More HOPE to go around this year because fewer students earned it in the first place. Time to consider need-based HOPE?

AJC reporter Laura Diamond is reporting that the slight rise in HOPE payouts this year is a result of fewer Georgia students receiving the scholarship as a result of state lawmakers making the award harder to earn and harder to keep.

I stand nearly alone on this issue here on the blog, but still contend that Georgia has to consider a need component to HOPE. On a personal level, I would love to see HOPE remain fully merit-based as I have twins who will be college bound in 2017.

But on a public policy level, I understand that Georgia must produce many more college graduates to remain economically competitive. And that means finding ways to prod more teens to consider going to college by making it economically feasible for them. (Research shows that finances play a significant role in preventing qualified kids from attending college.)

As it stands now, HOPE has a greater influence on where kids go to college rather than whether they go. Every economic forecast says that Georgia will not prosper without a surge in its college-educated population. You don’t get more college graduates by making it costlier to attend college.

Diamond writes in the AJC today:

Gov. Nathan Deal has touted good news for the HOPE scholarship — a proposal for higher award payouts and extra money for technical college students who study subjects in fields with worker shortages.

What isn’t being discussed is why Georgia can afford this. It’s because fewer students have HOPE.

During the 2011 fiscal year, 256,417 students received some form of the scholarship. A year later 202,906 students got it, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which administers the program.

“I expect to see another decrease this year,” said Tim Connell, president of the agency. “And while we may see it rebound slightly, I don’t know if we will see those large numbers again.”

In some ways this was the goal when Deal and lawmakers from both parties overhauled the popular lottery-funded program in 2011. HOPE was on track to run out of money this year before lawmakers made changes to the program, such as reducing award payouts and tightening eligibility criteria to decrease the number of recipients.

Deal’s proposal is possible because of a strong year for the Georgia Lottery, which provided about $55 million more for HOPE and pre-k programs. The other driver is a drop in expenses because fewer students qualify, Connell said.

The largest declines are with the HOPE Grant, which is mainly used by students in the Technical College System of Georgia. In 2011, 141,887 students received the grant. There were 98,790 recipients in 2012. Only 81,008 are projected to get it this fiscal year — a 43 percent drop in two years.

Nearly 9,000 students lost the award because they were unable to maintain a 3.0 grade-point average, a new rule lawmakers set when they overhauled the program. That requirement was already in place for students in the University System of Georgia.

Some students dropped out or didn’t enroll because they couldn’t afford to pay what HOPE no longer covered, said Ron Jackson, the commissioner of the Technical College System. At the same time, the system’s enrollment dropped by about 24,500 students to 170,860 last year.

Jackson described the change as “stunning and unexpected.” But he said the scholarship remains a good deal and that lawmakers had to overhaul the program to keep it going. “I think we need time to see how our students adjust beyond this first year,” he said. “Our students may have to adjust to covering a gap.”

Deal shared his concerns about the drop-off with Jackson, said Brian Robinson, the governor’s spokesman. Robinson said the state needs to understand why this occurred and “develop an action plan if the study shows a need for it.”

Others say an action plan is needed now. Democrats filed House Bill 54 and Senate Bill 59 to return the eligibility requirement for the HOPE grant to a 2.0 GPA. While the bills have some support from GOP lawmakers, Deal has so far refused to undo the changes made to the program.

Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, said the state’s economic health depends on the HOPE grant. Beyond harming students, the tighter requirements will leave businesses with fewer employees to hire and could make it harder for the state to attract businesses, he said. “To pretend this is a successful program is like pouring salt on the economic wound,” said Carter, who sponsored SB 59.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

130 comments Add your comment

skipper

January 24th, 2013
11:16 am

Maureen,
Need based is not workable. Why should a bright kid suffer because there parents are reasonably well off? I personally know more than a few who, despite the fact that their parents are doing well, will get no secondary education help from them at all. If you do the work, make the grades, etc., then you should be eligible…………parents, believ it or not, often say “That’s it” after high-school graduation.

nypeach

January 24th, 2013
11:23 am

HOPE is not an entitlement, it is a wonderful gift for students who meet the requirements. If a segment of the population has trouble meeting the requirements, then it’s time to look at the quality of education they are getting in high school. Don’t do me and mine any favors by lowering the standards. And yes, I am black AND hispanic.

