The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged?

artchangeThe Georgia Senate debated the qualifications to become a Zell Miller scholar this afternoon while discussing House Bill 131, which accords high school students who take dual enrollment college classes the same .5 boost in their final grade that Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students now earn.

Ultimately, the Senate approved the grade boost for dual enrollment, but voted 33-15 against against an amendment  to change how the Zell Miller Scholarship is calculated so that more rural Georgia students would qualify.

Only one group of Georgia college students — those who graduated high school with a 3.7 or higher GPA  and scored at least 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 on the ACT –   now earn full tuition under the changes made to the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship. These students are known as Zell Miller Scholars. Zell Miller is also extended to all high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Atlanta, proposed an amendment that would eliminate the SAT qualifier and give Zell Miller to the top 3 percent of students in every graduating high school.

He noted that rural Georgia students earn the scholarship in far fewer numbers than their more affluent metro Atlanta peers because of the SAT component. Research shows that the SAT aligns closely with a student’s socioeconomics; the higher the family income, the higher the SAT score.

“At every single high school, we are going to say if you do everything your community asks of you and you are in the top 3 percent of that high school and you get into college and you meet all the other requirements, you are going to get Zell Miller,” he said.

“In the current system, you get the Zell Miller scholarship if you have a certain GPA and a certain SAT score. If you believe that the SAT is the best way to judge hard work and merit, then I think you should look at following numbers,” said Carter, pointing to a slide on the screen behind him that showed a geographic imbalance in Miller scholars.

In Senate District 11 in southwest Georgia, there were 73  Zell Miller scholars, costing the state  $396,666 in lottery proceeds. However, in Senate District 56 in north Fulton, there were 448 Zell Miller scholars who collectively receive $2.7 million in HOPE funds.

In Senate District 7 in southeast Georgia, there were 108 scholars, costing the state $535, 861. Carter contrasted that with the 570 Miller scholars in Fulton/Gwinnett Senate District 48 who cost the state $3.5 million. “That is almost 10 times as much money as we spend in rural Georgia,” said Carter.

“Does that mean there is more merit in those Senate districts? This is equal population, equal population, and, yet, we say, they have that much more merit that we are going to spend that much more to educate those kids.” said Carter. “When we sit here and say the best and the brightest, apparently all the best and the brightest live in Fulton County. Or Gwinnett.”

“The bottom line is that we don’t do this right,” said Carter. “It’s already an entitlement program for the wealthiest people in the state, and now we’re doubling down on that and we’re depriving the people who need it the most and who worked arguably the hardest to get where they are.”

His colleagues didn’t agree, voting down his amendment and accusing him of attempting to dumb down the Zell Miller Scholarship.

State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, argued that the 3 percent threshold was not as great a measure of merit as GPA and SAT.  Millar suggested students could be in the top 3 percent of their graduating class and have a 2.7 GPA. (I would doubt that very much.)

Carter argued that his top 3 percent criteria was actually more rigorous since many students, especially in metro Atlanta, aren’t in the top 3 percent of their classes despite having a 3.7 GPA. (At my high school, kids in the top 3 percent have a 4.0 or higher.)

“We are talking a very high standard, the top 3 percent of every single high school class,” said Carter. “A lot of people in the Zell Miller Scholarship program are not in the top 3 percent of their high school. This is just as rigorous, if not more. Do you want a standard, a high merit-based standard, that respects every single community in the state, or do you want one that only respects a very small number of communities.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

83 comments Add your comment

Bernie

March 22nd, 2013
10:55 pm

Zell Miller Scholar…..An Oxymoron of terms, if I ever SAW one! :)

Bernie

March 22nd, 2013
11:20 pm

Gwinnett and Fulton is where you would find the most concentration of The LUCKY GENE POOL CLUB MEMBERS.

As far as being shortchanged, when one takes a look at HONEY Boo Boo and her clan, you KNOW that someone has been shortchanged for a VERY LONG TIME!

