son on Zell Miller is costing me about a THOUSAND dollars a month. This cost goes to cover room, board, fees, and books. I don’t care what you say, not many people have a thousand dollars a month lying around. I am a teacher and my wife is a nurse-the definition of middle class. At least the families of the low income earners are eligible for other help including Pell. This is NOT the case for anyone defined as middle class. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this thing out. As already discussed numerous times before, make the Hope a loan situation and those not meeting muster have to pay it back. Maureen, do any state legislators ever read this blog. It seems that many of your bloggers have good iand simple ideas to fix this thing.

Guest

February 20th, 2012
9:38 am

“When you say ‘affluent’ you’re really not saying much more than ‘class’ or income envy.”

Really? To me, “affluent,” in the context of this discussion, means being able to afford college tuition without government assistance. Why not just end HOPE if those benefiting the most from it don’t need it? Seems like a waste of taxpayer money.

[...] Tell us what you think here or on my Get Schooled blog. [...]

Guest

February 20th, 2012
9:48 am

“At least the families of the low income earners are eligible for other help including Pell. This is NOT the case for anyone defined as middle class. ”

Yeah! Poor people get everything. No fair.

Atlanta Media Guy

February 20th, 2012
9:53 am

Why is it the successful folks always get hammered by being too rich, too white, and nasty? Good grief people, if the rich folks left Georgia who would pay taxes? Why is it in the age of Obama that class and race envy is at the start of any conversation when trying to make America better? We need to celebrate success of the kids who do their work and get good grades.

Grade inflation turned Hope into a disaster. Was Nathan Deal the best choice to run the state? I think we can all agree, probably not. I was a Karen Handle fan. All Deal was trying to do was save Hope. It was running out of money. If Deal had done nothing and Hope went broke then what?

I think we can all agree Hope was a great thing when the economy was humming along. We need educated folks to lead us down the road and I fear we’re headed down a path of total failure if we don’t make adjustments. Folks have very little disposable income. It’s not getting better either. Food prices have rocketed up along with energy prices and people have less in their pockets to spend.

Why are we constantly bickering over class envy? Why can’t we celebrate success in High School with the Miller scholarship instead of celebrating mediocrity?

Keeping GA graduates in GA

February 20th, 2012
9:56 am

I think Maureen is missing the point. The point of the Hope scholarship is to keep GA graduates in GA after they graduate from college. The “hope’ is that the Hope scholarship will affect the number of jobs being created in GA by keeping smart, educated Georgians in GA.

So why are we asking about “fairness” in this Get Schoold blog? If Hope was meant to be fair then none of the lottery money would go for college scholarships because poor people rarely go to college. The lottery is funded mostly by poor people. They are the ones who buy lottter tickets. So, if fairness is the issue, we should use that lottery money to fund preschool with extended day care for the poor. That is the best way to help the poor — to educate them early and intervene early.

If we really want to get a handle on Hope what we need to do is some real journalism and find out:

Of those GA graduates with a Hope scholarship — did they graduate?
If they graduated, where are they now? Are they still in GA as the Hope scholarship was designed to do?
If they are in GA still, what are they doing? Are they helping to improve the economy? Are they helping to maintain the GA economy?

By asking who should be eligible for the Hope scholarship, we’ve missed the point entirely. Hope was not intended to help the poor. Hiope was not intended to be a fair and equitable distributiono of scholarship money for those who “deserve’ it.

Hope was simply meant to keep GA college graduates in GA.
Is it doing that? Is Hope keeping GA oollege graduates in GA and are those GA college graduates contributing to the GA economy in a meaningful way?

That is a news story we need to pursue. Bickering back and forth about who deserves the scholarship misses the mark. We’ve already had several blogs before about deserving Hope and needing Hope.

What we need here is to determine if Hope is doing what it was intended to do.

Good Mother

Don't Tread

February 20th, 2012
9:59 am

“The Zell Miller award pays all tuition for the state’s highest-achieving students.”

Note the words “highest-achieving students”, which indicates that the scholarships are completely merit-based. Of course, liberals will find somthing wrong with anything that is merit-based. Their children who smoked dope (there’s nothing wrong with that, right?) and played Xbox the whole time they were in high school need not apply.

bu2

February 20th, 2012
10:03 am

All the studies show GPA to be the best individual predictor of college success. They also show the SAT/GPA combination to be a better predictor than GPA alone. And colleges are among the leaders in not wanting biased admissions criteria. They work closely with the testing companies to improve the test. Removing the test requirement simply forces colleges and scholarships to make worse decisions.

bilbo799

February 20th, 2012
10:07 am

@ Brandy

You’re still not making sense. YOU said you got a low SAT score because you’re a bad test-taker — the fact that you did well on the LSAT (I scored very high on both, and there absolutely are similarities, but that’s beside the point) indicates you have no problem taking tests, so I guess I don’t understand your point. And the SAT verbal helps Asian students because of vocabulary??? Many Asian students are the first in their family to speak English fluently — I can assure you Asian students are not at some magical advantage because of their vocabularies. Finally, you don’t like the SAT because it is not “magical” and is run by a private company. But if it’s a good enough measure for just about EVERY major university (look at the SAT scores of the top universities), surely it’s good enough as one measure for HOPE/ZM. And a 1200 is not asking a lot. No one is advocating a 1550 SAT requirement.

Bravo Dr. Monica

February 20th, 2012
10:08 am

Dr. Monica, I read this excerpt with interest and applause ” I also gave them the option to “counteroffer” any assignments they disliked with recommendations of their own design, reserving of course the right as the instructor to veto as needed. I got some fabulous assignment suggestions from my students.”

kudos to you for creating an environment like this. I enjoyed your response and applaud your innovatve idea here. Bravo!

Good mother

bu2

February 20th, 2012
10:11 am

Steve does have a good point. States are not supporting colleges the way they did in the 70s and 80s. And colleges have, until the latest budget cuts, been spending like a drunken sailor. Tutitions are way up.

We really need to put some of the management science professors to work wringing inefficiency out of the system. In particular, facilities are overbuilt on many campuses. There are almost always lots of empty classrooms. That means lots more capital costs and lots more maintenance costs.

HOPE needs to deal with 2 separate issues, making college affordable and keeping the best and brightest. Skipping either one hurts the state in the long run. What some propose would price college out of range for many in the middle class. It would lead to more part-time students who are more likely to drop out and would increase the time to graduate, which drives up the cost for the colleges.

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
10:33 am

@Bilbo, yet, Asian students do out perform other ethnic/racial groups on the SAT, in both Verbal and Mathematics sections. They outperform African American students by 19%, for example.
(http://www.jbhe.com/features/49_college_admissions-test.html)

Coming from a non-English speaking home does not mean one still does not have parents who value education highly, parents who themselves are well educated, better access to enrichment, advancement, and print-rich environments, all of which are indicators of higher verbal scores on standardized tests. Also, there are many, many Asian students in this country who do not come from non-English speaking homes. Many have parents and even grandparents who speak English and are well-educated. Many are from families that have been here in the US for generations.

I also still believe the two tests are different and do consider myself a poor test taker. I feel that the LSAT played more to my strengths why excluding much of what I struggle with on standardized tests like the SAT. For example, when I took the SAT, there was no writing section; however, the LSAT had one. Also, there was logic on the LSAT, but not mathematics as on the SAT. Our experiences may have been different.

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
10:37 am

@Good Mother and company: Not sure why folks keep insisting that Zell Miller created HOPE primarily to keep good students in Georgia. On my desk, I have the book, “Zell: The Governor Who Gave Georgia HOPE.”
Here is what Miller said about why he created HOPE.
From page 306 of the biography:

“It never has been more important for our students to get a college education, but at the same time, it has never been more difficult for their families to pay for for it. “

On page 311 on the impact of HOPE:

“Not many years ago, few people expected their children to go to college. It was a dream of theirs. But when they got beyond the dreams, they didn’t think college was affordable or accessible. That’s no longer the case.”
Maureen

Cactus

February 20th, 2012
10:38 am

Georgia’s 2010 STAR Student was from Dougherty County, one of the poorest areas in the United States, and he scored more than 2300 on his SAT. The product of a single-parent family and someone who lived most of his life in a motel room, he worked hard and took advantage of everything his public school system offered. Inspiring him and instilling in him a strong work ethic was his mother who made sure he did his school work and valued education. Today, this student is a successful sophomore at Yale. Affluence can be an advantage for those in metro Atlanta but it can be trumped by those in very poor school districts who study hard and take advantage of the resources of their public school system. To be the state’s STAR student means a high school senior has performed at a higher level than any other student in Georgia’s public or private schools. Georgia students who are willing to commit themselves to their schoolwork and academic success can earn the Zell Miller scholarship regardless of where they live. Parental involvement, caring professional educators and student effort are more important factors in student success than the affluence of their community, in my opinion.

Scooby

February 20th, 2012
11:08 am

I used to play the lotto because it benefitted those less fortunate, but when the GOP took over the HOPE Program, I suspected that something like this would materialize.

Anyone with the ability to pay for higher education receiving HOPE should be ashamed of themselves and are being selfish. This is Robin Hood in reverse, the rich taking from the poor (who plays the lotto). Only in GA (ofther states have a need component built in to their education lottery).

Jack

February 20th, 2012
11:13 am

Students with the highest grades should get the most help.

Hillbilly D

February 20th, 2012
11:16 am

And colleges have, until the latest budget cuts, been spending like a drunken sailor. Tutitions are way up.

If you look at all the new buildings they’re building, at least in North GA, they’re still spending like drunken sailors.

The Purpose of Hope/ GM

February 20th, 2012
11:22 am

If the purpose of Hope is only to provide money for college to those who need it, then this topic has already been beaten to smithereens on the Get Schooled Blog. It has already been addressed many, many times on Get Schooled. The debate is should it be needs-based or should it be merit-based.

It just depends who you ask. If a parent has enough money to send their child to college and their child is a high-achiever, then the parent wants it to be merit based.

If the parent doesn’t have enough money to send their child to college, they will argue that Hope must be needs-based.

