Archive for the ‘HOPE Scholarship’ Category

Who’s No. 1 in the class? Some local schools don’t care.

Some local schools aren't ranking their graduates so there is no valedictorian. (AJC/file photo)

Some local schools aren't ranking their graduates so there is no valedictorian. (AJC/file photo)

In a subscriber-only story recently, the AJC looked at the trend away from naming valedictorians. (I can’t link to the AJC piece as it did not run online. But next week, the op-ed page will have a pro/con on this topic that will run online.)

I have written a lot about this in connection with the recent Georgia flaps about who won the No. 1 slot in various high schools.

In this news story, AJC reporter D. Aileen Dodd writes about why a few schools, typically private, have moved away from naming valedictorians while most still hold onto the tradition.

She wrote:

These schools, mostly private and some public, say they buck the tradition so students will be motivated to get good grades because that’s what they should do as scholars, not to attain the rewards of a high rank.

The prevailing philosophy in education, however, is to reward students for hard work. The title of …

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NBC’s Education Nation: In Atlanta today with teacher town hall

NBC brought its “Education Nation” project to Atlanta today with a two-hour town hall meeting with teachers at the Georgia Aquarium.

The web-streamed event revisited the usual education topics, teacher effectiveness, career and college readiness, the global workplace, charter schools and the role of technology.

While each of the four panels had a theme, panelists often strayed, so the discussions traveled far and wide. The teachers on the panel and those in the audience were articulate and committed; they certainly put forth Georgia’s best face in education. Many were National Board Certified teachers or county Teachers of the Year.

One of the panelists was a Georgia Teacher of the Year, Jadun McCarthy, a Bibb County high school teacher. (I have quoted the outspoken and eloquent Mr. McCarthy frequently on the blog in the past; he was more constrained under this format than when simply loosed at a microphone.)

McCarthy credited Georgia with applying for and winning a waiver …

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Pressure mounting on Congress to keep down student loan interest

The pressure is mounting on the U.S. Congress to act to keep down interest rates on federal Stafford loans, which are helping  225,000 Georgia students attend college. A critical vote will be held Tuesday on the interest rate on those loans, which will double if Congress does not intervene.

In a conference call today, Georgia PIRG said the doubling of the interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on new student loans — students have to reapply every year for the loans — will push up the college loan debt load, which already exceeds credit card debt in the United States.

The average Georgia student could see an additional $913 in repayment costs if the federal loans carry an interest of 6.8 percent. The average Georgia student graduates with nearly $19,000 in debt now.  (That is less than the national average, which is $25,000.)

“We see students every day with financial need who keep struggling over how they are meeting college expenses,” said Philip E. Hawkins , associate …

Continue reading Pressure mounting on Congress to keep down student loan interest »

Tomorrow is D-day for seniors: Deciding which college to attend

Most metro Atlanta seniors must make their college choices tomorrow. (AP Images.)

Most metro Atlanta seniors must make their college choices tomorrow. (AP Images.)

My niece from New Jersey is on a plane now flying south for a one day visit to a college that accepted her into its prestigious pharmacy program. She had been planning on attending a college closer to home but had last-minute doubts and decided to make this trip since she had not seen this one last school.

The reason for her rushed visit: Like thousands of students in metro Atlanta, she has to commit tomorrow to the college of her choice.

I would love to see her come South, although I have no idea whether the college is a match for her.

I feel for my brother who was scurrying yesterday to find low-cost flights to Charlotte, but I think it’s important to see a college at least once. Two years ago, my oldest son spent the last weekend of April ricocheting from a college in New York to one in Ohio, neither of which he had visited before applying but both of which had a lot of the elements he wanted …

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Unless their summer job is selling a kidney, most students can’t earn enough to pay for college

Many parents worry about how they’re going to pay for their children’s education even when their kids plan to attend public colleges.

It doesn’t look like the struggle is going to get any easier. Reporting from today’s Georgia Board of Regents meeting, the AJC says Georgia college students would pay between $31 and $218 more per semester in tuition next fall under a proposal just approved. In addition, special fees that were due to sunset will continue.

The Regents issued a preemptive press release already today that the tuition hike represents “the smallest tuition increase in a decade – 2.5 percent.”

According to the statement from the Regents:

The action taken by the Board of Regents on tuition today is possible in part due to Gov. Nathan Deal recommending and the General Assembly agreeing to full funding of the formula for the University System of Georgia. By doing so, the regents were provided with a strong financial base upon which to set current tuition policy in …

Continue reading Unless their summer job is selling a kidney, most students can’t earn enough to pay for college »

Less HOPE for those who contribute larger share of their income to the lottery

Communities most likely to buy lottery tickets get the least return from HOPE.  (AJC file)

Communities that buy lottery tickets at a high rate get the least return from HOPE, according to a new study. (AJC file)

Today’s guest entry is by Taifa S. Butler, deputy director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit providing research and analysis of the state budget and impact of policy decisions.