When one lives in a world where the name Zell Miller and the word scholar is melded together,
anything is possible. I still cannot get over that one. I can still see that crazy ranting from the Republican Convention. After that performance, I truly understood where and how the name ZiG Zag Zell was given. I feel a Nightmare coming on!

DK222

March 22nd, 2013
11:31 pm

The current 1200 SAT that is required, though not laughable, is hardly rigorous. It’s barely a top 20% score (see source below).

Analogously, if they instead used a top 3% SAT score (Reading and Math only), it would be a 1420…a high enough to give a student a shot at the UGA Honors College.

The Zell Miller currently keeps a lot of smart students in this state, and the new top 3% plan would drive many of them out.

Also, you’d then see some people fleeing their current good high schools in search of “poachable” schools where a top 3% rank would be easier to pull off…the same type of cherry-picking that got lots of attention with valedictorian poaching on this same blog last year. Can someone transfer from Northview as a second semester senior to Banneker and claim their Zell money? No one has thought this through…the 1200 SAT is a reasonable and easy-to-understand standard (albeit possibly too low).

When the average score at Walton HS for just the first two SAT sections is higher than the average score for all 3 sections at a number of APS schools, class rank is not even a relevant comparison. It’s an apples-to-bicycles comparison.

Sources for stats:
1. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/research/SAT-Percentile-Ranks-Composite-CR-M-2012.pdf
2. http://waltonhigh.org/files/95516/walton%20hs%20profile%20-%202011-2012.pdf
3. http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/01/22/atlanta-high-schools-ranked-by-sat-score.html

N. GA Teacher

March 22nd, 2013
11:45 pm

There is no question that the fortunate on the north side get the lions share of Miller scholarships, yet it IS true that they arefor the most part the best prepared for college success. The real issue here is one of social engineering: is Georgia better off by taking family wealth into account and making the HOPE needs-based? Assuming HOPE money is finite, should families making over $200,000 a year, or with over a million dollars in assets be allotted scholarships? Or is Georgia better off by assisting poor urban and rural students? Ironically, for the very top students (rich or poor), HOPE is not really needed, as they get offered full rides anyway. I would guess that the income group between $50,000 and $100,000 a year is probably most impacted, as they do not receive needs-based money, nor can they afford the full tuition and living expenses.

Bernie

March 22nd, 2013
11:54 pm

N. GA Teacher @ 11:45 pm – One of the most ironic side of this equation, those who benefit the most are the people who are the LEAST LIKELY to play any game of the Georgia Lottery. Whereas, the poorest and the most neediest students and their parents are daily multiple players of the Georgia Lottery games. How strange and SAD is that?

FranInAtlanta

March 23rd, 2013
12:20 am

I thought one of the reasons for the Hope (or superHope known as Zell Miller) was to keep our best and brightest in state.

SWGA Parent

March 23rd, 2013
12:42 am

This entire system is a screwed up as a one car parade…

Aser706

March 23rd, 2013
1:32 am

HEY!!! Of course politics would eff this up!!!

Who is to blame?

Equitas

March 23rd, 2013
2:44 am

Take the Zell Miller Scholarship and allow universities throughout
the state to offer scholarships in targeted majors such as those
in the STEM fields, and certain vocational fields.

@ DK222

I believe the state of Georgia should subsidize
college, but what makes you believe students
at Walton High School,which is a good school,
are entitled to have parents of Banneker High
School financially assist in paying for their college
tuition? In a robust economy, the argument of
maintaining talent might have been valid, but
state university systems all over the country
have seen dramatic increases in the number
of students applying within their respective
states because of the differences in costs.
If the SAT scores were increased for the Zell
Miller Scholarship, Georgia would simply be
duplicating scholarships that already exist
for students who score extremely well on the
tests.

janine

March 23rd, 2013
2:55 am

I realize that Ga does not look kindly at looking to Alabama for ideas.However–in Alabama tuition.room. and board are provided to any college oruniversity in the state based alley on a student’s. ACT. Or SAT score. THE higher the score- the more the scholarship covers..Even up to covering books and in some cases spending money.Thus no pressure. For grade inflation.

janine

March 23rd, 2013
2:59 am

There have been dramatic increases in the number of high achieving and/or gifted students choosing state schools since this program began.