We are spinning our wheels here on this Get Schooled blog as it is,

What I would hope that Get Schooled and the AJC team would do is to analyze how Hope is impacting the economy in Georgia and how it is impacting the personal lives of those who used Hope.

My earnest hope is that the AJC and the individuals who are employed as journalists would objectively gather data and then invite guest authors on both sides of the issue to offer their interpretations of the data and then invite laymen to comment on the blog.

…but to just put up yet another blog on Get Schooled about Hope that invitres more bickering (need vs. merit) is not helpful to education in GA. It might produce numbers of comments which may boost ratings for Get Schooled but is is helpful? I don’t think so.

C Jae of EAV

February 20th, 2012
11:23 am

Has the HOPE program simply become a glorifed subsidy program for colleges in GA?

Has the presence/guarentee of HOPE contributed to the sharp esclation in tution across the state?

Have we simply set expectations that are beyond our ability to keep giving the underlying funding source?

Personally I think the program should return to its original blended means tested / merit based qualifing roots. I would add in additional qualifying language that makes the award a loan that’s conditionally forgiven based on student performance in college. Its clear there has to be some limits placed on who gets it or else the whole program will die.

bilbo799

February 20th, 2012
11:38 am

@ Brandy

You said Asian students have an advantage over others because of their vocabularies. And now you’re citing RESULTS as evidence. What if there isn’t an advantage at all but Asian students just work harder or care more?

And as for your LSAT vs. SAT point, the reasons you cited for doing well on the LSAT have everything to do with the content of the LSAT, not that the LSAT wasn’t a test — it obviously is (and a largely muliple choice test at that). So all you’re saying is that you do well on standardized tests when their content is favorable to you. Well, fine — a lot of people are in the same situation. You don’t do well with basic high school level math and verbal, so you didn’t/wouldn’t get ZM/HOPE. You do better at the law school test and so you’ll have more opportunities for law school scholarships (generally privately funded). Great! Sounds fair. What does this have to do with changing HOPE/ZM? Again, I don’t know how many times to say this. No one is asking for an exceptionally high SAT score — 1200 + GPA and you get college for free! An incredible deal.

Old timer

February 20th, 2012
11:39 am

Who gets to decide how much money is enough to educate your kids? My dad made a lot of money in the 50s,60s and 70s. We had six children then my mom got very sick. Much more money than decent insurance would pay for was spent. Needless to say…..I needed money for college. I did not qualify at state schools for a penny. At several private schools I got all the help I needed and as I progressed through my studies, I got more than I had to have and graduated in four years with no debt. Several siblings did the same. I will say a merit based scholarship should not have income limits. Poor people get lots of help.

Give Lottery Money back to the poor through Prek/ GM

February 20th, 2012
11:39 am

I think we should abandon the Hope scholarship altogether and instead give the money back to the people who paid for the lottery tickets — to the poor people who bought them by providing free Pre-K with extended free day care.

We know several things without a doubt:

We need more employed, tax-paying GA citizens.
To become a tax-payer, instead of a tax-gobbler-upper, one must be educated.
The cheapest way to make a tax-payer out of a tax gobbler-upper is to provide an education to the gobbler.
The cheapest and easiest way to create an educated person is to provide a very, very early education and intervention.
Currenly, pre-K is offerened to many for free but the after-care is unaffordable.
If one makes minimum wage (7.25) , one cannot afford the $6 per hour aftercare.
So, I advocate we take ALL the lottery funds and create free GA pre-K and aftercare till 6 p.m. for all GA children.
That way, we all start with a good start. All those children will be prepared to start kindergarten and to continue learing.
if we still have more lottery money after funding pre-k. let’s pay for tutoring after the 2:30 school bell rings for those who need it.
If we in GA did not have to pay for all the social welfare programs we have to pay for now, we’d give all of we Georgians a big fat raise.
If we really want to be fair and get the burden of poverty off of each of our necks, we have to ensre the poor are educated…and therefore, employable…and therefore tax payers, instead of tax users.

It just makes fiscal sense. It is also humane and fair.
Good Mother

C Jae of EAV

February 20th, 2012
11:44 am

@TD – In consideration of your question, in terms of income limits, I think roughly a $160K combined income limit is a reasonable starting point. In terms of balancing the academic qualifers 3.7 GPA and a minimum SAT of 2160 (assuming the new scale, with a minimum 680 score per section). Again I would adjust the award to be a loan, instead of a grant, that’s forgivable based on student performance.

I realize my suggestions are not perfect and would still leave some out on each end of the scale, but if got to shoot for something, I think my suggestion is reasonable given the factors of consideration.

GM of IST @ CCDOE in GMU

February 20th, 2012
11:46 am

I’m telling you again! We need state sponsored prostitution and crack dealing to solve this mess. If state-sponsored gamblng isn’t sending Buffy and Skip to party on Milledge then maybe making some cash off of hookers and crackheads will do the trick.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
12:02 pm

Yes, leaving the HOPE as it is probably does serve to keep some high income kids in-state rather than going off to the ivy leagues. If we all agree that’s the purpose of HOPE, then so be it.

Someone noted that the SAT doesn’t perfectly predict college success. Actually, it’s virtually useless at predicting college success. It’s only intended to predict FIRST YEAR success. Although the SAT is easily one of the best made tests in the world, it’s not very good at all at even doing that. That’s not a slam at the College Board. The test is a beautiful piece of work. It’s just that tests can only do so much, even though most of the lay public (and, worse, legislators) seem to think they’re the be-all-end-all rulers of student performance.

hsped

February 20th, 2012
12:04 pm

I have to agree with the criteria that students meet both GPA and SAT requirements. There are too many discrepancies with grading. I work in Fayette County and have worked at two different high schools. One school is much more challenging than the other. One school consistently produces students that score higher on all standardized tests (it is a Platinum school). The excuse from the other school is that not all students are “good test-takers.” Yeah..right. I know different. I know that grades were HEAVILY curved to produce more Honor Graduates.

The excuses about availabity of SAT prep course. Anyone that wants can check a review book out of the library and study. That, again, is another excuse. Plus, those that truly are earning the high GPAs don’t need a prep course, now do they?

justbrowsing

February 20th, 2012
12:04 pm

i believe in merit based scholarships. It is time to do away with the attitude of entitlement so many have. It is not about money, it is about merit. A student in a Dekalb or Atlanta school can do just as well if it is their desire to do so and if they choose to attend a university in Georgia. Mitigating circumstances can be considered, however, the criteria is what it is.

Really?

February 20th, 2012
12:05 pm

Maureen, regardless of what the initial purpose of HOPE was, the result was twofold. First, kids who couldn’t previously afford college could (and still can) make it happen. Second talented kids regardless of income did not flee our fair state as soon as they turned 18 as had been happening for years. I don’t know if you lived in Georgia before HOPE, but even the University of Georgia was considered subpar for high achievers back then. It was considered a “country bumpkin” school and was the “safe” school for any kids who had talent, aspirations and resources. Pretty much anyone could get into Georgia. Georgia State and Georgia Southern were sort of a joke.

Now kids with talent are beating down the door to get into Georgia, and its reputation nationwide has skyrocketed. Second tier colleges such as GA State and GA Southern are now considered good alternatives. What do you think will happen over time if there is no incentive for talent to stay in Georgia? Maybe they want flee next year, but what will UGA and the second tier GA schools look like in 10-15 years?

We need to not only look at the purposes of the HOPE legislation at the time, but also look at the actual results of the legislation since its inception. Changes to the legislation will change those results. When kids have merit based offers from Chapel Hill, UVA, Vanderbilt, Sewannee, Georgetown, etc. that are similar to what they would pay at UGA without a HOPE scholarship, where do you think they are going to go? Do you really, really think they will stay in Georgia and spend four years in Clark County? Really?

Do we really want to spend all that taxpayer money educating high achievers in K-12 and then send them, their evil money and their parents’ evil money to North Carolina or some other state to benefit their economy? Don’t we want to encourage them to stay here and spend their money (aka create jobs) here? All those lottery ticket buyers have to get their money from somewhere, right? Someone has created a job for them, no? That person is quite likely one of those evil rich people.

Liberals have a hard time seeing that sort of thing, unfortunately. If you aren’t downtrodden, you aren’t a benefit to society according to their thinking.

meredith

February 20th, 2012
12:05 pm

Here is a thought…if you know you can’t afford your child’s tuition (I am a teacher, so I know I will not be able to do so) start now and support your child to be successful at school. If you can’t do that, you can either hope that your child is intrinsically motivated or you can plan to pay for college yourself or have your child get loans. College is not a right!

old school doc

February 20th, 2012
12:09 pm

HOPE should be merit and needs based.

An unintended, but great IMHO, effect HOPE was to keep talented students of all SES levels, and their dollars ( for personal expenses) here in GA.
UGA is no longer a “safety school”– it is competitive now, thanks to HOPE.

any comment on the salary increases of some SSO staff. Our tax dollars at work… indeed!

bilbo799

February 20th, 2012
12:25 pm

@ Jerry Eads, @ Maureen

Whether the SAT predicts college success is a very complex issue — there’s no easy answer, and there are a lot of conflicting, nuanced studies. One set of studies suggests that the predictive qualities of the SAT are unfairly understated because many colleges (esp. elite ones) have a relatively narrow range of SAT scores to consider. So there may be data saying that SAT scores have nothing to do with success at Harvard or Duke or Princeton, but you’re generally comparing kids who got 1590 against kids who got 1500. Another set indicates that criticisms of the SAT are unfair because college performance has so much to do with course/major selection — very few studies have a good control group that effectively isolates SAT performance. Finally, what college success means is significant — is it mere graduation or employment or graduate school admission or GPA? My point is two fold: (1) there is no way you can conclusively state (at this point at least) that SAT scores are bad predictors of college “success” and (2) assuming the SAT is terrible at prediction, I think that’s an argument for making HOPE/ZM recipients who fail at college pay their tuition back, which I fully support.

