Archive for the ‘HOPE Scholarship’ Category

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

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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, …

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

Democrats: Governor’s changes to HOPE Grant still leave students “out in the cold.”

The Senate Democrats offered this response to the governor’s plan to lower the GPA for HOPE grants for students in technical colleges, which have reported a steep decline since Nathan Deal imposed a 3.0 GPA requirement.

Senate Democrats said Gov. Deal’s proposal to lower the grade point average requirement in Georgia’s HOPE Grant for students in the technical college system is a reasonable first step, but doesn’t go far enough to repair the broken HOPE Grant and Scholarship programs.

Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, whip of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is an author of Senate Bill 59 that would reduce the GPA from 3.0 to 2.0 for a HOPE Grant recipient. The measure is similar to the Gov. Deal’s recent HOPE Grant proposal. But Fort said real HOPE reform is a multi-prong approach that requires the state’s leadership to account for all current and future students and requires changes across the grant and scholarship spectrum.

“The purpose of the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Scholarship …

Continue reading Democrats: Governor’s changes to HOPE Grant still leave students “out in the cold.” »

Gov. Deal responds to concerns about HOPE Grant and lowers GPA requirement to 2.0

Gov. Nathan Deal has apparently heard some of the protests about the changes he made two years ago to HOPE, reversing his decision to require that even students going to the state’s technical colleges on HOPE Grants also have a 3.0 GPA.

The AJC reported that nearly 9,000 technical college students lost the award last year because they couldn’t meet the higher standard. Ron Jackson, the commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, told legislators last month that thousands of other students dropped out of the technical colleges or didn’t enroll because they couldn’t afford to pay what HOPE no longer covered.

The system’s enrollment dropped by about 24,500 students to 170,860 last year. Historically, nearly 75 percent of technical college students receive HOPE.

The change needs the Legislature’s approval, but has bi-partisan support and is expected to pass.

Now, the question is: Will Deal respond to complaints about how few rural students are getting the Zell …

Continue reading Gov. Deal responds to concerns about HOPE Grant and lowers GPA requirement to 2.0 »

Democrats want to tweak HOPE Scholarship again. Give full HOPE to top 3 percent of class

The Democrats in the Senate are getting busy on education issues.

One of their chief targets is the Zell Miller Scholarship, the top tier HOPE award that goes to high school graduates who perform well in both GPA and SAT. Democrats want to expand the scholarship to students who graduate in the top 3 percent, regardless of their SAT score.

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.

Most high school grads in the state don’t meet that higher bar but qualify for HOPE Lite if they have a 3.0 grade point average. HOPE Lite is based on available lottery funds and thus subject to fluctuations. The governor created two tiers of HOPE awards in 2011 to cut down on the scholarship program’s …

Continue reading Democrats want to tweak HOPE Scholarship again. Give full HOPE to top 3 percent of class »

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 …

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

Pre-k turns 20: Should it be an equal priority to HOPE?

Pre-k has waiting lists throughout the state. Does it deserve more funding?  (AJC file)

Pre-k has waiting lists throughout the state. Does it deserve more funding? (AJC file)

Bobby Cagle, commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, met with the AJC a few weeks ago and talked about his first 18 months in the job.

“What we do is setting the stage for the future success of the children we serve. And that is the economic engine that is going to drive us in future years,” he said during the hour long session.

Pre-k began as a pilot 20 years ago with 750 4-years-olds from low-income Georgia families. Today, the program serves more than 84,000 children. Now open to all 4-year-olds regardless of household income, the program has waiting lists in many areas of the state.

Pre-k is funded by the Georgia Lottery, which also underwrites the HOPE Scholarship. A new report by the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute questions the funding ratio used to dispense lottery dollars to pre-k and HOPE.  The study cautions:

Georgia’s …

Continue reading Pre-k turns 20: Should it be an equal priority to HOPE? »

Retired teacher: Make admins teach. Reduce testing. Eliminate gifted. Restore recess.

Retired Atlanta Public Schools teacher Scott Stephens — he taught English for 15 years at Grady High School and taught for a decade in Fulton County  — sent me a list of reforms.  I thought it was a great list and have his permission to share it here:

Courtesy of Scott Stephens:

1. All certified personnel at a school, including academy leaders, graduation coaches, instructional coaches, assistant principals and principals, should teach at least one class during the school year. This would be of benefit in two ways. First, it would help reduce class size and, most important, it would provide administrators with continued input from the classroom. I believe that when a number of people are at school, but not teaching, morale is adversely affected.

2. All students (K-12) need daily physical activity, both recess and structured physical education. Many students need to get rid of excess energy. Others need to lose weight and get in shape. Further, many discipline problems …

Continue reading Retired teacher: Make admins teach. Reduce testing. Eliminate gifted. Restore recess. »

Study: Students from middle-income families incur higher student loan debt

One of the working research papers being presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver this weekend deals with the disproportionate share of student debt that falls on students from families earning  between $40,000 and $59,000.

Here is the official release on the paper by Jason N. Houle of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Young adults from middle income families are more likely to rack up student loan debt — and in greater amounts — than students from both lower and higher income backgrounds, finds new research to be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Many middle income families make too much money for their children to qualify for student aid packages,” said study author Jason N. Houle, a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “While at the same time, they may not have the financial means to cover the high costs of college.”

Houle …

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Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE?

In talking to parents of young children, I find many fear that the HOPE Scholarship will dwindle away to pennies by the time their kids reach college age.

The changes to HOPE by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Legislature link the merit scholarship to available lottery funds, so the amount  will now vary year to year. It will likely never pay 100 percent of tuition again, given the growing demand on lottery proceeds.

Did you see the AJC interview with the father of HOPE,former Gov. Zell Miller? In a rare press interview, an ailing Miller told my colleague Jim Galloway, “I don’t think they had any other choice. We knew back in the ‘90s that there would be adjustments. This came as no surprise.”

Galloway reports that Miller is not alarmed at the decision by state lottery officials to approve the sale of tickets through the Internet.

“I’m okay with that. In fact, we wrote the lottery law so you could do that,” he said. But as for that plan to create a casino with machines operated …

Continue reading Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE? »