Concerned Citizen

March 23rd, 2013
7:51 am

Fulton and Gwinnett have 4 times more students receiving the scholarships because they have 4 times more students. That is simple math. My child is graduating from a small town, rural system, and she qualified for Zell… Not only did she qualify for Zell Miller, she was offered a full scholarship from an out of state school. I am a middle class, public servant, so we aren’t part of the elite that Carter is talking about. If the student is intelligent and has a strong work ethic, they will get the qualifying scores no matter what school they are in.

Gail

March 23rd, 2013
7:56 am

I wish I had known about this bill. I would have tried to get them to also give the .5 for As in AP & IB classes. I’m sure they don’t even realize the HOPE regulations are written so that the highest a student can get for a class is 4, So an A in an AP or IB class gets the same credit as an A in a regular class. In 2011 the Governor’s Education advisors argued with me that all AP & IB grades get the .5 They were proven wrong.

Amy

March 23rd, 2013
8:11 am

I would love to see an anaysis of who keeps the Zell Miller scholarship after the Freshman year of college. We want to keep the best and brightest in Georgia, but what happens when they are put on a level playing field? Although, one has to wonder if keeping the Zell Miller at Georgia Tech is the same as keeping it at less rigorous colleges. I think not.

Private Citizen

March 23rd, 2013
8:12 am

South Georgia Retiree

March 23rd, 2013
9:00 am

It’s shameful that we’re debating which children get scholarships that should rightfully be spread statewide in a proportionate way. In fact, the real shame is that we depend on proceeds from gambling to fund academic scholarships, and now with this revenue slipping, we are eliminating this route to college for bright kids. I always thought the source of this tainted money was another voluntary tax, mainly on poorer Georgians, and I challenge anyone to produce evidence to the contrary. There’s something wrong when we believe something is important but lack the wisdom and courage to use general revenue to support it. Of course, we also believe PreK-12 education is important, but our leaders continue to cut billions from QBE.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2013
9:02 am

Liberals like Carter and Downey pretend SAT scores are based on “a student’s socioeconomics; the higher the family income, the higher the SAT score”. That correlation, of course, is based on the value of education by the more economically successful parents. The Georgia Senate was correct in defeating the Democrat amendment that would eliminate the SAT qualifier.

On the other issue of Dekalb’s former board member Walker now seeking donations to pay his legal fees, I ask why since the U.S. District Court judge asked the Georgia Supreme Court to consider the constitutional questions and it was docketed this week. Walker is quoted as saying “I’m not fighting to keep a position on the board,” he said. “My fight is to eliminate what I see as an unconstitutional law.” If the Supreme Court is already set to consider it, why the need/want for legal donations?

And before too many pretend lawyers post here that they, too, think the law is unconstitutional – Ronald Carlson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia law school, said the outcome is uncertain but that he likes the governor’s odds.

catlady

March 23rd, 2013
9:05 am

Is it bad that relatively few rural kids qualify? Yes, it is. However, I think the requirements should be across the board. Do rural, and inner-city kids have a harder time qualifying? Probably they have a lot more challenges to deal with. Where I live, there are no SAT review classes. The high school offers relatively few AP classes. There are few “extras” that the students can access, or that the parents have the time or money to go to. Most of the parents (except for the children of teachers) have a high school education, or less. The students’ grandparents worked in the mills al their lives (the mills that are no longer here). Little get-ahead social or cultural capital of the type that makes successful students.

While my kids were honor grads, I doubt if the top 3% of our high school could hold a candle, generally, to the top 3% of Cobb or Gwinnett (that poor county) of many of their high schools. It is too bad that, with the institution of HOPE, Georgia quit the SSIG program, which channeled money, half of it federal match, to worthy, mid and low income students, instead replacing it with something that is more likely to be received by the wealthy and upper middle class students.