ScienceTeacher671

February 20th, 2012
12:32 pm

If we went back to the old 3.0 average, no income limit, but excluded remedial courses and made HOPE a forgivable loan, based on college GPA, would the amount we have now be adequate?

rojer

February 20th, 2012
1:12 pm

The SAT also gives opportunities to those who DO score well but may not have the grades. The test is a great equalizer for a bunch of kids (and their parents) that wont or dont develop relationships with the teachers that hand out the grades. From elementary all the way through grad studies, grades involve a lot more than academic performance but the standardized tests are what they are, a straight calculation of right and wrong. Lot to be said for that as one criteria.

AlreadySheared

February 20th, 2012
1:14 pm

On a lighter note, what about Hope for THESE kids:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RrreVthWRY

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
1:15 pm

An excellent response, @bilbo. But the data are quite clear that the SAT taken by itself has very, very little predictive value. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, it’s just overused by the public and legislators. It’s typically NOT overused by college admissions folks. It’s only one of many data points used by them in selecting students.

The research with which I’m familiar, including some of the data analyses I used to be able to do myself on Georgia students, are regression analyses that don’t require treatment/no treatment experimental designs. Those have their own problems, of course, but the bottom line is that if you really want to predict who’s going to get through college, The SAT isn’t the tool to use by itself (there are no such tools in our larder).

Not sure paying back that first year’s tuition is all that helpful. I have kids who are working 60 hours a week to stay in school. While I don’t know if HOPE is or was one of their support sources, paying back a year’s tuition would guarantee that some incredibly valuable ‘future’ citizens never get through college. That would not, I would argue, be in the best interests of society.

Those of us who are, relatively speaking, the “haves,” have a very tough time relating the the trials and tribulations of the very hard-working talented students really trying to go after the currently quite discredited “American Dream.” The current HOPE structure simply follows the apparent agenda of so many of today’s politicians to serve the desires of the rich rather than the needs of those who elected them.

To Meredith from GM

February 20th, 2012
1:18 pm

Meredith, you made a very interesting comment “College is not a right!”

In our country, I agree, it certainly is a right.

The question I have is “Should it be a right?”

You gave some compelling advice to parents — either save for it or motivate your child to get a scholarship…now here is the sticky wicket:

College educations benefits all of society. The more educated we are, the more affluent and healthy all of us are. In my mind, everyone who wants to go to college should be able to afford college regardless of the motivation of our parents.

Children don’t choose their parents. children either are fortunate to be born to good parents or they aren’t. I wouldn’t make college depend on the actions of people (our parents) over which we have no control.

I think a better yard stick for our society is to measure what is best for all of us — is an education best for all of us? I think so. If that means every child who can do the college work and wants to do the college work ought to be able to afford college and not limit college to those of us who won the birth lottery.

Should college be a right?

I think for every kid who wants to go to college and who is willing to work – yes — I think college should be a right.

GM

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
1:22 pm

@Bilbo, did you read anything else I said? I don’t think it should be eliminated. I just think it should be tempered. A third qualifier would help make the process more rigorous and more equitable.

What precentage of HOPE, Zell Miller, or GA Pre-K beneficiaries or their parents contribute to the fund by buying lottery tickets? I have always wondered if those who buy the tickets and thus contribute the money are more or less likely to see the benefits of the programs they are funding. I have no idea one way or the other, but it would be interesting to know as lotteries are often called “idiot taxes”.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
1:22 pm

@rojer, yes, and the differences between grades and SAT are taken into account by most college admissions folk. The other side of that fence are the kids typically discussed who ‘can’t test’ but get good grades. Those foibles are why college admissions folk in selective colleges take into account many pieces in choosing their incoming freshmen. And I’m SO glad I don’t have their job, because they have no choice but to make MANY mistakes in spite of their talent, long hours and tedious reviews of the information.

catlady

February 20th, 2012
1:23 pm

Ms. Downey, no comment on my 8:35 of yesterday?

We need to face it: Initially HOPE was designed to get the middle class voters to okay the lottery. Period. In furtherance of that end, Zell et all came up with other “reasons.” But because HOPE was DENIED to poor kids on Pell, we cannot say it was initially to get poor kids to college. They got NOTHING more than they would have gotten without HOPE being around. As I recall, the bottom cut off lasted a YEAR longer than the top income cutoff. So it really didn’t offer anything to truely poor kids at first.

Let’s not be naive, or resort to revisionist history.

catlady

February 20th, 2012
1:25 pm

Sorry about the misspellings.

Regular Joe

February 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

The Purpose of Hope/ GM, thanks for the good post..

The only way hope is going to survive is it has stay under budget and help students across the whole state. This blog gets a lot of action when “hope” is mentioned, but the responses are 90% whining with no smart solutions.

Sandy Springs Parent

February 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Here are some facts, at a Sandy Springs Middle School, that many of you may condsider and upper income Middle School. But it is not, because 71% of the students are on Free or reduced Lunch. The vast majority of the students are Hispanic or Black, some thing like 40% and 30%, only around 20% of the school is white the rest is asian or other minorities. This school that incorporates all of the Riverside Drive, Northside Drive, Mt. Paren, Area of Sandy Springs did not meet AYP, last year. It is required to offer free tutoring to those who receive free or reduced lunch. Since, I do not choose to commit fraud and claim that I make less than $22,000 a year, I do not qualify for free or reduced lunch. Therefore my child does not get a free tutor. What does it cost to go out and find extra tutoring $50 an hour if you want to find a certified teacher.

Now when I take the short cut down Northland Drive to my house, and get stuck behind the Elementary School bus, their are two full buses emptying off at a small dilabated complex, letting off the anchor babies. You see the mothers hiding in the bushes. All those anchor babies, are entitles to the free tutoring. Their parents make no effort to assimilate, learn English or follow the rules and Law. They do know how to sign the child up for Free Lunch, Food Stamps and Medicaid, along with housing assistance the moment they have them. They claim they are unmarried, but every Sunday in the Catholic Church Bulleton I see the Wedding and Baptismal announcements to MR.and Mrs. Diaz.

When the same 10-15 or us who did two Mandatory volunteer items last week. All parents are required at this conversion Charter Volunteer to Volunteer 10 Hrs per student per year, have discussions while volunteering. We can not figure out where the 70% free or reduced lunch making less than 22K are living since no Apartments in the School Attendance Zone rents for under $1,000 month and houses start at $300K. We can just figure out their is alot of free lunch fraud.

So do we feel bad when after we have paid for and hired at $50/hr tutors for our kids to do well in school. I am taking my daughter to the SAT turor today, he says only 4-5 sessions at $50 each, should be enough to raise her score several hundred points.

By the way you can buy the on-line review book from the SAT folks for only about $60. It is very interactive. (They say it is all you need.) Some folks could just skip getting their nails done twice $29 x2 to afford it or do without the weave. ) That is what us white folks do, we do without, our kids do their own nails at home. Why do you think so many white girls have pony tails. Why are moms roots past due or her cloths out of date. School is a priority! My kids have never had 300 sneakers they never will under my roof.

carlosgvv

February 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

If those who qualify for this are only the best high school scholars, it’s hard to see why anyone would complain. Only the best and brightest should go to college. Or, do some of you want mediocre doctors, dentists, lawyers and airline pilots?

Reality mom

February 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

What about kids who have learning disabilities? I have a very hard working son who has never made an A in any high school academic class. He spends twice as much time on school than almost anyother student in his class (’13) on learning the same material. We both work two jobs to be able to pay for tutors and extra help. He has an IEP just to get through. Do parent’s of the AP kids even know what that is?
He is not stupid. He can program computers, fix cars, fix delicious meals and debate you on almost any subject. He won’t go to college right away. Hopefully a tech school so that he will be able to get a decent job.
We need to make sure that these kids also can get post high school education. I am happy for those whose kids are the best and the brightest. Your kid might be the boss or the owner one day and my kid will be the employee. Don’t you want him to be the best employee you have?

carlosgvv

February 20th, 2012
2:14 pm

YOu made an interesting comment “Only the best and brightest should go to college. Or, do some of you want mediocre doctors, dentists, lawyers and airline pilots?”

We already have mediocre doctors, dentists, lawyers and airline pilots. We also have terrible doctors, dentists, lawyers and airline pilots.

Average Joes need to go to college to so that our society can function. Colleges teach people how to think and what to know so they can do less glamorous jobs such as deparment store managers, nurses, mechanical engineers and so on.

If we save college for only the best and the brightest, our society cannot be maintained.

Think back to a time in history when only the best and thre brightest (i.e. landed gentry) went to college. Most of the population was dirt poor. Is that what you want to return to?

We cannot be a democracy with dirt poor uneducated masses. if we have a society filled with uneducated masses, it puts our nation in a position to be ripe to be taken over by a dictator from within or from another country.

Education is for everyone. We need to ensure everyone that can do the work and is willing to do the work can go to college. It just makes sense for everyone.

GM

To Reality Mom from GM

February 20th, 2012
2:21 pm

You make excellent points and too often we forget about the needs of kids who are making a valiant effort but can in no way qualify for HOPE regardless of their efforts. In cases like yours, I agree, HOPE should benefits your child as much as the one born gifted.

GM

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
2:27 pm

Bravo, Meredith. Sadly, it seems that many citizens think only of themselves and not as citizens. Although Kennedy will now be disfavored for his indiscretions, his speechwriter who wrote “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” should be credited for one of the most important lines ever penned. Any kid working hard at his or her education – regardless of the level – is doing every bit as much for the country as he or she is doing for themselves.

What is the true benefit of the lottery? GM

February 20th, 2012
2:36 pm

Do we really know the true benefit of the lottery in GA?

I think the biggest benefit goes:

NOT to any college student.
NOT to any poor person.
NOT to any pre-k student.

The biggest beneficiaries of the lottery are teh fat cats at the top who administer it.

I read somewhere that only about 25% of all lottery money goes to Hope and Pre-K.

Other than the actual payouts to lottery winners, the money goes to fat cats at the top who are collecting overblown salaries and bonusues.

WHY DON’T WE HEAR ABOUT THE REAL CAUSE OF LOW HOPE FUNDS?

The real cause is corruption at the top of the lottery food chain. Why doesn’t the AJC investigate where all the lottery money is actually going? do we not have enough qualified AJC reporters to investigate? Would this be a great topic to discuss?

Would this be a good investigation to pursue?