Really amazed

January 24th, 2013
11:33 am

WOW!! Possibly lowering the requirements to a 2.0 GPA. Grade inflate in high school just to lower the standard for HOPE to have to lower the standard anyway!!! Keep giving out hand outs to those that refuse to do the work instead of those whom have worked hard to truly deserve it!! We wonder why our country is in the situation it is in??????

Hall Mom

January 24th, 2013
11:35 am

Love the idea of weighting the grant based on where there are worker shortages.

Students need to demonstrate that they are serious about their studies to keep HOPE. If they are not ready, let’s not throw away the funds that could help another student.

Perhaps it’s time for the 3rd tier of HOPE, one that applies to the non-traditional college student, who perhaps decides he is ready later, or who needs to continue working while he attends college. This could also help transition workers to what is currently needed if they are out of date.

Beverly Fraud

January 24th, 2013
11:35 am

@Maureen, any truth to the rumor that some parents are legally changing the name of their graduating seniors to Chip Rogers in hopes (no pun intended) of greater HOPE funding?

Rhaegar Targaryen

January 24th, 2013
11:38 am

Why can’t the HOPE Scholarship be both merit-based and need-based?

My solution–

The merit part: Keep the requirement at 3.0

The need-based part: The amount of scholarship will depend on family income. All qualified students will still be HOPE Scholars–that doesn’t change. And all HOPE Scholars will get some money, regardless of income level.

Maybe something like..

Family income–
below $70,000: 100% of in-state tuition
$70,000-$99,999: 75% of in-state tuition
$100,000-$129,999: 50% of in-state tuition
$130,000 or greater: 25% of in-state tuition

All of the above would be HOPE Scholarships. Only the amount is different–based on income.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

January 24th, 2013
11:41 am

I think Anthony Carnevale’s work is designed to change the nature of college by insisting everyone get the credential. Because everyone is not prepared to do college work, college itself gets redesigned to make the credential accessible anyway. And the real goal to make all educational institutions about changing the nature of human consciousness away from the abstract, rational mind takes place.

When USG Vice-Chancellor Lynne Weisenbach had the ceremony talking about redesigning the USG system in November 2011, she invited the Lumina Foundation for a reason. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/constructing-an-alternative-vision-of-either-the-natural-or-human-world-as-the-basis-for-a-college-degree/ explains the Lumina Diploma Qualifications Profile. The accreditors are also pushing this DQP reorganization of the nature of higher education.

You cannot be competitive in a global economy when your graduates have not gained productive knowledge or skills. Theorizing about possible futures just does not cut it. Nor does the increased emphasis on the visual instead of the use of language.

The whole internationally competitive argument is designed to sound like a good thing to encourage desired change. But it simply does not survive scrutiny. Anymore than Carnevale’s reports hold up to anyone looking at his footnotes or cites.

It’s just about the accretion of power and money into the compliant higher-ed sector.

jess

January 24th, 2013
11:46 am

There seems to be an all out attack on high performers in every phase of American life. There have been attempts to make HOPE an entitlement based on need since the program began. I only hope that the state keeps at least this one merit based program rather than dumbing it down as we have so many other things.With Washington’s full frontal attack on those who have performed in the work world, it would be refreshing to have this one small thig remain pure.

Beverly Fraud

January 24th, 2013
11:52 am

@Invisible I’m trying to find compelling reasons, reasons that can be defended, that you are completely off your rocker because of the implications of what you assert if it is indeed in true.

Yet to come up with much yet. So do wish someone would challenge you on this blog.

Michael

January 24th, 2013
11:53 am

Can someone explain to me on why Hope only offer the scholarship to those who graduated from High School after the years of 2004 and later. That is just unfair as a Citizen of Georgia.