Truth

March 23rd, 2013
9:22 am

The requirement excludes many hard working, deserving, and needy students. The current requirements rewards students who are inclined to do well since they come from more educated households with higher incomes while it depresses the HOPE participation of students coming from less affluent and educated households which research substantiates is a direct correlation to student achievement. This unfair, unjust, and inequitable approach is indicative of the lack of a sense or economic morality and justice that pervades the Republican Party and the party’s selfishness skewed in favor of the rich or affluent at the expense of the middle class and the poor. The law should be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court if possible. The middle class and the poor better determine a strategy in his Republican minded state that obviously does not give a darn about those students born in less fortunate circumstances that are well beyond their control but that impacts their performance and access to opportunities to a large degree. I only pray for the purpling on this state and the imminent shift in the political landscape. Justice is not far off.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2013
9:24 am

“Scholarships” is the operative word – not the former Governor, need-based, or social engineering. The intent is to reward the students who earn it. Some of them should not be pushed aside in favor of rural students who don’t measure up. Well off families who encourage their children to work and earn scholarships should not be means tested on top of all the other progressive taxation and means testing they face. As pointed out many times, the intent is to keep many of these top scholars in Georgia instead of going to out of state colleges where they may settle to start businesses and raise their own family scholars. The vast majority of our constituent elected legislators get it, liberals don’t.

bob

March 23rd, 2013
9:25 am

Bernie
“N. GA Teacher @ 11:45 pm – One of the most ironic side of this equation, those who benefit the most are the people who are the LEAST LIKELY to play any game of the Georgia Lottery. Whereas, the poorest and the most neediest students and their parents are daily multiple players of the Georgia Lottery games. How strange and SAD is that?”
No irony here Bernie, the parents that do not play the lottery are the parents that pay most of the taxes. The parents that spend $30 a week on the lottery are the parents that could care less about education. The sad part is that the parents that are responsible get stuck paying the freight of the lowlife lottery players.

Maureen Downey

March 23rd, 2013
9:31 am

@Catlady, But research has found that whether a top student in Podunk, USA, or in Suburbia, USA, those students persist and graduate. The key, apparently, is that it takes effort and commitment to excel, and that seems to be what all top students share, regardless of their high schools. Being a top student stands for a lot and says a lot, not matter where the high school is.
Maureen

Truth

March 23rd, 2013
9:37 am

@centrist….you conveniently overlook the fact the the lottery is overwhelmingly supported by parents whose children will not qualify. You do not acknowledge the imbalance and the inputs that often determine outputs. Many hardworking students may never earn a combine 1200 on the SAT in reading and math but they have the work ethic and motivation to keep trying and to succeed in college. The use of arbitrary limits only excludes many well deserving and conscientious students. However, I do not expect a privileged person to acknowledge these facts with celerity.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2013
9:53 am

@ Maureen – Rural schools cater mostly to agriculture and blue collar support type businesses. Yes, there are a much smaller professional white collar group like teachers, accountants, lawyers, bankers, doctors and dentists – but the students who excel enough for those professions and earn scholarships should have to meet the SAT requirement which is only set at about the top 20%.

@ Truth – The Hope Scholarship is not meant for those who persevere and eventually succeed, it is meant for the top scholars to keep in Georgia instead of moving out of state. A very worthwhile goal.

The lottery is voluntary. It is a tax on people who are poor at math, and often the only tax such people pay with the expanded transfer payments they receive from those who do pay taxes.

Bernie

March 23rd, 2013
10:03 am

bob @ 9:25 am – Well Bob I cannot not argue YOU with you at ALL on that point for sure! :) You are Right!. Its a SHELL Game no doubt!