What if there IS ENOUGH MONEY for Hope and pre-K but it is being wasted on corruption at the top of the lottery food chain?

Good Mother/Good Citizen

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
2:37 pm

@GM. The AJC has done multiple stories on the lottery and the pay to its top folks.
Maureen

To Maureen/ Pay of Top Lottery Officials

February 20th, 2012
2:50 pm

Maureen you say “The AJC has done multiple stories on the lottery and the pay to its top folks.”

So how about some analysis on the topic? Is salaries and bonuses were appropriate, would there be enough money to fund Hope or to fund Pre-K?

THe Get Schooled blog focuses on merit vs. need over and over and over…..without a solution. This dead horse has been beaten so badly it is now hamburger meat tartar.

So what i propose, put something else out here to think about — an action item to learn from. Anything to chew on that might promote an idea, a solution, a change..

…just anything that promotes anything other than a steady stream of the same comments and lack of ideas we’ve seen and heard before. We need the “new” in news.

Old timer

February 20th, 2012
3:01 pm

To. reality Mom….keep working with your child. Your child will qualify for Vacational Rehab and will havehelp, including emotional support and financial all the time he is in college. The people who do this are good. Many even get housing stipends…far better than hope. When your child is in 10,11,&12grade there should be transition support. It is required by the Feds…..

Vince Doodly

February 20th, 2012
3:12 pm

Our family is from metro Atlanta and our daughter EARNED her way into the Zell Miller Scholarship. You do not get handed this scholarship by just taking ordinary HS classes and surviving with a B average like the HOPE. You have to work your tail off and qualify for it. Our kid took 31 AP credits to UGA when she went and carries a 3.7 average as a junior now. Do not denigrate the work she did by implying that somehow the selection process is unfair.

We are not wealthy. Our kids work HARD and have earned this scholarship on Merit. If other kids work just as hard, they’ll have the same shot.

The US Navy Seals have a slogan: “It pays to be a winner”. The young men and women who work hardest and are the smartest get the rewards they have earned.

DO NOT CHEAT my daughters well earned merit by attempting to allude that she only got it because she happens to live in Atlanta. Thats BS.

Randy Brittain

February 20th, 2012
3:15 pm

1. Are you able to realize that most of the scholarships will be given to students where they live? About 60% of the public school students in Georgia live in Metro Atlanta.

2. Why are you surprised when grades and SAT are the criteria, that those who perform best will get the scholarships? Although your paper constantly criticizes them, schools in the Metro Atlanta and North Georgia school systems (with the exception of the Atlanta City School District) area are far superior to public schools south of the fall line. Check the test scores. It should not be a surprise that the bulk of the scholarships would be awarded in those areas.

3. Students who are needy already qualify for Pell grants and other institutional financial aid. They should not also get the bulk of scholarships based on merit.

Spike

February 20th, 2012
3:21 pm

I can’t believe that in 2012 this information is a surprise/shock to anyone. Most of these type of programs are drafted with honorable intentions but wind up being abused by the politico for those that need the financial help the least.
Government programs typically have so many loopholes that they won’t/can’t hold any water. And, by the time the needy get to the table there is little to no help remaining.

Mom

February 20th, 2012
3:22 pm

@vince doodly: Well said. : )

T man

February 20th, 2012
3:23 pm

Maureen, come on pleeeeease don’t pull that caddy arguement by sighting a few twisted statistics. This is not rocket science….it is simple logic.Like so many before me have posted it is the kids and families (PARENTS!!) that value a good education and put more time into being their best academically that are the ones that excel in all areas. Surely you don’t want HS test scores to be a criteria as they are already blatantly inconsistent and almost fraudulent in some schools. That is why they call tehm “standardized” tests. Yes there are some colleges doing away with SAT requiremnts but that does not necessarily make it right or a smart thing. Most colleges are overfunded liberal bastions that try the touchy feely programs and try to change our children with”diversity” propoganda. I say dispense with all this poppycock and lets focus on a seriously good quality world renowned education that will put us back at the top worldwide. BTW…in case you have not read the latest stats the USA is no where near the top acedemically thanks toyears of irresponsible liberal diversity type programs…read dumb down.

Dick

February 20th, 2012
3:24 pm

Maureen: The fact that you know someone who got a 1600 SAT score and had a 4.3 GPA who did not get into Harvard or Yale speaks more for those who did get into those schools whose SAT or GPA was less. To play on a sports team you must have ability pure and simple. You can get into a top notch school with less ability due to a number of factors including race, sex or income.
Scholarships mean, by their basic defintion, an award for excelling.

TeachAManToFish

February 20th, 2012
3:26 pm

@JoBoxer

The Lottery is a tax on people who don’t understand math very well.

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
3:27 pm

@GM:
The impact of Georgia Lottery Corp. salaries and bonuses on HOPE and pre-k payouts is minimal. And less so now since there will be no bonuses. (A new law passed last year to preserve the HOPE scholarship program included a provision that limited bonuses to no more than 1 percent of the net increase in lottery money going to education.)

You can look at the financials yourself and see that the staff and executive pay are not significant enough to reinvigorate the scholarship.
Gross ticket sales were $3.598 billion in fiscal year 2011. For the 2010 fiscal year, gross ticket sales were over $3.645 billion. For fiscal year 2011, the net proceeds paid to the Lottery for Education Account were $846.1 million. The net proceeds paid to the Lottery for Education represent a decrease of $37.8 million as compared to the prior year. For fiscal year 2010, net proceeds paid were $883.9 million, which represented an increase of $11.8 million over fiscal year 2009.
 For fiscal year 2011, gross tickets sales decreased by $47.5 million, a 1.3% decrease as compared to
2010. For fiscal year 2010, gross tickets sales decreased slightly, $17.7 million which was less than
.5% below fiscal year 2009.
 Prizes expense decreased $8.3 million during fiscal year 2011 and decreased $19.5 million in fiscal
year 2010. This expense usually increases or decreases in direct proportion to ticket sales and
represented approximately 59% of gross ticket sales in fiscal years 2011 and 58% in 2010. Prize
expense represented approximately 59% of gross ticket sales in 2009.
 Direct gaming expenses, which include retailer commissions and bonuses, contractor fees,
advertising, and retailer merchandising and marketing decreased $6.9 million in fiscal year 2011.
These expenses also fluctuate in proportion to ticket sales and represented approximately 9.4% of
gross ticket sales in 2011 and 9.5% in 2010. For fiscal year 2010, direct gaming expenses decreased
$1.4 million below 2009. These expenses represented approximately 9.5% of gross ticket sales in
2009.
 Operating expenses remained at less than 1% of gross ticket sales for fiscal years 2011 and 2010.
Fiscal year 2011 operating expenses increased $.7 million over 2010 expenses, resulting primarily
from increases of $.7 million in personnel costs, $.2 million in depreciation expense, $.2 million in
repairs and maintenance, $.2 million in professional fees, $.1 million in insurance expense, and $.1
million in bad debt expense, partially offset by a $.6 million decrease in sales employee
commissions, and $.2 million in rent expense. Fiscal year 2010 operating expenses increased
$40,000 over the previous fiscal year. Operating expenses remained at less than 1% of gross ticket
sales for fiscal years 2010 and 2009.
https://www.galottery.com/images/pdfs/reports/2011-glc-financial-statements.pdf

Rod

February 20th, 2012
3:28 pm

Sandy Springs Parent seems like you are mad you are not getting free lunch haha

coachx

February 20th, 2012
3:29 pm

Scholarships should be awarded based on who earns them. The best grades get the full ride…….you get what you earn.

Society must not reward mediocrity over better talent.

DawgFan

February 20th, 2012
3:33 pm

To quote: “favors those students who live in Atlanta’s affluent suburbs,” probably the reason of this happening is because most of the parents in those neighborhoods push their children to academic success. Parents in the “other areas” seem to think the only way for their children to get a college scholarship is in sports. I see this a lot, parents in the “other areas” don’t meet with their children’s teachers, don’t get involved with their homework, push their children in sports and when they fail, they have nothing to fall back on, like academics. As a matter of fact the only way these schools in those “areas” make it is to cheat. Get the parents to start taking a interest in their child’s grades and help them succeed. with the resources today they have no excuse

Just sayin'

February 20th, 2012
3:33 pm

Regarding the comments from Mom (Feb,.19) whose daughter has never been on a date or been to a party because she studies or volunteers so much, is this her idea of being a well-rounded teen or yours? You may think the ends justifies the means, but there are plenty of kids who have stellar grades and SAT scores who also have social lives. It’s an important part of growing up and becoming an adult.

AtlSouthside

February 20th, 2012
3:35 pm

People kill me saying that “hard work pays off” or “Society must not reward mediocrity over better talent.” – As though CEOs & VPs landed in their positions by working hard & not by simply knowing the right people.

AtlSouthside

February 20th, 2012
3:48 pm

Even the number for Fulton County scholarships are inflated, especially if you consider there is a North Fulton Co. (Alpharetta/Sandy Springs) & a South Fulton Co. (College Park/East Point)

AtlSouthside

February 20th, 2012
3:51 pm

Dawg Fan,

You’re 100% WRONG about your stereotype of families in “other areas”

I would argue that more athletic scholarships are also awarded to the same schools in those affluent areas.

Jimmy

February 20th, 2012
3:55 pm

You are kidding yourself if you think that CEO’s and high paid execs got there without hard work and academic ( and other kinds) of performance. Having a network did not help but shareholders don’t go looking for a happy slacker they know well to be the CEO of their company.

Even if it were true, it would still be a bad idea to shift the HOPE or the ZM fron being a merit based scholarship to being means based.

Judge Judy

February 20th, 2012
3:57 pm

1>lets see “poor “students already have access to many scholarships, grants etc. that the “affluent cannot get”. Pell grants for example dozens of affirmative action and race based scholarships for another
2. Lets see if I’m “affluent” and now I have to spend tuition money,instead of the HOPE or Zell miller scholarship that my child earned, that’s money I won’t spend to –hire more workers–buy a meal at a nice restaurant-go on vacation–but a new car–etc etc.
3. Regardless of money -’affluent’ students are much much more likely to graduate,get better grades, not have to take remedial classes— in other words money better spent on those students
4.Knock off the class warfare that’s destroying the country –they have more so we should take some of theirs mentality!