Panthergirl

January 24th, 2013
11:58 am

I to think that there exists a society interest in increasing the number of college graduates in Georgia;however, I also think that there is a society interest in keeping the best and brightest students in Georgia. Why can’t HOPE be a hybrid system? For incomes above a certain level, HOPE remains as it is. With incomes below a certain level, the requirements for full HOPE decrease. I would like to see the minimum requirement for need-based HOPE to have an ACT/SAT component. There’s too much grade inflation in schools. I would make the test requirement the bare minimum that is commonly thought of to indicate “college readiness” – maybe, 1000 m and cr? I remember years ago reading something to the effect that a large majority of college students who received HOPE who could not manage a 1000 m and cr on the SAT lost HOPE in the first year because they were unable to perform college-level work. Not everyone has the aptitude to succeed in college and paying for them to attend isn’t going to make it so.

Kasee Laster

January 24th, 2013
12:02 pm

RE: Rhaegar Targaryen’s comments earlier: Tennessee has a plan in which both need-based and merit-based components are given out of the same lottery funds. These go by various names – Merit Scholarships, HOPE Scholarship, Aspire award. Aspire, for example, is for students with low family incomes, and the academic requirements (there are some) are less than for the others. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship is based on grades and ACT scoires and to my knowledge does not have an income limit. From what I understand from colleagues in TN, this multi-option system has worked well.
http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/mon_college/lottery_scholars.htm

Merit Based

January 24th, 2013
12:04 pm

It’s time to institute a true merit based component for all HOPE awards. Require a minimum SAT score for HOPE eligibility. This will lessen the impact of grading and rigor disparity. A minimum SAT score will provide an unbiased measure for all HOPE recipients.

Kris

January 24th, 2013
12:05 pm

Rhaegar Targaryen “”Why can’t the HOPE Scholarship be both merit-based and need-based?”

I agree Hope should be need based, with a cap on higher income families, after all most of the lottery tickets are purchased by lower income Families, (sad but true). A dollar here and there is OK but $20 to xxx is wrong..

Colleges should curb tuition expense, a $40K to $ 70K math instruction can teach as well as a $150k phd. College presidents have no use except to approve the pay for consultants to write their 2,4, whatever planes, most of the thinks the old school presidents did it alll the mew ones outsource it. Hire a dummy to kiss babies, shake hands and arses at local town functions.

Kris

January 24th, 2013
12:07 pm

By Crooked deal 2014

John Barge for Governor 2014? Well at least he is educated.

JG

January 24th, 2013
12:08 pm

NO! There are a HUGE number of need-based scholarships and grants available to students already. They are not hard to find either. Keep a need-based requirement completely away from HOPE.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:16 pm

to needs based: no, no, and no. for a red state, Georgia has more than enough social programs.

tighten up the criteria to quality, and require the first two years done at two year schools. that will
go a long way towards solving the problem

Maureen Downey

January 24th, 2013
12:16 pm

@JG, Not sure that is true. Take a look at this Fiscal Research Center study on the lack of need-based aid in Georgia. The study found a large gap in college enrollment by family income, a gap that is increasing. (See link below to read full report.)

The report concludes:

One way to address this income gap in college enrollment is to reduce the cost of college. The most cost-effective way of doing that is to target the reduction in the cost of college by developing a need-based student aid program. Existing evidence suggests that $1,000 in student aid is associated with a 6 to 12 percentage point increase in
enrollment of students eligible for aid, and that this effect is higher for students from lower income families.

Many states have a need-based student aid program. We surveyed nine of these programs and find that the average need-based award across states and institution types is approximately $1,800. On average, these states serve approximately 24 percent of their student population, ranging from 13 percent in Tennessee to 32 percent in North Carolina.

In order to determine the cost of a need-based aid program for Georgia, we simulated 25 alternative aid programs. The programs differ in terms of the maximum aid that can be provided, the income level at which student aid begins to be phased out, and the rate at which aid is phased out. We also determined the number of students that would receive aid and the average level of aid.