CompetenceNotDiversity

March 23rd, 2013
10:07 am

@Truth: “The use of arbitrary limits only excludes many well deserving and conscientious students.” Arbitrary? That’s funny. The use of standardized test scores to measure performance for the purpose of awarding a scholarship based on academic merit is arbitrary? It’s only arbitrary to you because it doesn’t accomplish your social engineering goals.

mountain man

March 23rd, 2013
10:21 am

Give me a break! The top 3% in Podunk, Georgia probably has a much less score than a lot of students passed over in Cobb County. If it were based on the top 3% of Georgia students, there probably would be very few students from rural georgia. Of course, it IS based onGPA, so maybe Atlanta and suburbs just do a better job of grade inflation. Why not make it based solely on SAT/ACT scores?

And as for the poor “supporting HOPE through lottery ticket purchases”, I don’t think anyone purchases a lottery ticket just to support HOPE. They play the lottery as a gambling measure , hoping to win money. If the lottery was not there, they would be gambling on other things. The lottery just channels their gambling money into productive uses. Or would you rather that money go to the bookies?

catlady

March 23rd, 2013
10:27 am

Ms. Downey, while I agree with the basics of what you have said (and there is certainly research that backs it up) I have seen, on the small stage, too many local “top students” who do NOT graduate within 6 years. They find that although they have been a big frog in the past, they are swimming in a much more competitive pond when they go to college.

I graduated from a suburban high school over 40 years ago. I was number 2 in my class of 240. Luckily I did not think I was “all that.” My parents, both college grads in the 40s, prepared me for the fact that the As were not going to fall of the tree. Many of our small-town or rural kids have never had serious competition or challenge, nor parents to tune them into reality. They hit college and are distraught or puzzled over their relative difficulty in getting those As.

As my son said after entering the gifted program at age 7, “There are people who are SMARTER than me!”

An important lesson that many frogs from bigger ponds already know.

hssped

March 23rd, 2013
10:27 am

What if the kids from the rural areas are in the top 3% but don’t have the SAT scores to even get into college? Then what happens? Obviously the SAT will have to be taken at some point. I guess I can see not tying the scholarship to scores, but the test will have to be taken at some point. True story….Honor Grad from a FC high school (3.7 gpa) couldn’t get into a GA university with his SAT scores (took them twice) and then failed a portion of the Compass test at a smaller school (community/tech school) and had to take a remedial reading class as a freshman. So, my question is what is the plan if the SAT score is not directly related to the scholarship? Will the scholarship be used to pay for remedial classes? I suppose that if one had the 3.7 but couldn’t get in to a school due to low SAT scores one could attend community/tech college which costs less and then there would be more money available to the kids with the good SAT scores? Is that the long-term plan? Throw the low-scoring SAT kids a bone and still have money in the pot for the high-scorers?

ABC

March 23rd, 2013
10:28 am

I am pretty liberal and a staunch Democrat, but the truth is that in this country, only the very poor and the very rich can send their children to college. The very poor will qualify for all kinds of aid and the very rich can afford it on their own. It is the middle class that is often shafted.

While I am trying VERY hard to put away enough to send my sons to college, I am well aware that it won’t be enough. They will NEED to get something to help them, and they will not be qualifying for any need based aid. They will need this scholarship or something like it. Because in my family we value education, we are drilling in their heads that they WILL have to work hard and there WILL be the need for some kind of merit scholarship if they don’t want to be saddled with bone crushing student debt.

The lottery is a tax; but no one is forcing anyone to play it. Yes, you can say that it is a temptation put on people that don’t know any better. But as liberal as I am, I don’t believe that govt can regulate ANY vice. People will find a way to do it.

bu2

March 23rd, 2013
10:28 am

My opinion of Jason Carter drops every time he opens his mouth. Either he’s an idiot or he assumes everyone else is and is pandering like he did to the Walker supporters in DCSS. North Gwinnett HS will get something like 40 national merit finalists, perhaps more than some state senate districts. Some schools do have better students. Parents move their because of the schools.

N Ga Teacher makes his argument with much more intelligence and poses legitimate questions. Carter is a clown.

Equitas

March 23rd, 2013
10:36 am

Stagnate wages and increased college costs over
the years,along with a difficult economy ,have made
the Zell Miller Scholarship and the Hope Scholarship
more a political right of patronage based upon making
changes to the original qualifications.