CA

February 20th, 2012
4:00 pm

@Brandy, thank you for your posts of today. I was going to respond to a few of those who commented on your posts (those who feel that due to special needs, students can’t make it). For those, it appears to be a black / white (not as in race) issue. I appreciate, as I’m sure many do, that you actually include references in your posts. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that there are gifted students who may have challenges that require accommodations. Stephen Hawking comes to mind. Thank you for your posts. We can only hope that ignorance turns to enlightenment.

ATLCPA

February 20th, 2012
4:03 pm

@AtlSouthside. While knowing the right people definitely helps it will not allow you to say in a high profile job without performance.

Professor in training

February 20th, 2012
4:05 pm

Research shows that if PARENTS are interested in their child’s education, the child will tend to do well in school. You don’t have to read Shakespeare or play Mozart for your child but if you are interested in teaching your child SOMETHING and helping your child learn ANYTHING, that helps your child in terms of their educational development. The compliment is the motivation and self-discipline of the child. Motivation speaks to the desire to do well and self-discipline speaks to the effort placed upon doing well. Children that are able to see the benefits to doing well in school, i.e. a prosperous lifestyle with time for enjoyable and stimulating activities, understand the correlation between education and quality of life. So if you grow up in any area where you see doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, etc. leading “successful” lives, you emulate that path towards prosperity. If you grow up where you see only athletes and entertainers leading “successful” lives, you emulate that path towards prosperity. If you don’t have a model to emulate for prosperity, then chances are it will very difficult for you to attain the “successful” lifestyle. So, why are we surprised that children from affluent, metro-area households receive a disproportionate share of ZM scholarship dollars compared to those who are outside the metro and/or from less affluent households? The HOPE scholarship was created not to retain Georgia’s best and brightest but to improve the overall educational quality of the employment base. In order to do that, you’ve got to get the students from rural and low-income areas to a) graduate high school, b) achieve some type of post secondary education (technical or college). So, here’s our choice, impose an income cap and let affluent households find other means to pay for college or send their child out of state OR don’t have an income cap and continue to create a permanent underclass of Georgians with poorly developed or zero skills to offer in our information/technology based new economy which eventually cost us all in terms of reduced economic development and an eroding tax base for the state. The politicians want to insulate you from reality, because reality means someone is going to eventually have to pay for this mess.

ATLCPA

February 20th, 2012
4:06 pm

Education is not a black/white/hispanic or rich/poor issue. It is a cultural issue. Some cultures value education more than others.

Wait a second.....GM

February 20th, 2012
4:10 pm

Jimmy wrote “You are kidding yourself if you think that CEO’s and high paid execs got there without hard work and academic ( and other kinds) of performance. Having a network did not help but shareholders don’t go looking for a happy slacker they know well to be the CEO of their company.”

Jimmy. let’s take Beverly Hall as an example. She was a highly paid executive. Do you believe she got there through hard work and academic performance?

I get your point, Jimmy, and your critic’s point too. Highly paid executives and CEOs sometimes get to where they are through hard work and performance, sometimes through networking and sometimes through both…

…but…

we have to admit tht those with connections are likelier to get any job, even mediocre paying ones.

I was often frustrated at college when an employment counselor would tell me to ask my parents to help me network. My father and mother had no network. There wasn’t anyone they knew that I could network with.

Networking is for people who have access to a network and those people who have access to networks are the rich.

You gotta admit that, right?

GM

T

February 20th, 2012
4:12 pm

Since when does the constitution call for “equal results”? If I am not mistaken it only offers “equal opportunity”. The rules are set and EVERY student knows what is required, end of story. Kids that choose to not turn in assignments and allow their GPA to drop below the requirement, made that choice and should not get the scholarship, period.
Nice perpetuation of class warfare AJC.

amy

February 20th, 2012
4:14 pm

I’m just not sure that the statistics of the article prove conclusively whether the students receiving the scholarship are the most affluent or not. There are less affluent families in all the school districts, and since you don’t have parental salary data, some of this is just supposition and inference.

Also, I felt like there was another incorrect inferrence that only non-affluent people can be first generation college attendees. While it is perhaps harder to get a well paying job without a college degree, one can work hard and make a good living without a degree.

To Professor in Training

February 20th, 2012
4:22 pm

Very well said. I especially appreciate your comments about emulating those prosperous people.
As a girl, there weren’t any financially successful women around me to emulate but I saw some on TV and heard about them from somewhere. I didn’t know what I could do but I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, nurse or secretary.
GM

Atlanta Parent

February 20th, 2012
4:24 pm

When I went to the University of Georgia in the 1980s, it was considered a joke, a party school. Now it is one of the most highly regarded universities in the country, on par with many private schools. This is because the HOPE scholarship enticed many of Georgia’s best and brightest to stay in the state for college. Georgia should be very proud. The other universities in the Georgia system are also enjoying the benefits of keeping these high caliber students in state.

Adding income caps or other quotas to shut kids out of the scholarship just because they live in Metro Atlanta is a terrible idea. We have a scholarship that is color-blind, income-blind and geographic-blind and it has rewarded the highest acheiving kids and made Georgia a model for public university education. It has been a great success – let’s not ruin it.

If we want to form more need based scholarships, then let’s do that. But don’t ruin HOPE.

DawgDad

February 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

Alas, we have the never-ending arguments of “fairness” when it comes to government picking winners and losers. I would suggest re-examining whether or not HOPE is a proper role of government in the first place. Sponsoring gambling? Choosing who gets to go to a State (taxpayer funded) school free, when others have to pay and many do not get admitted at all due to capacity?

ANY person’s definition of “fairness” is no better than what they can sell to the voters. In the end, for ANY criteria, there will be supportable cases to be made for unfair treatment of others. This should be a signal that government has NO PLACE undertaking this type of program.

Fix for HOPE

February 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

A good start to fix HOPE–do away with the money for the PRE-K program –better know as Free Day Care—if it has worked so well after 20 years and several billion dollars -as experts continue to claim–why have our graduation rates, test scores, and students needing remedial help in college barely improved?

barneyfife

February 20th, 2012
4:32 pm

I don’t mean to sound callous, but let’s face it- the world does need ditch diggers. So if you are a ditch digger, be the best darned one you can be.

Seriously though, this is real life. Not everyone is cut out to go to college. I was on my own, and I worked my tail off for college. If you want it badly enough, you will work for it and not have it handed to you. That goes for righ as well as poor. Regardless of means, this is a MERIT BASED scholarship program! Get the grades, and you get the scholarship. Since when can a porr kid not be successful academically? If they are, then they too quality- it’s not needs-based. If you make it that way, you just throw money out to those who probably are a bad risk. If they aren’t successful in high school, what makes you think they will be successful in college? You are then just throwing the money away and setting them up for failure. I am sick and tired of the class warfare game. work your tail off in high school and it pays off. Hard work is not based on family income.

Consider this

February 20th, 2012
4:34 pm

So HOPE is in financial trouble-so the fix is to make the “rich” people pay because “they can afford it”. SOOOO -the rich people that now purchase lottery tickets, for fun and knowing -what the heck it’s going towards my kids tuition with HOPE–now say well my kid can’t get HOPE so screw buying any more lottery tickets. Yeah that’ll fix the problem, because “poor” people will buy more tickets roght?

elliemae

February 20th, 2012
4:36 pm

Amen, Atlanta Parent!
I am so sick of being penalized for being white, middle class, and from Metro Atlanta. I have a 3.96 GPA, 29 on the ACT and 1890 on the SAT. I have extracurriculars out the wazoo and am in National Honor Society. But I was deferred from UGA? And my cousin from rural South Ga. get in with a 3.2 With a 26 ACT and doesn’t do any kind of activities whatsoever? Really? Really?

Google this

February 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

A college education is a major expense, costing into the tens of thousands of dollars. For students that come from low-income backgrounds, paying for tuition, books, housing and other related expenses can be extremely difficult and make obtaining a degree seem like an impossible dream. Fortunately, there are a plethora of grants available to help needy students cover the costs of pursuing higher education so they can turn their dreams into reality.

Read more: Grants for Poor College Students | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6969167_grants-poor-college-students.html#ixzz1mxbddNva

BTW unavailable to the “affluent” students

DawgFan

February 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

AtlSouthside – I didn’t say “less” athletic scholarships were awarded to one area or another. I said parents in certain areas pay more attention to sports or athletic scholarships as a way to make it to college instead of academics. My point is the parents, but I have seen seen children from all different backgrounds make it and not make excuses. The scholarships are out there and all children have a chance to make it, work hard, study hard, these are traits learned from parents. Some learn them from relatives but the point is ALL have the same chance regardless of where they are from.

Dad

February 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

Mom, first let me say I agree totally with your comments! My situation is very similar to yours. I currently have a second year student at Ga. Tech. Is it fair that he goes to Tech where the classes are much more difficult and it is harder to keep the HOPE? He made his decision and we support him. Yes it’s hard but he makes the sacrifices he needs to to keep the grades up and hopefully will be rewarded for his efforts when he graduates. He earned it through hard work and sacrifice. How refreshing it is to see a kid earn a scholarship based on their hard work alone and not have it given based on some totally unrelated factor. Rather than income a lot of the success comes from the household and the parenting these kids receive. I attend the teachers meetings, the PTSA events and my kids know it is important to me. Parents must be involved and cannot expect something for nothing. Do the other kids value education and are their parents involved? These are the types of questions we need to be asking. And Mom, your daughter sounds very nice. If she is looking to meet a nice young man at Tech I know one!

Another Einstein

February 20th, 2012
4:44 pm

@ scooby yeah they should be ashamed ,not like those who pay zero federal income tax, but enjoy all the benefits of living here and are proud of it. By your reckoning people should be ashamed that they can “afford” a nice vacation. People should be guilty because they can “afford” a nice house, people are evil because they can “afford” a nice car. They should give it all up to those that don’t have it so everyone should be equal right?

southern hope

February 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

Do people with 3.96 GPA, 1890 on the SAT, National Honor Society membership honestly get wait-listed at UGA? I’m asking that truly…because (as a graduate from the late 80s) that is astonishing to me.

