Archive for the ‘HOPE Scholarship’ Category

GOP: Senate Democrats have a plan for HOPE. It’s called bankruptcy

The governor’s office disagreed with State. Sen. Jason Carter’s HOPE piece last week. Here is a response written by state Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, who chairs the House Higher Education. (If you can, read the Carter piece as this was written in response to it.)

By Carl Rogers

When researchers say that Americans are falling behind on math skills, we can assume they must have tested Georgia’s state Senate Democrats.

A year late to the party, Senate Democrats have discovered that Lottery revenue can no longer cover the full scholarship that HOPE once offered to all students with at least a B average.

“According to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, by 2016 – in just four years – HOPE will pay for less than half the cost of college,” Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, wrote in the AJC last week. So with Senate Democrats worried about the state of HOPE in four years, they have presented a curious solution: Spend loads more money now.

It’s difficult to even respond to such a …

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State Sen. Carter: Reinstitute cap on HOPE and base it on available lottery funds each year

State Sen. Jason Carter is sponsoring legislation to restore an income cap for HOPE that would be predicated on available lottery funds. (Special))

State Sen. Jason Carter is sponsoring legislation to restore an income cap for HOPE that would be predicated on available lottery funds.

Jason Carter, D-Atlanta, is the state senator from the 42nd District, representing DeKalb. Carter is sponsoring legislation to restore an income cap on HOPE recipients, although his cap is higher than the one that Gov. Zell Miller put in place when he created HOPE.

In 1993, HOPE was limited to students from families earning less than $66,000 a year. The cap was raised to $100,000 in 1994. A year later, flush with lottery revenues, the state eliminated any cap on HOPE.

However, with the lottery failing to keep pace with the rising costs of HOPE, there is now discussion of restoring an income cap.  I asked Sen. Carter to write an op-ed piece for the Monday AJC about his legislation. Here is a preview for blog readers:

By state Sen. Jason Carter

Last year, Governor Nathan Deal made his reform of the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship programs …

Continue reading State Sen. Carter: Reinstitute cap on HOPE and base it on available lottery funds each year »

Proposed HOPE changes: Income cap of $140,000 on eligible families, eliminate SAT for full HOPE

Efforts are under way by Democratic legislators to tweak the beleaguered HOPE Scholarship again this year, including a proposal to restore an income cap on students eligible for the merit-based aid.

HOPE began with an income cap, but it was abandoned over time, and there will be great resistance to restoring it, even if the cap is as high as $140,000. (It will be noted in debate that such a high income cap will mean that most of the state’s students will qualify.)

The AJC has a news story on the proposed changes. (If you are around today, the state House and Senate higher education committees scheduled a joint meeting at 3 p.m. to discuss HOPE and the impact of last year’s reform. Come early as it will be packed.)

Here are the bills:

Senate Bill 336 would reinstate a cap on family income for students to be eligible for HOPE, starting at $140,000 per family. A cap existed when the program began, but was quickly lifted after the lottery proved financially successful.

Senate …

Continue reading Proposed HOPE changes: Income cap of $140,000 on eligible families, eliminate SAT for full HOPE »

Most kids could get less HOPE so a few can get more. Seems unfair to me.

The celebrating might  be less once high school grads see their HOPE amounts. (AJC/file photo)

The celebrating might be less once high school grads see their HOPE amounts. (AJC/file photo)

The luster of a HOPE Scholarship — once a full tuition ride to public colleges for Georgia high school graduates with a B average — may dim a bit more this year.

To recap how we came to this depressing situation: Faced with a money crunch, Gov. Nathan Deal last year reduced HOPE for all but top high school students, those who graduated with a 3.7 or higher GPA  combined with a minimum score of 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 composite score on the ACT.

And he dubbed that new elite scholarship the  Zell Miller Scholarship.

It turns out that more kids qualified for the Zell Miller Scholarship than had been expected, so the regular HOPE Scholars — which I call HOPE Lite –  could see their financial awards shrink even further than predicted over the next several years.

In stark terms, to fully fund the Miller-level scholars, the state could end up …

Continue reading Most kids could get less HOPE so a few can get more. Seems unfair to me. »

HOPE Scholarship could shrink even more in 2014 as lottery funds fail to meet demand

Yikes. The AJC is reporting possible deeper cuts to HOPE starting with the fall semester in 2014. While HOPE once covered all tuition costs and some books and fees, it now covers 80 to 90 percent of tuition and no books and fees.

As I said in my first blogs about HOPE Lite last year: Start doubling up on those college savings as HOPE may eventually only cover the gas to Athens.

Earlier today, Tim Connell, president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, gave legislators a grim outlook.  To prevent further erosion of HOPE in 2014,  Connell said the state would need an additional $107 million for the 2014 fiscal year.