Important Questions-

1) If a family earns enough money to be considered
at least “middle class”, should the Zell Miller
Scholarship invests more money than the parents
have been willing to save for their child’s education?

2) Should the Zell Miller Scholarship follow a modified financial
aid formula that awards a full scholarship to students whose
parents make below a certain financial threshold and matches
the savings parents have made through a 529 educational savings
plan above the threshold?

The real issue is how much money are parents saving for higher
education expenses. I know parents can’t keep pace with the
exorbitant costs of college,but there is a difference between saving
some money to defray the cost and not having any money saved
if your income levels were sufficient to meet your basic household
needs.

Astropig

March 23rd, 2013
10:36 am

@ Truth-

I got a chuckle out of your post.I hope it was meant to be sarcastic. But if not…

…You need to put your rage aside and realize that there are good Republicans that just want a decent education for their kids and there are good Democrats that want the same.You just don’t like the R’s because they won’t hand you something for free.(Well, not really free.Other people have to pay for it but you are not charged in a way that is visible). Smart, clever,industrious students will always find a way to make things happen,while people waiting for “equity” will be waiting a long time.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2013
10:44 am

ABC posted “I am pretty liberal and a staunch Democrat, but the truth is that in this country, only the very poor and the very rich can send their children to college. The very poor will qualify for all kinds of aid and the very rich can afford it on their own. It is the middle class that is often shafted…Because in my family we value education, we are drilling in their heads that they WILL have to work hard and there WILL be the need for some kind of merit scholarship if they don’t want to be saddled with bone crushing student debt.”

Very well stated. I think you are a little more of a centrist Democrat than “pretty liberal”.

Carlos

March 23rd, 2013
10:47 am

Wasn’t the idea behind the scholarship to keep kids in the state who would normally go elsewhere and leave Georgia? It looks to me like those kids are the ones who are getting the scholarships.

Clutch Cargo

March 23rd, 2013
10:50 am

@ABC-

While I am trying VERY hard to put away enough to send my sons to college, I am well aware that it won’t be enough. They will NEED to get something to help them, and they will not be qualifying for any need based aid. They will need this scholarship or something like it. Because in my family we value education, we are drilling in their heads that they WILL have to work hard and there WILL be the need for some kind of merit scholarship if they don’t want to be saddled with bone crushing student debt.

Good for you. Saving and investing for one of life’s two most predictable and quantifiable events is just good practice (The other event is retirement).But if I may,I would like to suggest that a way to leverage your current savings already exists and can be the difference between crushing debt and a brighter future for the offsprung.

Wherever you live in GA,send them to community college first. You should be able to pay for that out of pocket (or make them work summers for tuition $) and gain valuable time to pay for that last two years at one of our great universities.You’ll sidestep the requirement for dorm living when they transfer in as a junior and they’ll be established students that can make the transition a little easier. They will know what it takes to succeed in the classroom and the time wasting pseudo-students will have long ago dropped out. They’ll be more mature and value the sacrifice that you’re making a little more,also. It also gives you valuable time to rearrange your budget affairs to pay for those last two years on the fly instead of taking on backbreaking debt to pay for it.

I know this because my son will graduate in about 6 weeks.He’ll finish without a penny of debt and got a job offer…Yesterday (Yesssss!) . We’re a one income household and have never made more than a middle class living (middle-middle class).You can do it.Good luck to you!

ABC

March 23rd, 2013
10:53 am

Centrist: I’m sure you meant it as a compliment..and maybe you are possibly right. The middle class gets shafted often in this country, Where I differ from most centrists (your word) is that they seem to think that the poor don’t deserve any help at all. I would never advocate any system that takes away safety nets for poor people. The miller scholarship was intended to be merit based and it should stay that way. There are MANY other types of aid available for the poor to go to college. Assuming, of course, that they even want to.