Brandy

February 20th, 2012
4:51 pm

@CA, thanks! I really enjoy reading your posts, as well. I really appreciate those of us who can keep these discussions civil.

All too often I see two types of thinking behind the responses you’ve mentioned:
First, I feel that often people just don’t know about special needs students and so they assume things that are not necessarily true. I have seen parents go from shocked and outraged at the notion that their child might have a disability to accepting and supporting when they realize that their son or daughter is still capable of achieving to the best of his or her ability. I’ve also seen parents shocked when they discover that Top Student A in their child’s class actually has a disability. The picture in many people’s heads of a disabled student is very far from the truth for most.

Second, I often feel there is some sort of jealousy/fear that these disabled students are getting “more”: more money, more time, more attention, more, more, more. The reality is, yes, special needs students do get extra help, but it is to help them perform on the same level as their more able peers.

A wise woman once explained it to me as this: “Any afternoon, your high school student could be driving home and be involved in a major accident. Your “perfect” all-star straight-A beauty queen child could instantly become severely disabled, confined to a wheelchair, unable to communicate, and unable to control his or her bodily functions. Would you want your child to be viewed as less?”

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
4:53 pm

@Southern HOPE: You can see profile of UGA admitted students here:
http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/08/08/so-who-did-get-into-uga-this-year-heres-a-profile/

The entering freshmen will once again have a strong grade point average of almost 3.8 (the mid 50 percentile range is 3.63-4.0). The SAT average was again strong with a combined mean critical reading and math score of 1254, plus an average writing score of 606, for an 1860 on the 2400 scale. The middle 50 percentile of the class scored between1730-1990.

For those students who took the ACT, the mean score this year was 28, with a mid 50 percentile range of 26-30. Approximately 37 percent of the students were admitted based on ACT scores.

woodrow

February 20th, 2012
4:54 pm

Whenever you try to equalize based on income class, someone is going to be discriminated against. That is classic socialism which has proven to be limiting for people who have the most talent and ambition. We want those working the hardest, and who are the smartest, to have the most opportunity. That better serves everyone’s best interest. I want to see the academically superior get our support. If you are poor but a great student, then this is your best opportunity. Socialized education will not best serve the brightest.

T

February 20th, 2012
4:58 pm

@ Southern Hope: to answer your question, no……..elliemae is what we call a troll, or has a criminal record that she is not disclosing

Lurker

February 20th, 2012
4:59 pm

Wait a second…..GM
February 20th, 2012
4:10 pm

I think you misunderstand business networking. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you go to uppity parties and drink martinis with the people in charge. I don’t know your particular situation, but a college counselor should suggest networking to students. If you are an accounting major, you or your parents don’t have to know the president of the bank. There might be a member of your church, or neighbor, or relative who works at the bank. If you can get a reference from them it might make a difference. Once you have started your career, you should get to know your coworkers, bosses, competitors, etc to have a network to draw from.

LMAO

February 20th, 2012
5:02 pm

This is hilarious. Those that live in the affluent areas want the largese from the government which they say they earned. While those actually paying the bills – lottery players are shut out. Take the average salary of the metro area parents that kids are getting the ZM and the average salary of the rest of GA and you’ll see a major difference. The affluent can pay for the additional SAT ACT courses and training. Yes there are exceptions.
What the bigots don’t understand is there are twice as many poor whites in this state living in S GA and N GA than blacks in all of Georgia.

T

February 20th, 2012
5:06 pm

@ LMAO: the bigotry goes both ways

Bob

February 20th, 2012
5:13 pm

The solution is actually very simple. Use a per centage of the lottery income to send to the colleges/universities to reduce their tuition and books. This per centage would be based on student census. By using scholarship money to reduce the cost of higher education for all Georgians (taxpayers) and taking it out of the hands of students and politicians, you’ll virtually eliminate fraud. Then, jack up the out-of-state tuition as high as you like. I think this enhances the opportunities and levels the playing field, too.

rightwingextreme

February 20th, 2012
5:13 pm

simple fix….kids pay for college up front….if they pass they are refunded the cost of their courses. the first year of college determines if you’re going to make it or not.

also, fully fund scholly’s for business, engineering, medical, math. skip funding degress like women’s studies, sociology, etc which don’t add to the skill sets we need in this country.

the other thing we should do is to investigate the rise in tuition since the ZM scholly has been around. we have a number of professors at uga sitting around writing “scholarly papers” that no one outside of the library reads….or even knows about. no more sabaticals either. you either teach or you’re let go. i was at uga in the 80s and i know what i’m talking about.

Come On AJC

February 20th, 2012
5:16 pm

@LMAO…Do you not have access to google.com? I received 345,000,000 responses on “Free SAT help”. We all know what excuses are like!

Thogwummpy

February 20th, 2012
5:17 pm

I guess this is an example of the wealthy taking more than their fair share of study habits and work ethic. Geez! Look, if a student does the work and wins an award, why is it “fair” to punish that individual because his parents are successful? See, the Left is ALWAYS going to wring out some convoluted empathy argument to deprive everyone from being treated EQUALLY. Yeah, I said it (and IN YOUR FACE)—if children from affluent families are denied what they’ve earned…then they are being treated UNEQUALLY by the progressives (who love to spout off nonsense about “equality”). Whoever earns the scholarship, DESERVES it. Period. Why can’t Neo-libs get that concept into their snobby lizard brains?

Tom Brown

February 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

Who’s saying it’s for only the wealthiest? What a joke! It has been merit based from Day 1. The pell grant is for those who can’t afford college. Try to keep the giveaways straight.

Bully Dawg

February 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

So now we get to the meat of the matter. Maureen feels that kids like her son — who didn’t play by the rules and didn’t turn in homework (and thus whose grades suffered) should get a pass and still get the Zell.

Let’s stop the yellow journalism (and the cut-and-paste journalism) and just focus on the facts — the Zell is doing what it was intended to do: reward the state’s best and brightest, and try to keep them in state. No need for race-baiting, class warfare, or rural versus suburbs. Just the best and brightest, period.

By the way, Maureen, if grades are indeed a better indicator than SAT, then why argue for the alternative — unless your own family’s bias trumps what is right? And how about the hypocrisy of seeking to expand Zell when the budget is down?

AJC readers

Bully Dawg

February 20th, 2012
5:23 pm

… deserve better!

A person SMART enough to know......

February 20th, 2012
5:25 pm

Stop funding JOKE college degrees. HOPE should ONLY got to college students majoring in the MATH and SCIENCES. Drop the GPA to keep HOPE in college for the students taking the most difficult courses. We need to be paying people to get educated in degrees that can ADVANCE the country. We do not need some Art, History, Family Development, Sports & Fitness, or Housing majors using HOPE money to get a crappy degree and spend most of their college time drunk & stoned. UGa is the #1 party school and it shows. Here is what Daddy’s lil UGa girl is learning at college. http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/16924927/uga-gsu-students-top-list-of-growing-clients-on-sugar-daddy-dating-site

T

February 20th, 2012
5:25 pm

AJC readers will never get better, sorry.

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
5:27 pm

@Bully, I am not sure how you read my comment and came to your strange conclusions. In mentioning my son, I was responding to someone who said that no kid could score a perfect or near perfect score on the SAT and not get an A. I disagreed, noting that there are many bright kids who don’t get straight As because they don’t do the homework. Did you note where I said that my kid deserves a zero if he doesn’t turn in the work?
For the record, I have no sour grapes, as you suggest. My son would have qualified for Zell but attends college out of state where he is a junior and doing well.
I have no idea what you are talking about regarding expanding Zell.
Maureen

vince

February 20th, 2012
5:27 pm

Why is this even a story?

Why should it even matter where the “best and brightest” live or how much their parents earn?

Come On AJC

February 20th, 2012
5:31 pm

@Marueen…Good for your son. It still does NOT defend the inappropriate title of this blog post or, for that matter, the AJC lead article on this subject. Why would you post such a skewed viewpoint in the face of the fact that the scholarships go to the most qualified?

John

February 20th, 2012
5:32 pm

Why doesn’t the AJC go ahead and complete the job on this subject. Send out a survey to the students and their families who earned the Zell Miller and are using it in Georgia Colleges. Ask them if getting the Zell MIller was a major factor in choosing to stay in a Georgia School. If the majority say “Yes”, then the Zell Miller is working as planned. By the way, my son should qualify for the Zell Miller, barring a really bad second half of his senior year and he has been accepted at UGA and GT, and the Zell Miller is a major reason why he is not pursuing a lot of out of state institutions who might have offered good scholarships based on his achievements. We are from Rome Georgia, not the “priveledged” section of the state.

Also, I do not understand why the state legislature does not institute a mechanism for people who have benefitted from Hope or the Zell Miller to voluntarily donate money to the fund. That would get a much better return than asking people to buy more lottery tickets because the fund only gets about a third of the money going into the lottery.

catlady

February 20th, 2012
5:41 pm

Jerry, have you looked at the data since HOPE was begun? I know that, in the past, GPA was more highly predictive of a high GPA in college than the static SAT score. But now? Can you tease out the Georgia students? I am wondering if the predictive power is reduced since there has been some significant grade inflation (based on GPA vs. need for remedial courses, for example.) Do you have access to Georgia-only GPAs and SAT/ACT scores? And isn’t it true that GPA and the SAT/ACT score are more predictive than GPA alone?

When I worked in the admissions office of a major university in a state to the south of us, I was astounded to see how many students were offering a 3.0 plus GPA and SAT of 700-800!

I really think we need the SAT/ACT to keep things more honest.

And I think that if the legislature is REALLY concerned about the disproportionate number of Zells from metro Atlanta, they would devote some money to student prep in the non-metro counties, starting at an early age. I think it is just so much lip service, however.

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
5:47 pm

@Come, I am curious. Did you read the news story? This is an issue under discussion in the Legislature. That’s why we are discussing it here.

Today, about 42 percent of young adults in Georgia hold a certificate, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or higher. Yet, economic studies forecast that by 2020, 60 percent of all jobs in the state will require some form of post-secondary education.

