Legislators lower bar to earn HOPE Grant for technical colleges

More technical college students will now receive the HOPE Grant.

The General Assembly passed a bill tonight that lowers the GPA necessary to win the lottery-funded grant, which applies to technical colleges.

House Bill 372 qualifies students for the grant if they maintain a 2.0 grade-point average. The current mandate is 3.0, but the change would reinstate the rule that existed before lawmakers overhauled HOPE two years ago.

The change reflects concerns that too many technical college students dropped out or chose not to enroll because they couldn’t meet the higher bar. The new standard is estimated to allow between 2, 500 and 5,000 students to re-enroll in the grant program.

The HOPE Scholarship, which is used by University System of Georgia students, would keep its 3.0 GPA requirement. Both awards cover most of the in-state tuition.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled  blog

31 comments Add your comment

Bernie

March 28th, 2013
11:15 pm

The Change in the Law by The CLOWN POSSE initially was purposely and with great intent designed to disenfranchise and discourage a particular segment of the Student population and to EXTORT their ongoing disdain towards Education out of Fear that somehow their WAY of LIFE is being CHALLENGED and affected. The Georgia CLOWN POSSE delegation derives great personal pleasure and excitement out of beating DOWN the POOREST and the Least fortunate among US.

Sadly, This is part of the ongoing SICK, PERSONAL PRIDE of The SOUTHERN CULTURE. A Trait that has be in place since the implementation of that peculiar institution. The routine debasing of another Human being makes them feel better! very strange behavior indeed.

Centrist

March 28th, 2013
11:17 pm

This was a no brainer fix that was expected, and good.

Tightening illegal immigration issues and expanded gun carry (including college campuses) seem to be still remaining at this hour – nothing reported in the AJC yet.

Bernie

March 28th, 2013
11:21 pm

correction:

The Change in the Law by The CLOWN POSSE initially was purposely and with great intent designed to disenfranchise and discourage a particular segment of the Student population and to EXHORT their ongoing disdain towards Education out of Fear that somehow their WAY of LIFE is being CHALLENGED and affected. The Georgia CLOWN POSSE delegation derives great personal pleasure and excitement out of beating DOWN the POOREST and the Least fortunate among US.

Sadly, This is part of the ongoing SICK, PERSONAL PRIDE of The SOUTHERN CULTURE. A Trait that has be in place since the implementation of that peculiar institution. The routine debasing of another Human being makes them feel better! A very strange behavior indeed.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
8:10 am

A 2.0?
Really?
I don’t want someone working on my computer network who barely graduated from high school.
I don’t want someone working on my car engine who barely graduated from high school.
With grade inflation as it is and the policies that require teachers not to give zeros for work not done, a 2.0 is really an F.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
8:13 am

Errrrrtttttt….scrrrrreeeech.
Wait just a minute here. For the longest time the Hope argument has always been that the PURPPOSE of Hope is to keep good students in GA so they will stay in GA after graduation as they are the future leaders we need.
So now we are going to change it up so that we give away money to the lowest achieving (read lazy) kids in GA so that they will stay here?
We need the lowest achieving kids to LEAVE GA.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
8:16 am

Technical? Yes!
Lazy? No!
I don’t mind ANY Hope money going to technical schools…but to lower the bar to gain the Hope money to “students” who “earn” a 2.0 is just wacko!
We need to encourage effort and not reward lazy!

Another view

March 29th, 2013
8:17 am

Can we see a measure of grade deflation possible here? Now that teachers won’t be pressed to give Bs for HOPE, may they feel more comfortable in giving Cs? Not likely. Remember that the new evaluation protocol for teachers requires students to improve, which means now your F and D students will be the norm of the 2.0 crowd. There entry into tech colleges will lead to high RPG failure rates, which will in turn lead the state to cut more money to these colleges as the new college funding formula is based on graduation rates. The vicious circle just got larger.

cautiously optimistic

March 29th, 2013
9:54 am

I actually think this is a good thing. Many kids that are good with their hands, and would be great in vocational occupations, are not good at school. They don’t sit still well, and we all know that our kids are doing more and more sitting. The kids that fidget and don’t sit still, daydream, tend not to make the best grades. Technical school is not a cake walk, and if the kids aren’t up to the challenge, they won’t make it through. Our kids need other avenues to succeed.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
10:17 am

cautiously optimistic..
Technicl schools teach computer skills. A person who works on a computer has to sit very very still for very long periods as do car mechanics so your argument that tech schools are better for kids who can’t sit still is just silly…and wrong.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
10:25 am

What we need are good unions who use the apprentice to master craftsman model.
Kids graduate from high school and learn the trade from the accomplished union members.
Many technical schools are high-priced rip offs. THey accept all students regardless of abilities and suck them into mountains of student loan debt and the students often drop out no more educated than when the started.

jarvis

March 29th, 2013
10:58 am

Do they also only need to maintain a 2.0 in technical school to keep the scholly?