Dr No No

March 23rd, 2013
10:54 am

Smart people tend to make more money, a lot more money, and they tend to have children with high IQ’s. The SAT sorts for high IQ. High school grades sort by motivation and ability to follow teacher’s directions, not so much for high IQ. So a kid from North Fulton with an IQ over 140 who scores 2100 on the SAT is to be denied a Miller Scholarship in favor of a kid from South Georgia with a 4.1 GPA but a 1700 on the SAT (estimated IQ ~108)? Instead of keeping the best and brightest in state, this would punish the best and brightest based solely on geographic location!

ABC

March 23rd, 2013
10:57 am

Clutch Cargo: yes your advice (one I have heard often) is wise. No argument there. And yet I can’t really subscribe to it. Maybe because I was so happy during all 4 my years in college, including the one where I lived in the dorms. I hesitate to take that away. It may be necessary, of course, because 15 years ago when I was at UGA, things were MUCH more affordable than they are today.

And that, my friends, is actually the real culprit here: the unchecked way that colleges and universities have been allowed to increase their costs. At many, many more times than the rate of inflation for no reason than anyone can see.

Equitas

March 23rd, 2013
11:23 am

@ABC University increased costs are also a reflection
of the increased health insurance costs. Many
universities have had multiple factors such as
increased numbers of students attending college,
increased utility costs, lower investment returns,
and diminishing levels of state funding. Keep doing
the right things and it will work out to your benefit.

Centrist

March 23rd, 2013
11:31 am

@ ABC – I did mean it as a compliment. I am neither a Republican or Democrat and support a true safety net for the working poor and disabled including college scholarships for those who have a reasonable chance of success. We have those things now – often overlapping and often given to people who do not deserve them to buy votes.

In addition to the community college idea (4 years at the college/university is a wonderful experience), consider dual enrollment in high school for a jump start if your children are eligible. You will need to research and apply mostly on your own because school systems hate to pay the tuition. Here is one of many websites to look at: http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/students/admissions_enrollment

Clutch Cargo

March 23rd, 2013
11:38 am

@ABC

“Increase their costs…At many, many more times than the rate of inflation for no reason than anyone can see.”

Actually, the answer is in plain sight.It’s so big that you have to view it at a distance to understand it. It’s called easy,cheap money. Student debt.If I gave everyone in the room 50-70,000 dollars on just their signature and I was selling something that they have been taught is essential…Well,the bidding would start high,that’s for sure. It’s only after they have graduated do the students learn just how hard it is to pay back that large sum after they pay for living expenses.(Things they never had to foot the bill for previously- like car insurance,electric,water &sewer etc…) And there’s no escape hatch, no “easy button” to get rid of student debt. It follows you to the grave ( and beyond if your parents co-signed on the loan). It’ simple economics. Everybody has more money to play with,so the provider is jacking up the price to balance supply/demand (and to hire more assistant vice chancellors of diversity studies) . It would be like violating a law of gravity if the price didn’t keep going up.

Every parent has to do what they think is best of course,but a 17 year old can’t (legally) buy a beer, vote or carry a firearm.But they can sign up for student debt that may not be paid off until they have kids.I’d remember that when I reminisced about my college days.

bu2

March 23rd, 2013
11:44 am

“The real issue is how much money are parents saving for higher
education expenses. I know parents can’t keep pace with the
exorbitant costs of college,but there is a difference between saving
some money to defray the cost and not having any money saved
if your income levels were sufficient to meet your basic household
needs.”

When you get into income levels its very difficult to measure. You can take into account different family sizes, but you can’t take into account all the variables. Maybe one family has to help support a parent. Maybe another has a special needs child. Maybe one family is making good money but just got off an extended period of unemployment. Maybe another was making good money, but faces wage cuts or layoffs. No income based plan can take that into account. Basically you are basing it off one year’s family income.

ABC

March 23rd, 2013
11:44 am

Centrist: thank you for that link. I have “heard” of dual enrollment but haven’t found much info on it. My sons plan to do the IB program, so that may or may not be an option. It’s a pretty grueling program (I did it), but you DO get to graduate with maybe a year and likely a semester’s worth of college credits. Maybe that will help.