Obviously, the cost of the program will depend on the parameters of the program. The cost of the 25 programs we simulated ranged from $24 million to $145 million. However, it would seem feasible to provide a significant need-based aid program that would address the needs of students from relatively low-income households for $30 to $40 million. Such a program would assist about 16 to 26 thousand students and provide average aid of $1,600 to $1,800, with a maximum of $3,000. Such a program would be consistent with aid programs in some of the states we surveyed, but would be at the low end of the programs we surveyed. Increasing the maximum aid to $3,500 would increase the cost by about $5 to $7 million.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:4okL5F7uq4kJ:www.usg.edu/strategicplan/docs/need_based_aid2008.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiFWy2q-qJ2Nld8NM8gmhF8VXNbd5fUa6aSBkzoyIdSdfT4TNqR08Cs32DYDNq7KmmcX9FcFDHQQOceNXO9_ag63dzWDOvrJVWxoh5xx422DdNIeV79jMCOpDTJ-_SDeB0sjBcv&sig=AHIEtbQjDrS8KmJTt921nBU2stNdYgcHQQ

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:16 pm

the point of HOPE is to educate Georgians, not poor Georgians

williebkind

January 24th, 2013
12:18 pm

“There are a HUGE number of need-based scholarships and grants available to students already.”
I would like a list of those!

What do you call a Harvard graduate with a “C” average? What do you call a Harvard graudate with “A” average? All I have heard is that we need more college graduates but it has fizzled down only to allow mostly upper class(like Maureen’s Kids) to get a college education.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:18 pm

colleges already have a great deal of lattitude towards cost controls for low income scholars.

Understanding Atlanta

January 24th, 2013
12:19 pm

It’s pretty easy to understand what’s going on. There are students who enroll in programs, yes technical programs that do so only to receive financial aid with no intention of completing the course or attempting to do well. What this shows me at least is those people are not being allowed to continue that practice leaving more money for the students that are actually enrolled in courses and putting forth an effort.

This isn’t an entitlement program. I would much rather have a mechanic that was able to demonstrate mastery in his craft – that mastery is shown in their grades. Having a 3.0 should be a minimum for a SCHOLARSHIP. Keyword being SCHOLAR. If you can’t demonstrate you’re being a SCHOLAR why a SCHOLARSHIP? We have to be willing to invest in ourselves whether it’s technical school or a traditional college/university. What happened to “I’m doing this to better me” – that’s why I was willing to take on a few student loans so I could do research during undergrad instead of working. It was an investment in my future that is definitely paying off now.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:20 pm

@ wille

start with georgiacollege411.

there is a bunch of stuff out there, but the recipent has to dig hard for them.

williebkind

January 24th, 2013
12:22 pm

Thanks bootney farnsworth!

Once Again

January 24th, 2013
12:23 pm

It wasn’t sold to the gullible of GA as a WELFARE program. It was sold as a way for anyone to get a subsidy for their education so long as they went to a state school and got a certain GPA.

Now thanks to the “scholarship”, tuitions have risen through the roof (any economics student could have seen that one coming), and thanks to grade inflation tens of thousands of unqualified students went to college, took the money, and flunked out.

Now that grades are maybe a bit less inflated (who really can say with government testing itself on its own failed performance) there are far fewer qualifying for the handout. So now you are asking for the handout to strictly be based on need? What about qualifications??

What exactly is the point of wasting 4 years of someone’s life (along with the space they will take up that could be used by someone more qualified) by sending them to college unqualified and unprepared for the task ahead?

Shoveling money and opportunities at those who hadn’t earned either is how the HOPE program ended up in so much trouble and why nearly every college in the nation has to add additional remedial classes to its offerings every year.

Just Sayin.....

January 24th, 2013
12:24 pm

Just say NO to “needs based” HOPE. There are PLENTY of students who will get no support from the parents. I was one of those students. I got no support from MY parents, and THEY made too much money for me to get any grants. I ended up taking 5 years and working nights to get through college. Do you really want to punish those students?

18/19/20/21 year old students are ADULTS. That their parents might CHOOSE to help them should be of no business of the state. Those adults (parents) are under no requirement to do so, so why do we have a system of financial aid that is given or denied based on a familial adult’s paycheck amount?

achievement in order to obtain HOPE.