The Legislature is debating HOPE within an education framework in which one student’s merit is pitted against another student’s need. From a state policy perspective, is that the right framework?

Or should the discussion be cast in purely economic terms and begin with a straightforward question that any business would ask: Is Georgia getting its money’s worth out of its mounting investment in HOPE?

Yes, HOPE benefits individual families and children, but is easing the college burden for middle-class Georgians a greater priority than broadening the future workforce? If the state were a business, it would be asking whether its investment is yielding sufficient return to the state, not only to the individual students and their parents.

Folks talk about keeping the best and the brightest in state, but, in the face of soaring private college costs, all state universities are seeing a surge in interest from in-state applicants. Certainly, HOPE plays a role but so does the larger economic picture.

A reader sent me a note that almost all the comments to this blog “come from a place of personal interest. Someone in the state has to think about about this from a broader policy perspective.”

T

February 20th, 2012
5:57 pm

“broader policy perspective” = dumbing down the program to make political points and continue to buy votes

rightwingextremeiswrong

February 20th, 2012
6:03 pm

rwe you wrote “simple fix….kids pay for college up front….if they pass they are refunded the cost of their courses.”

Aren’t you forgetting something? The kids DON’T HAVE the money to pay for college up front.

Do you have a mortgage on your home, extreme? Why don’t you pay for your home up front?

Your “simple fix” is not feasible.

GM

AJinCobb

February 20th, 2012
6:06 pm

A lot of comments from a place of personal interest, true, but with so many families with a direct stake in the HOPE scholarship program, that tends to be what motivates people to read this particular story in the first place. My immediate concern is certainly the financing of my high school senior’s college education.

To Lurker

February 20th, 2012
6:09 pm

I understand networking, Lurker but what you don’t understand is that poor people from poor areas don’t have networks. Those poor people (like my parents) went to church with other poor people and so on…

In order to work a network one must have access to a network. You likely are middle class and travel in a middle class circle. If you stepped out of your comfort zone and lived like a poor person for a little while, you’d better understand my point.

Poor people do not have access to networks where they can “network” for a job, particularly when they live in poor rural areas.

GM

Maureen Downey

February 20th, 2012
6:13 pm

@AJincobb, I understand your point of view — I am hoping that at least one of my twins considers an in-state public college after their older siblings went private for most of their college careers. But whether I have to get a second job or a second mortgage, my twins will go to college. From reading your comments on the blog, I suspect that the same is true in your household.
Should the state worry about us when we will get our kids to college or should the state be more concerned with the families for whom $23,000 a year seems insurmountable? (That figure is tuition, room and board at a public for a year.)
Maureen

To elliemae

February 20th, 2012
6:17 pm

elliemae you desdcribed yourself as ” am so sick of being penalized for being white, middle class, and from Metro Atlanta. I have a 3.96 GPA, 29 on the ACT and 1890 on the SAT. I have extracurriculars out the wazoo and am in National Honor Society.”

What you have is a privileged life. You say you have extracurriculars out the wazoo. How fortunate you are to have all that time to pursue those extracurricular activities and parents willing and able to pay for them and to ensure you have transporation to them.

Ellie mae, there is something that could really help you here — a job. Get a job, a real job doing anything full time for the summer and see what life is really like. Now try to live on just what you earn.

Ellie mae, sorry to say, you sound like a real spoiled brat. you are exactly the type who thinks they are entitled. Your post made me sad. I don’t understand in this day and age with all the news we have that you don’t understand that you are one very lucky kid.

GM

Anonmom

February 20th, 2012
6:21 pm

From a policy perspective, if we really want to ensure college success and readiness — the HOPE should not be funding remedial work. I really don’t think that a mimal SAT/ACT score (equivalent to 70th or 75th percentile) is so onererous so as to make sure that the kids are “college ready” — I thinkt hat any one wanting to attend college who is coming from a “weak” high school with grade inflation who can not reach that SAT/ACT should be able to go to a community college for the remedial work to become “college ready” and remedial work should only be covered on that basis. I think that if the “main” colleges are covering remedial work on HOPE it really should be surcharged back to the “sending” high schools. I think it’s wrong to penalize middle class families by putting the income cap on the scholarship…. there are too few programs out there for the middle class… they are being squeezed (and, no, my kids are not staying in state or if they will be instate it wil probably be Emory so this isn’t personal) — there are many programs for the poor and for minorities but very few for those just above the line. This is one of them.

T

February 20th, 2012
6:25 pm

The state should set the standards for the scholarships and then award those that acheive the standards. Just like it is now. Giving the scholorships based on need defeats the purpose/standards of the program.
Why does every thing have to be brought back to class warfare?

Steve

February 20th, 2012
6:25 pm

One of the most important factors with the current Hope situation, is the uncertainty surrounding it. With a freshman in college, I agree that the Hope certainly was one of the most important deciding factors in my son’s choice. What is really baffling/frustrating to parents with children in college(or going to college soon) is making informed decisions given the present state of FLUX. Couldn’t we all agree that a student is grandfathered in to whatever the Hope situation is in his/her senior year. I think eliminating the uncertainty would probably be a bug plus for most families, even if the scholarship morphs into something else down the road.

Mom

February 20th, 2012
6:27 pm

@dad: Thank you for your kind words. : ) She is a nice girl! She is very excited about spending her college years with other young people like herself and no doubt, like your son, at Tech. After spending the night at “Connect with Tech” last fall, she came home and told us she had found her school. She felt right at home. Now lets just hope she can keep that 3.3!

Lurker

February 20th, 2012
6:27 pm

@GM

Everyone should have a network. Not everyone will have a Dad’s friend who owns a company and will give him a job. I would say most everyone knows people who work at different companies. A “network” does not have to be direct contact with the company owners. If a recent engineering graduate has a member at their church that sweeps the floors at an engineering company and speeks to one of the managers at 8:00pm every day while she is sleeping, she can ask if they are accepting resumes. She would not be able to dictate that the company hire the graduate, but networking is about having opportunities, not about being given privilege.

Even non-college graduates use networking. If someone who digs ditches looses their job, they can talk to their buddies who dig ditches at another company. That is “networking”.

Lurker

February 20th, 2012
6:29 pm

Oops, should have written sweeping instead of sleeping.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
6:36 pm

Hi Cat! I don’t get to play with the data downtown anymore (I’m now one o’ them college perfessers – 6 months ago I couldn’t spell it and now I are one – - -). BUT – yes, GPA is still, last data I saw, still more predictive alone than the SAT alone. and YES, the two together increase predictive power because they measure slightly different components of success.

The variation in predictive ability of grades would probably vary greatly across schools, pretty strongly related to socioeconomic level. That’s a natural phenomenon anyway, though. I’ve not seen any data I thought worthy that teased out the inflationary influence of HOPE pressures. My GUESS is that there’s some inflation due to HOPE but it’s not large.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
6:45 pm

Anonmom, I’d agree that the increase in college costs has made it a tough go for many families considered middle class. Setting an income scale (I’d think that more fair than a cap) would provide help to most except, perhaps, those for whom college costs are pocket change, and might help meet Zell’s original goal – to raise the attractiveness of Georgia to new business. That said, there are many who question the viability of the human capital theory that leads to this reasoning.

Come On AJC

February 20th, 2012
6:51 pm

@Maureen…You said, “Today, about 42 percent of young adults in Georgia hold a certificate, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or higher. Yet, economic studies forecast that by 2020, 60 percent of all jobs in the state will require some form of post-secondary education.”
—-
You are making the incorrect assumption that all Georgia jobs would and should be filled by only Georgia graduates.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
6:54 pm

Hey all – there seem to many here who think that HOPE is tax funded. Remember that it’s lottery bux – the sucker’s bet. Interestingly, it’s more often the poor who put their scares funds into lottery tix in the hope of not being poor any more, although the odds of winning anything substantial are miniscule – on the order of getting hit by lightning on a clear day in the Sahara. SO, it’s quite ironic that the legislature chose to take that money and stack the deck in favor of the well-to-do. Personally, seems to me that as long as the poor are the primary supporters of HOPE, the bux ought be slanted toward those deserving students who need it most to afford college.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
6:55 pm

Oops, several typos. please forgive.

Come On AJC

February 20th, 2012
7:02 pm

@JERRY…I enjoyed the reading, but clearly there is no statistical data to track the income of lottery players.

InAtl

February 20th, 2012
8:01 pm

@Jerry says:

So, it’s quite ironic that the legislature chose to take that money and stack the deck in favor of the well-to-do. Personally, seems to me that as long as the poor are the primary supporters of HOPE, the bux ought be slanted toward those deserving students who need it most to afford college.”

If that’s your philosophy regarding who contributes the revenue, then since Roswell, Alpharetta and the Buckhead area contribute probably 80% of the tax revenue, then lots more tax money should be spent there. See how that works?

T

February 20th, 2012
8:04 pm

Hey Jerry, your true colors are showing with that third comment. How pays the most in property taxes that pay for the schools and public universities? Once again, a class warfare clown.

T

February 20th, 2012
8:05 pm

“who”…..not “how”….sorry

T

February 20th, 2012
8:07 pm

No, InAtl, he does not see how that works. he is only concerned about the race/economic class card.

Jerry Eads

February 20th, 2012
8:14 pm

Inatl, what logic course did you take on line? It didn’t help much. I tried for five minutes to try to figure out your reasoning. We’re talking VOLUNTARY EXPENDITURES here, not taxes. You guys really want to keep the folks on the bottom there, don’t you. So much for the American dream. Welcome to Beyond Thunderdome.

InAtl

February 20th, 2012
8:19 pm

Jerry, look up the word “revenues.” That’s what’s created by the lottery, and that’s what’s created by imposing taxes. Not a difficult concept for most people. And, hey, T picked it up immediately.

InAtl

February 20th, 2012
8:20 pm

And Jerry “You guys really want to keep the folks on the bottom there, don’t you. So much for the American dream. Welcome to Beyond Thunderdome.”
Really? What a straw man you try to construct.

T

February 20th, 2012
8:21 pm

GIVING money to the kids that did not earn it is what “keep the folks on the bottom there” Jerry.