According to the AJC:

The gap is expected to increase to $163 million by 2016, Connell told a joint economic development committee of the Legislature on Monday.  Lottery revenue is projected to remain flat, and more students are expected to be entering colleges and be eligible for awards through HOPE.

Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers overhauled the popular …

Continue reading HOPE Scholarship could shrink even more in 2014 as lottery funds fail to meet demand »

UGA in top 10 list of best values among public colleges

UGA is among the top 10 best values in public education, according to a new survey.  (AJC file)
UGA is among the top 10 best values in public education, according to a new survey. (AJC file)

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance released its annual 100 Best Values in Public Colleges list today based on outstanding education and economic value and awarded the University of Georgia the No. 6 spot.

Georgia Tech earned the 31st spot on the list.

For the 11th year in a row, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took first place. The rest of the top five in order are the University of Florida, the University of Virginia,  the College of William and Mary and the New College of Florida.

North Georgia College and State University landed in 88th place.

According to a release on the Kiplinger’s list:

The total cost of private colleges has recently averaged almost $39,000 a year, more than twice the average annual in-state sticker price–roughly $17,000–at public schools. A third of the public schools on Kiplinger’s top-100 list charge about the same as or less than that …

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Gov. Deal to unveil need-based aid plan, but it won’t help current students in college

You can’t say Nathan Deal doesn’t listen to his critics.

Apparently stung by all the laments from cash-strapped families affected by the reductions to the HOPE program, the governor has a new idea, but it will take years to culminate. The program would use private funds to provide need-based college aid to worthy and qualified students identified in middle school.

I wasn’t sure exactly what the program entailed so I asked the reporter, higher ed writer Laura Diamond, to explain a bit more: “It will be something that will happen for current middle school students once they get to college. The idea is students will be identified in middle school and then — provided they maintain decent grades and stay out of trouble–  they’ll get college scholarships.”

Laura said she had more questions but the governor’s rep, Erin Hames, declined to elaborate until the official news release next month. The biggest question is the source of enough private funding to power a statewide program …

Continue reading Gov. Deal to unveil need-based aid plan, but it won’t help current students in college »

Applying to colleges: Seeking counsel when there are too few counselors

Many schools have too few counselors, which leaves some kids on their own in applying to colleges. (AP Images.)

Many high schools have too few counselors, which leaves some kids on their own in applying to colleges. (AP Images.)

One of my favorite quotes in the new book “College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step” comes from Stanford University School of Education senior lecturer Denise Clark Pope on the issue of over-scheduled teens:

“Imagine if Steve Jobs had no time to tinker in his garage because he had to go piano lessons and SAT prep class and art class and was on the travel baseball team that had practice five times a week and away games on weekends.”

Similar common-sense advice fills the pages of “College Admission,” co-written by former Stanford admissions dean Robin Mamlet and journalist Christine VanDeVelde with contributions from 50 admissions deans.

Like most guides, the book assures students that they will get through the admissions arms race and find a campus that suits them.

Of course, the reassurances are belied by the number of thick …

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Smyrna state rep: We need to throw HOPE a financial life line to keep kids going to college

Will we have fewer colleges students -- and grads --  as a result of cuts to HOPE?  (AJC/file photo)

Will we have fewer colleges students — and grads — as a result of cuts to HOPE? (AJC/file photo)

An AJC news story this morning notes a slowdown in enrollment at the state’s public campuses, reporting that while the University System of Georgia enrolled a record number of students this fall, more than 318,000, the figure is only a 2.1 percent increase from fall 2010, the system’s smallest increase since 2005.

The details in the story will be used to frame the upcoming HOPE debate in the Legislature. You can see one side of that argument below in the essay by Stacey Evans, a legislator from Smyrna.

The story states:

Also a dozen campuses are teaching fewer students. The colleges are scattered across the state and they tend to enroll more low-income students who are more likely to struggle to pay for college. System leaders predicted and welcomed a slowdown, saying it would make the annual influx of new students easier to manage. The system has gained about 48,000 students …

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Average Georgia college student graduates $19,000 in debt. Worth it?

Many Georgia students are graduating to debt. (AJC/file photo)

Many Georgia students are graduating to debt. (AJC/file photo)

This is one of the few studies on college debt that takes it down to a localized level. A report by the Project on Student Debt found that Georgia’s class of 2010 college graduates owed an average of nearly $19,000 in loans.

For those of you wondering why students end up with that much debt in light of the HOPE Scholarship, remember that room and board and fees are not covered, and those annual costs can easily exceed $10,000.

I still say the evidence tips in favor of a college degree, although I know many of you disagree. Granted, the job market is tough now, and half of recent college grads are reportedly living back at home with mom and dad. But a degree is still an asset in the long-term, according to most studies on lifetime earning power.

Georgia ranked No. 44 in the state-by-state list of debt owed. Graduates here face less debt after college than their peers nationwide, which may be a result of the generous …

Continue reading Average Georgia college student graduates $19,000 in debt. Worth it? »