Kris

January 24th, 2013
12:26 pm

bootney farnsworth…”"”the point of HOPE is to educate Georgians, not poor Georgians”"”

I disagree!

Hope is there to EDUCATE all Georgians…Not the rich, not the poor, not the ones born with a sliver plated spoon in their #$$ … BUT ALL GEORGIANS. All GEORGIANS stupid and smart. People would be amazed as to what a child can do given the right environment to learn.

If anyone drops their wallet in near the Gold Dome, I’d suggest they kick it to Canton before bending over to pick it up.

Good riddance Crooked deal 2014
John Barge for Governor 2014? Well at least he is educated.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:29 pm

why require two year school attendence for HOPE as Freshman? simple.

-a whole hell of a lot of HOPE scholars are not ready for college. the HOPE loss rate for the first year is much higher than it should be.

-2 year schools not obsessed in making a name for themselves in social engineering :ie, GPC have much lower costs and a better track record overall of responsible money management

-costs are lower in general at schools which don’t have to support major athletic programs

-costs are lower at schools who are not required to devote signifigant time and energy to research.

-most two year schools can be attended while living at home. less costs for student life issues.

-Ph.Ds actually teach at two year schools

-more support for a student in trouble / suporting a return on the State’s investment.

-lower costs to support grounds and infastructure

williebkind

January 24th, 2013
12:30 pm

Maureen Downey

January 24th, 2013
12:16 pm
All you said is good and dandy if family income includes government subsidies and assistants people receive. Some kids get very little because their parents do have a job although they are lower end of the pay scale.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:36 pm

@ willie

many colleges also have individualized programs which they don’t make easily public. the trick, and its a pain in the fanny, is knowing who to ask.

also: many corporations like Coke, AAT, Ga. Pacific have scholarships they don’t make public, but administer through colleges they partner with.

further: this state if flat loaded, and I mean loaded, with demographic specific scholarships: race, gender, intended major, country or origin, ect. if you happen to fit a demographic a college is looking to bolster (gotta have the grades or be able to play football) these things can fall from the sky.

I’ve even heard that some schools out west are offering near full rides to southerners to fill out their diversity quotas.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:38 pm

@ kris

you are welcome to disagree, but you may wish to reread my comment.

but you are correct on one point, I do not support spending money earmarked for college scholars on stupid people who don’t belong there.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:41 pm

another source of scholarships and grants: band, ROTC, the military, ect. if you were involved in outside class activites there is a scholarship somewhere to support/reward it.

Twin Mom

January 24th, 2013
12:41 pm

Although my household makes over 100k a year, I will be sending two children to college at the same time (twins) so I don’t think you can necessarily go on income alone… If that were the case, wouldn’t I “technically” be making only 50k a year?? You see how the line gets blurry…

Might

January 24th, 2013
12:43 pm

Why needs based hope? The middle class is the group needing help with college tuition. Poor students get pell grants. Merit based is the way to go.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:44 pm

a word of warning: most of the best awards come with strings attached. buyer beware.

you’d be amazed how many times kids who went to college on the military’s dime are stunned they actually have to military service to pay it back.

MiltonMan

January 24th, 2013
12:48 pm

How about working and earning the right to attend college??? I did it & my son is doing it while at UGA.

Also, you libs always bash Deal but never, ever mention his REACH program that serves only the need-based students with $2500/year credit for college.

Rick in Grayson

January 24th, 2013
12:48 pm

We should have plenty of college age illegal aliens that will qualify for Obama’s deferment policy. They will jump in and increase the number of students enrolled in Georgia’s universities and colleges.

As we have already seen, the US is willing to import foreign students/workers to fill any needs that employers in Georgia have…and at the RIGHT wage level. The Georgia economy will not suffer.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:55 pm

a note about military service for college education.

I encourage all kids I think are tempermentally suited for service to explore the option. it has major
upsides which get lost in the hysteria of parental freakouts.

-get out of school with near zero debt.
-practical job experience employers look for
-veteran status prefereces in hiring
-the disipline learned being a soldier makes for better students
-health care
-admission preference at most schools

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
12:59 pm

why HOPE for all qualified scholars, instead of just the poor ones?