The institute released a report today on the HOPE Scholarship. The report — “HOPE for Whom: For Some it Doesn’t Pay to Play the Georgia Lottery” — outlines a few of HOPE’s shortcomings and builds a case for the necessity of HOPE reform. Read it here.

By Taifa S. Butler

Georgia’s commitment to graduate 250,000 more college students by 2020 is a worthy goal — and a necessary one if the state wants to remain competitive in an economy that increasingly requires knowledgeable, highly skilled workers.

Ensuring that Georgians can afford to attend universities and technical colleges is a critical component of this effort. Financial hardship is the No. 1 …

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As state cuts its college investment, campuses turn to students. Is there a breaking point?

The state is investing less and less in college educations. (AJC/file photo)

The state is investing less and less in college educations. (AJC/file photo)

The Sunday AJC contains several great education stories, some of which will not appear online as the stories are subscriber only. One of the Sunday stories that is online delves into the rising costs of public colleges and the concomitant rising student debt.

This is the line that I suspect will provoke the most debate: A decade ago, the state paid 75 percent of the cost of educating a student. Today it covers 54 percent, with students and their parents picking up most of the rest.

The retort that I expect is that students and parents should be responsible for all the costs, and that it shouldn’t fall to the state to pay the bills for students.

But state governments have long taken the position that underwriting college educations is a potent investment and a proven route to a stronger economy. A better educated workforce attracts jobs and leads to a higher tax base, lower health costs, less crime …

Continue reading As state cuts its college investment, campuses turn to students. Is there a breaking point? »

Tech leaders lend a hand to undocumented students who dream of college

At a rally in support of the Dream Act at Georgia State, police order students to move. Six students were arrested at the August protest. (mmartinez@mundohispanico.com )

At a Georgia State rally in support of the Dream Act, police order students to move. Six students were arrested at the August protest. (M. Martinez/mundohispanico)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “titans” of Silicon Valley are coming to the aid of undocumented students who want to attend college in the United States, a dream that is being derailed by state legislatures intent on limiting access to their public colleges, including those in Georgia.

On Monday, the state Senate approved a bill that would bar illegal immigrants from attending all of Georgia’s 60 public colleges, the 35 colleges in the University System of Georgia and the 25 in Technical College System of Georgia.

If Senate Bill 458 becomes law, Georgia would join Alabama and South Carolina in barring undocumented students from its public college classrooms.

According to the AJC, Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, said his bill guarantees that taxpayer-supported colleges only serve citizens and …

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HOPE redesign benefits affluent Atlanta area grads. Should we give the most to those who have the most?

(AJC/file photo)

All of the 15 high schools graduating the most Zell Miller scholars are within about 45 miles of Atlanta.(AJC/file photo)

The day is still early, but I am already getting e-mails from folks about today’s AJC analysis of the new Zell Miller Scholarships created by Gov. Nathan Deal last year when he retooled HOPE.

The new scholarship — which only goes to college students who had high marks and high SAT scores in high school“favors those students who live in Atlanta’s affluent suburbs,” according to the AJC analysis. (The paper relied on Open Record requests to get the data)

The AJC reports:

● Schools in the five most populous metro Atlanta counties — Cobb, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton and Gwinnett — graduated almost half of the students eligible for the Zell Miller award. The proportion tipped beyond when a smaller metro county, Forsyth, was added, even though those six counties account for just one-third of the state’s high school seniors.

● Metro Atlanta students from …

Continue reading HOPE redesign benefits affluent Atlanta area grads. Should we give the most to those who have the most? »

Deal unveils a new needs-based scholarship but it has limited REACH

The governor keeps rolling out new scholarships with catchy names. In addition to the Zell Miller Scholarship, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the launch of a new needs-based college scholarship program, the REACH Scholarship (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen).

The reach of REACH won’t be too extensive to start with as the scholarship will be a pilot program in three counties and will be funded by private donations. Students will receive $2,500 a year for use at Georgia private and public colleges.

Still, it’s a help for the college students who qualify, and answers critics who contend that Georgia has shortchanged needy students.

Here is the press release on REACH:

At Georgia Tech, Deal kicked off an aggressive fund-raising campaign by announcing the REACH Scholarship’s first corporate sponsor, AT&T, which donated $250,000.

“The REACH Scholarship continues our state’s ongoing commitment to providing access to higher education for all Georgians, regardless of …

Continue reading Deal unveils a new needs-based scholarship but it has limited REACH »