InAtl was refering to the complains about the schools being better in the affuent areas and that being the reason for those kids acually qualifing for the Zell grants. You kind of wasted that 5 minutes of thought huh?

T

February 20th, 2012
8:26 pm

Jerry’s typing errors are rubbing off on me, I am just glad his lack of original thought, democratic talking points, are not.

MB

February 20th, 2012
8:33 pm

1st SAT Prep – the state paid for online SAT test prep courses, which included three full-length tests and scoring feedback, for several years, beginning in 2005. They begged us to encourage students to sign up for the program in high school so that it would continue to be available to EVERY student in GA. I believe it may have been discontinued last year, as they couldn’t justify the expense because relatively few students took advantage of it. There are still various resources through school and public libraries. Some motivated students take advantage of those

@Maureen. “If UGA only went by SAT and grades and did not look for a broader range of students, it would like Walton or Centennial” You mean the student mix might be like: “Centennial is home to 55 percent Caucasian, 23 percent African American, 14 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, and 3 percent Multi Racial”…? Centennial is an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse school – Walton, on the other hand…79% white, 15% Asian, 4% black, and 2% Hispanic.

One very interesting aspect of this report was that the schools with the highest numbers of ZM scholars did NOT reflect the pattern of the highest metro ATL SAT scores. In average SAT rankings for 2011, Fulton has 6 of the top 10 schools; in the ZM listing, Fulton takes 1st and 15th only. Cobb has 3 top-ranked schools for SATs. Think that might signal that As are given more liberally in Gwinnett and Fayette – and some Cobb schools?

MB

February 20th, 2012
8:46 pm

Is there an analysis of the amount of HOPE money spent in tech colleges? Does that include a breakdown by race, gender, and area of the state – as was done for the ZM scholars? Since they did add a GPA requirement to Tech HOPE retention for the first time, what data lead to that decision? Was that being abused? If so, why the hue and cry to reverse that decision and drop the 2.5 GPA requirement? (Do YOU want the person who’s your LPN in the hospital, nursing home or outpatients surgery – or who is repairing your car -mto not have been able to earn as many B’s as C’s?)

How about the savings from no longer paying for remedial classes (finally) with HOPE funds? What amount is projected for that this year? How many ZM scholars who qualified as the salutatorian from their school with an 890 SAT will fail to requalify? What is the average rate of Ga Tech students losing HOPE each semester? They’ve been able to re-up in the past; since those who’ve lost it before can’t requalify now, how much will that save?

Are these factors being considered in the HOPE projections?

ScienceTeacher671

February 20th, 2012
9:44 pm

MB, you raise a very good point about retention rates – has there been any research done to try to figure out the characteristics of the students most likely to lose HOPE vs. those most likely to retain it?

Sharon Carrow

February 21st, 2012
6:54 am

My Homeschooled son earned a 1240 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math.)This is a full 40 points above what is required for a Public School student to earn the Zell Miller Scholarship. Yet he does not qualify for the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarship simply because he is homeschooled, and the law is bias against homeschool students who do not use accredited programs. Accredited programs are not required by GA law and in the end only add expense and bureaucracy to the lives of homeschool families. Accreditation has not been shown to increase educational outcomes for homeschool students,(who generally score 30 points above the national average on standardized tests.)My family has obeyed every law. Our tax dollars have gone to support public schools that we do not use. My son has had the self-discipline to apply himself to his studies. He was even accepted for early enrollment to Georgia State University. They reviewed his portfolio and deemed that he was well prepared to start college even though he had not yet started his senior year of high school. Yet he is being denied the scholarships because he is homeschooled, and for no other reason. No other state discriminates against homeschool students in the distribution of lottery-funded scholarships in the way Georgia does. Other states allow homeschool students to substitute an appropriate SAT or ACT score for the required GPA. It is inappropriate for our legislators and policy makers to discriminate against homeschool students. The state average SAT score is 963 (Critical Reading and Math,) and that is after 12 years of public schooling. Do our law makers and policy advisors really believe that a homeschool student who is unprepared for college will present a portfolio of high school academic work to a college, make a higher score on a college entrance exam than the average pubic school student, and be accepted for admission? Our legislators and policy advisors would do well to focus their efforts on improving the public schools rather than discriminating against hard working deserving students who choose not to use them.

lisa

February 21st, 2012
8:16 am

My daughter is at UGA and earned 8 scholarships in addition to the Zell Miller. She has worked hard all her life, took numerous AP classes, played a Varsity sport for 4 yrs. and also worked 3 jobs at one point. Her GPA and test scores were great…we are lucky parents.. but I will say, she is not a spoiled child… drives a used car (unlike many of her peers), and buys her own clothes. She is very frugal.. We have taught her to work hard and NOT rely on others. Too bad kids like these will be penalized if the HOPE is changed.

Reimburse

February 21st, 2012
8:55 am

I would like to see HOPE be given to those that earned it at the end of each college semester. If you didn’t make it, you don’t get anything. If you do, you get a check and apply it to the next semester where you need to qualify all over again. I forget the number, but I think I’ve heard somewhere around 20 or 25% of HOPE scholars lose it at the end of their first year of college.

2 in college; 1 left to go

February 21st, 2012
10:03 am

I have two kids in college, one on an athletic scholarship and one on HOPE. I am divorced but my ex doesn’t pay his measly $500 in child support. While I make a decent salar about $100k, I would not be able to keep both kids in school and continue to support the one at home if there was no HOPE scholarship. My son busted his butt during high school to ensure he would qualify. Taking honors and AP courses to ensure he had the best chance to succeed. Who determines whether financially someone qualifies Who are you to say that because I make a $100k that my son shouldn’t get a scholarship that is academically based. Low-income people aren’t the only ones buying lottery tickets so why should they be the only beneficiaries of the revenue? If you have kids in college on scholarship you know there are still expenses that those scholarships don’t cover. Like transportation to and from school during closings, food, clothing and books, that can cost upwards of $200 or $300. The one thing about HOPE is that it is completely up to the student to qualify. If a child wants to rise above their circumstances whatever they happen to be, good or bad, he/she can do it without any dependence on a parent. How many parents use paying tuition as a means to control their kids behavior in school. One thing is for sure if a kid keeps or loses that scholarship it is on them. I’ve raised my kids to know the value of their own hard work and lord knows I thank God that they have grown up to be responsible enough to ensure they do the right things to succeed.

Warrior Woman

February 21st, 2012
11:57 am

The use of “favor” most assuredly undermines the alleged balance of the article.

As for your question in the headline, we should give the most to those with the most demonstrated potential, regardless of their income.

AtlSouthside

February 21st, 2012
12:01 pm

I dont why privilege people try to justify their privilege… 40-50 years ago (which is recent), even after Brown v. BOE, schools remained segregated, & funding mirrored that segregation.. 40-50 years later in 2012, the same is still true.. the devil is in the details (policies), not the people…

Warrior Woman

February 21st, 2012
12:03 pm

@Maureen – Students like your child that think it’s OK to blow off assignments should not be rewarded, but should be taught that there are consequences for their actions. If not doing your work in high school means you miss out on the Zell Miller scholarship, so be it. Give the scholarship to those that are doing the work and making the grade.

Maureen Downey

February 21st, 2012
12:15 pm

@Warrior, As I made clear in my original comment, I am with you.
Maureen

Atlanta Media Guy

February 21st, 2012
12:46 pm

Hey Scooby, you claim since the republicans took over Hope this would happen. Well scooby is there a republican in the poor neighborhoods holding a gun to the head of the poor to buy lottery tickets? What are you talking about? Buying a lottery ticket is a choice not forced on anyone. Is scooby suggesting we have an account for every lottery player and those that play the most get the largest scholarship? Geez, you are stuck on stupid man! Get your head out of your posterior and hear us.

The ZM is for those who are successful in High school, those who did the work and it’s NOT for everyone. This class warfare thing is getting out of hand. As long as our media writes headlines like the AJC there will be class warfare. This isn’t about fairness, it’s about results. Get the grades and you have a shot at the ZM, don’t and you better have something to fall back on like a job at a restaurant or in retail. It’s simple! Geez, where did some folks get the idea they are entitled to everything?

cranky old man

February 21st, 2012
2:54 pm

” 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.”

“An ‘A’ from the fancy, affluent school is worth a little bit more, but that ‘A’ average still means something,”

Don’t these two statements seem to be making contradictory arguments? Or am I missing something?

3schoolkids

February 21st, 2012
3:03 pm

FYI for all parents out there who don’t have kids who have gone through college application yet…all Georgia public colleges & universities will use the “unweighted” Hope gpa in determining eligibility (meaning honors credit stripped out and only core subjects plus foreign language). Only if you are “on the bubble” and don’t meet the numbers will they actually spend the time to delve into your application. Yes, there are many students who will take advantage of the Zell scholarship and stay in Georgia, but for every 1 I will bet there is one who chooses to take the full ride out of state (where many schools will use the weighted gpa for determining merit based scholarship eligilibity and honors college eligibility). If you have a child headed for high school please be wise and choose carefully the courses your child will take.

Anonmom

February 21st, 2012
10:16 pm

You’ve got to be careful though because some schools don’t “open their doors” if you don’t challenge yourself and take the honors/AP classes if they’re offered at your schools so if you want to go to GA Tech or UGA and take the “easy” classes to get the 4.0 A average and avoid “challenge” you may find yourself unable to get in… but the ZM may be available (if you haven’t been incomed or SATed out of range).

SAT scores & Parent Income

February 22nd, 2012
1:45 am

Ole Guy

February 22nd, 2012
2:54 pm

This is pure nonesense…pure stinkin bull dung. WHY should we equate high educational performance with only those kids…who, by the nature of those quirky chromosomes, and their parents’ socio economic status…from so-called affluent areas? For one thing (I happen to live in one of those “affluent” areas), there’s very little, if anything, to relate affluence to anything other than pure dumb luck/the luck of life’s draw. These people, by far and large, are no more deserving of “special considerations” than those from the (so-called) other side of the tracks. read this very closely, folks (I’ve said it before): STANDARDS…EVERYONE MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE SAME STANDARDS…no exeptions or “special” considerations.