-social engineering / punishment of the successful won’t work. try as you might, it will not bring down the upper level of society, and those who advocate it still will envy the productive.

-the costs of college these days are profoundly extreme, and could easily bankrupt a six figure family.
why are they extreme? the federal gov’t has jacked up what they’ll pay, so the colleges have in turn jacked up what they’ll charge to match it

jarvis

January 24th, 2013
1:00 pm

The poor are paying for the HOPE anyway. Can we see an economic study on those playing Lotto? How many scratch off tickets are being sold to anyone that can actual afford to buy them?

Pompano

January 24th, 2013
1:01 pm

With the exception of a few fields, the majority of Jobs actually do not require a college education to perform – even though that may be the standard for entry. Prior to the mid-70’s, many companies tested applicants for aptitude and had training programs in place to develop their workforce. Unfortunately, minorities often did not perform as well (still holds true today) and this practice was discontinued due to threats of litigation. However, for most Jobs in society, a reasonably intelligent high-school graduate could be trained to perform well.

In colleges, why does it take the same amount of time to educate someone seeking a Business degree as someone looking to be an Engineer? College degrees have become devalued and no longer provide the same indication of ability as in years past.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
1:01 pm

if anything, HOPE should focus more on getting kids into Tech schools. we have a crying need for skilled tradesmen. and some pay very well.

Teacher Reader

January 24th, 2013
1:03 pm

HOPE should be given based on the grades students make, and not the amount of money a parent does/does not make. As a parent, I don’t feel that it is my job to pay for my child’s college. When they turn 18 they are adults and the purse strings are snipped, just as they were done for me. A child who works hard should not be punished because a parent has worked hard and makes a nice income.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
1:05 pm

@ Pompano

since the fed has been willing to pay for so many to get college degrees, more and more employers now require a degree for jobs which flat don’t need them. however, that cow is long out of the barn.

it is what it is, and we gotta deal with it

Mel

January 24th, 2013
1:08 pm

Need-based HOPE smacks of class warfare. A common theme in our society today. HOPE should be for those that EARN in. Maybe it helps a pre-med save $ so they can afford medical school. Don’t punish kids for being smart. That hasn’t worked well in education.

Shark Punch!

January 24th, 2013
1:09 pm

@Kris 12:05: $150K to hire a Math PhD? What planet are you on? The median salary for a *full* Math Prof. is just under $90K. Assistants and Associates go for significantly less.

There’s been a lot of effort at the college level towards raising retention/graduation rates, and much of this is due to an increasing number of students coming in unprepared or under-prepared. Remedial courses, tutoring programs, and the like don’t come for free. If we’re going to spend money on needs-based education, do it at the pre-college level.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
1:10 pm

@ teacher/reader

do you throw them out the door with only the clothes on their back when they turn 18?

me, I do everything I can help supports my kids educations because 1) I love them and 2) I want them to have the best possible start in life possible so they won’t need me later.

but that’s just me

a reader

January 24th, 2013
1:12 pm

Without Zell/HOPE my daughter would have gone out of state instead of staying in GA for undergraduate. As it stands, the Zell /HOPE award was still less than her alternatives (and we are paying more for her to stay instate vs. going out of state with school sponsored merit-based awards in competitive programs). It’s not a huge difference, and her preference was to remain closer to home, but if the goal is to keep GA’s top graduates in GA, then watering down HOPE will have more head elsewhere (and possibly not come back).

jarvis

January 24th, 2013
1:16 pm

The original limitation on HOPE was $100,000 for a family. That would be right around $160,000 in today’s money.

By comparison, tuition at the University of Georiga has gone up by 160% in the same timeframe. If needs based was put back in place, what would the limit be? $260,000 would obviously be the same increase of 160%.

jarvis

January 24th, 2013
1:23 pm

No one wants to discuss the regressive nature of the HOPE scholarship, aye? Poor people pay for wealthier people to go to college.

The whole thing should be abolished in my opinion. Use the lottery money to buy things that help poor people. Not really sure what that is, but education ain’t it.