Jovan Miles

March 29th, 2013
11:22 am

I think lowering the bar is a bad idea. It tells our tech-school bound students that we think less of them. We also teach them that they’ll be rewarded for mediocrity… which is a terrible message to send to any person seeking post-secondary schooling of any kind.

A better alternative would be to place an income cap on the scholarship, thereby preventing families who have the means to pay for a post-secondary education from taking advantage of a program that could help change the life outcomes of countless Georgians by giving them the opportunity to attend college when they otherwise would not due to financial hardships.

Jovan Miles

March 29th, 2013
11:24 am

@ Pride and Joy … I actually agree with your apprenticeship model. Those interested in that kind of work can receive real-world experience from a master welder, plumber, etc. instead of taking unnecessary courses and paying fees for services which they may never take advantage of.

living in an outdated ed system

March 29th, 2013
11:46 am

Just like NCLB. Is a student really worthy of a scholarship with a 2.0 GPA? This all comes back to the original intent of the program. Is it financial aid for needy students, or is it a scholarship award?

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
12:19 pm

Outdated system…the original intent of HOPE was to encourage good students to go to school in GA. They know that students often stay and work in a city near where they attended college.
If the smart GA grads stay in GA, the theory says, they will produce a better GA.
The HOPE scholarship was never intended to be a method for helping low income students to go to college. Pell Grants and student loans do that already.

mommamonster

March 29th, 2013
12:19 pm

Isn’t a 2.0 a C, which is “average”? What we as a country need to realize is that we have a problem with our self-image and reality. Politicians are so heck bent on competing with other countries that they have lost the big picture. We will NEVER compete with countries that separate the kids who are capable of higher education from those who would be better suited to jobs that do not require a 4 year degree. We will also never compete with those countries who have school for 10 hours per day AND on weekends.

The folks who set the math curriculum do not take into account that most kids’ brains are not developed for abstract thought until 7th or 8th grade. We are trying to teach Kindergarten students things their brains aren’t ready for. It’s a recipe for both failure and making the kids hate math at an even younger age. ALL kids deserve to succeed at their own level and on their own terms-not all kids can get through this new math unscathed…it’s an inappropriate curriculum.

Y’all need to realize that there is an endemic problem also in this country with the attitude that if a person does not go to college they are automatically 2nd class citizens. My best friend got her GED, went to MedTech to become a Medical Assistant and now makes twice what I make as a teacher as a self-employed medical biller. She works for herself and is home to raise her twins: NOT a 2nd class citizen.

This change will help my Sped kids have a choice and a chance to make something of themselves. They deserve it as much as the 4.0 kids.

living in an outdated ed system

March 29th, 2013
1:36 pm

@Pride and Joy – got it. So again I ask, is a 2.0 GPA really worthy of a “scholarship”? Lets change the name of the program and call it the “Stay in GA Schools” program : )

Anchorite

March 29th, 2013
2:09 pm

Wow, Pride & Joy actually admitted the state needs unions!

All for apprenticeship models and for this change. For once, GA might be doing something positive in regards to education.

Ashley

March 29th, 2013
2:38 pm

If you can only achieve a C average, please don’t refer to yourself as a scholar , mediocrity should never be rewarded, It’s bad enough when football and basketball players on scholarship only need a C average, now we lower the gpa for technical schools, can you hear the laughter Georgia?

cautiously optimistic

March 29th, 2013
2:59 pm

@Pride & Joy 10:17 – you need to research your technical schools a little further. Electricians, HVAC people, auto mechanics, plumbers, beauticians all come out of tech schools (yes, I am aware there are other routes to acquire these trades). And yes, some IT jobs do too, but the majority of these jobs are hands on, out in the field jobs.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
5:04 pm

cautiously optimistic, you are making my point for me.
Have you ever actually seen a plumber work? They are crowded in tiny spaces working on pipe fittings.
Car mechanics work bent over in a crowded car engine.
So your point that tech schools are good places for people who can’t sit still is a silly one.
Someone who can’t sit still needs to get a job as a dog walker or an aerobics instructor.
Tech schools ARE NOT good for those who have characteristics of someone with ADD or ADHD or someone who just cannot concentrate.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
5:07 pm

Anchorite — I’ve always been pro-union. You must be thinking of someone else.
Let me make the record straight:
I’m a white, middle-class educated woman with children. I’m a Democrat who twice voted for O’Bama; however, I do not want to give illegal immigrants concessions and I have always been pro-union.
I think many people think that just because I am pro-voucher and I have a healthy distrust of metro Atlanta public schools that I must be a tea-partier. It’s just not the case.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
5:10 pm