Clutch: yeah what you posted is the truth. I find it reprehensible. I read recently that student debt has surpassed consumer debt. Not surprising of course, but blew my mind.

Equitas

March 23rd, 2013
12:15 pm

@bu2 You made a lot of valid points, and you are correct
to say that it is difficult to measure,but the same
variables also exist for students taking the SAT.
Does the student have to work, take care a relative,
live in a foster home, deal with the problems
associated with divorce but we still have
the same requirements for receiving the Zell Miller
Scholarship. I think you gave excellent examples
but the only point I was making is if the parent
loves and cares about the child and has the means
to save something for the child’s college fund, but
is not investing in the child’s future(college),why
should the parent expect the state to completely
pay for a responsibility that rest with the parent?

American Thinker

March 23rd, 2013
12:55 pm

Atlanta is full of transplants and years ago before HOPE, the well to do would send their kids to schools the likes of Duke, NYU, MIT, Northwestern, USC, UCLA and other elite schools along the coasts. HOPE wanted to keep these students here in GA and prop up our GA Universities. So if we make HOPE scholarships based on need you will see some of the brightest students leaving again.

American Thinker

March 23rd, 2013
1:06 pm

Would you want a surgeon to operate on you that graduated number one his class from a medical school in Kabul, Afghanistan or just a top 30% from Johns Hopkins.

oh no

March 23rd, 2013
1:28 pm

I graduated with a 3.5 GPA at Brookwood High in Snellville in just the top 40% of the school after taking all AP senior year and 11 total AP courses. However, I ended up getting a 31 on the ACT and 1390 out of 1600 or 1980 of 2400. (Yes there are many classes for ACT and SAT prep but I never took any. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean people utilize them.) I easily qualify under the SAT and ACT requirement but fall short of the GPA requirement. I’m currently in my 3rd year at Texas A&M competing against many Texas students that got automatic admission for being in the top 10% of their class. Generally I outperform them and I hear the same thing. Their school didn’t prepare them for college. There are plenty of exceptional students from rural areas that cream me but you just can’t compare top 10% of rural schools to top 10% of suburban schools. These supposedly top students are struggling because their schools never challenged them academically. Aside from the very top this is common. And A&M isn’t even nearly as good as a school like Georgia Tech.

I’m very grateful for the opportunities given to me and that I lived in a nurturing home with parents that pushed me to succeed. I know many students live in toxic environments with parents who don’t care or parents that are absent. They can’t study as much because they have to work just at night just to feed themselves and maybe a younger sibling. I’m all for need based scholarships giving the same opportunity I was afforded but don’t confuse need based and merit based. The laws of physics don’t change because of your socioeconomic background. In most college courses either you know the material or you don’t. In a state like Georgia there is a wide discrepancy in the quality of schools. Success in high school doesn’t necessarily translate to success in college. College professors won’t curve grades based on family income so don’t curve merit based scholarship requirements. If a need based scholarship is what’s best, implement it.

jess

March 23rd, 2013
1:49 pm

Were SATs taken out of the equation, and only GPAs used, The pressure on teachers would be enormous, and we have already learned, teachers today are not above taking a few shorrtcuts and liberties with grades. SATs are a true measure, if not tampered with, of a students readiness for college.

Rik Roberts

March 23rd, 2013
1:57 pm

All three of my kids have attended joint enrollment programs funded by either ACCEL or Move On When Ready. They were not given the honors points for their high school class rankings and despite stellar performance were not in the top 10 in their respective classes.

Also, the grades that they earned in their joint enrollment programs were not considered in future HOPE GPA calculations for ongoing qualification. In other words, my daughters two years of easier core classes were not counted along with her harder subject area classes at Tech and thus she lost HOPE with a year of eligibility left because of a 10th of a point in GPA. Not sure how that’s fair given that a regular enrolled students classes are all taken into consideration.