To living — you asked “@Pride and Joy – got it. So again I ask, is a 2.0 GPA really worthy of a “scholarship”?
Heck no it’s not worthy of a scholarship of any kind, including a technical school and I’ve said so very plainly.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
5:14 pm

MommaMonster, you make an excellent point that 2.0 should be average…
but in reality it isn’t.
Grade inflation is rampant. A student today who gets a 2.0 is really earning a failing grade.
So, you’re right. A 2.0 should be the norm for the average student doing average work but it is jsut not the case today.

Pride and Joy

March 29th, 2013
5:19 pm

Mommamonster says “in this country with the attitude that if a person does not go to college they are automatically 2nd class citizens.”
No, not true either.
Citizens who DO NOT have a college degree are MUCH MUCH less likely to earn a living wage and health benefits.
Your friend performs medical billing at home. Good for her and her twins…but…that job pays about 40K a year and one has to work 50 weeks a year 8 to 5. 40K is not enough to support a family of three people including medical benefits, savings for college and retirement.
Not having a college degree doesn’t make anyone a second class citizen, it just makes them struggle financially and who wants that life for their child?

Readthepaper

March 30th, 2013
10:06 am

A 2.0 average would be a “D” average if the schools gave D’s. There is no grade of “D” in Georgia schools. They were done away with……so every grade
from 70 to 80 gets students a 2.0 . This is ridiculous!

Ath1

March 31st, 2013
12:35 pm

LOL @Technical school is not a cake walk, and if the kids aren’t up to the challenge, they won’t make it through. Our kids need other avenues to succeed.

You have no idea what you are taking about. So, students, who can barely get by with a C average, are eligible for the HOPE Grant once again. So much for standards! Nevermind what the powers that be spout about the “rigors” a technical college education. It just ain’t so. If a student is getting FREE money to enroll and graduate from a diploma program, one would hope that the student has to maintain a GPA of at least 2.50.

Also what happens is that these students who are barely making it, complete the curriculum for the diploma program and then applies to the degree curriculum where they might have to take 3-4 additional courses. Even if HOPE grant won’t pay for the additional courses, the student can come out of pocket because he/she already had HOPE grant pay for at least 90% of the degree program.

Trust me technical college education is NOT rigorous! Lowering the GPA to 2.00 allows low performing students to remain on the HOPE grant program and ensures that the institutions received that additional enrollment (= money) in their coffers. The same complaints about the K-12 system apply to the technical system as well. The administration really do not care if the students succeed. Their concern is students enrolling and maintaining HOPE, so that the institution can collect that $$$. Now that the funding is dependent on retention & graduation rates, it will be interesting. Technical education will take on another dimension…diploma mills.

Ath1

March 31st, 2013
12:44 pm

@Readthepaper:

2.00 GPA = C average

1:00 GPA = D average

Readthepaper

April 1st, 2013
8:51 am

Ath1. I have kids in the school system…..there is no such thing as a “D”.

Educationmatters

April 1st, 2013
11:44 am

@Readthepaper is correct. When I asked why my child di not receive a “D” when their return home papers showed they were not mastering a subject I was told, by a teacher, that the administration will not allow teachers to give student’s D’s. I have many personal friends that are teachers and principals…at this point with all the educational lies it is very, very hard to be friends with these people for they are part of the lies. I lasted in the public school system, with my children, for three years and I just had to leave again. Now my child that was not mastering concepts has been tested and is on grade level and meets our (the parents) expectations; which are high. Moreover, with teaching at home, we can automatically know when our child is not mastering a particular subject area..

Society needs to tell the truth. Some of these kids are not mastering the subject matter, but they can past the CRCT. It happened to us and we are very, very involved parents (which made is recognize the issue quickly)! When most parents find out it is too late. Test your own children and supplement their work, but never, never let teachers be the primary teaching source. As parents, that should be a crime. As a former community college instructor…..yes, there is tremendous grade inflation. The SAT scores (a nrom-referenced test) usually do not match up with the actually grades received. A high percentage of Georgia graduates need remedial assistance to attend college although high school scores say otherwise. This law does nothing but “dumb down” education for “those” set of students and to assist technical colleges to continue to be funded and provide a source of jobs for the state. It all comes down to money!

cautiously optimistic

April 1st, 2013
1:30 pm

@Pride and Joy 5:04 – actually my son is training to be an electrician. He is classic ADD, smart, can’t sit still… Was enrolled in college, but not sure he actually “attended”. This is an awesome job for him and he loves it.