Archive for the ‘Financial aid’ Category

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 …

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President of Agnes Scott and college trustee: Cutting aid to private college students will cost more than it saves

Here is a guest column on the planned cut to tuition assistance given by the state to Georgia students who attend private in-state colleges. The authors are Beth Holder, a trustee and alumna of Agnes Scott College, and Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott.

According to the AJC:

House budget writers reduced the  Tuition Equalization Grant — money paid to all private college students — from $700 to $500. The subsidy program has been around for about 40 years and is meant to help private college students pay tuition.

The $6 million saved by reducing the grant would be plowed into the Technical College System of Georgia. Deal proposed a $24 million cut in technical college funding because of an enrollment drop at the schools. Technical colleges, like University System of Georgia schools, are funded largely based on enrollment.

The cut has alarmed private colleges, which contend that the money is often a factor in a student’s ability to enroll.

By Beth Holder and …

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Feds release College Scorecard announced by President Obama during State of the Union address

As promised by President Obama last night, here is the info on and link to the new federal College Scorecard.

The easy-to-use site provides basic information — the tuition costs, the grad rate,  average loan amount, repayment rate and some employment information.

From the U.S. DOE:

Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, today the U.S. Department of Education released an interactive College Scorecard, which provides students and families the critical information they need to make smart decisions about where to enroll for higher education.

The College Scorecard – as part of President Obama’s continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality – highlights key indicators about the cost and value of institutions across the country to help students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and is consistent with their educational and career goals.

“Through tax credits, grants and better loans, …

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Emory president introduces new provost and explains why it’s wiser to be in the online pack rather than leading it



Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)
Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)

Emory President James Wagner visited the AJC on Tuesday to introduce new provost Claire E. Sterk. Among the topics on the table: Emory’s ventures into the online world.

Emory is participating in Coursera, a consortium of universities offering free MOOCs or massive open online course.  But closer to home, it’s launching Semester Online, which Sterk and Wagner described as “the modern-day version of a semester abroad.”

Launching in a year, Semester Online will offer far smaller classes than MOOCs and likely be limited to students from Emory and other top-tier schools, such as Duke, Northwestern and Tufts. Undergrads will earn credits for their courses, which is not the case with the free MOOCs.  Semester Online will cover the same information and be taught by the same faculty at the brick-and-mortar colleges.

And students will pay the same tuition, which surprised me. Isn’t lower costs one of the chief selling …

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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? »

College students post lower grades when parents pay more toward their educations

Less can add up to more, at least in terms on parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

Less can add up to more, at least in terms of parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

I had a conversation Monday night with a friend who, along with paying tuition, provided her daughter with $1,300 a month for living expenses in college. That money went to rent, meals and extras.

I felt Scrooge-like as I only gave my two older children $400 a month to cover rent once they left the college dorms and moved into shared off-campus rental apartments where they were responsible for their meals.

I didn’t pay anything else toward their related living expenses. My kids held part-time jobs so I assumed they could cover their own groceries. (One worked in a restaurant and ate there a lot, while the other made a lot of Ramen noodles, They  both graduated college in less than four years, probably because they were starving. )

Turns out that my miserly ways could have had some value.

There is a fascinating new study in the American …

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Spelman ends sports program to devote funds to overall campus fitness. What do you think?

We have frequently discussed whether k-12 schools should maintain competitive sports programs, citing other countries where athletic teams are not fielded by schools but by community groups. The costs of school-based sports programs have become a factor now when every penny counts.

But we have not looked at college sports.  The AJC reports that Spelman, a noted black women’s college in Atlanta, announced it would use the nearly $1 million that had been dedicated to its intercollegiate sports program, serving only 4 percent of students, for a campus-wide health and fitness program benefiting all 2,100

According to AJC.com:

“When I was looking at the decision, it wasn’t being driven by the cost as much as the benefit. With $1 million, 80 student-athletes are benefiting,” said Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman’s president. “Or should we invest in a wellness program that would touch every student’s life?”

Spelman’s decision won’t influence the Georgias and Ohio States of the …

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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 …

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The arms race for rankings: Emory says student test data inflated for more than a decade

Update Friday evening: AJC reporter Laura Diamond is working on a story for Sunday on Emory and the rankings misinformation. If you are a parent, student or graduate and would be willing to talk with her, please call her at 404-526-7257 or email her. Thanks.

Emory’s announcement today that employees inflated student data to push the university up in the college rankings will spur a renewed debate on the arms race to dominate the “best” lists.

Emory President Jim Wagner said today that Emory has intentionally misreported data about its students to groups that rank colleges for more than a decade.

Emory is not the first college to acknowledge that student academic profiles were tweaked to enhance standings. The New York Times earlier this year reported several schools had acknowledged gaming the system. Iona College in New York admitted lying about test scores, graduation rates, freshman retention, student-faculty ratio and acceptance rates.

The Times reported that “Baylor …

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Scathing report on for-profit colleges and their $32 billion in tax dollars

The for-profit colleges are taking billions in tax dollars with little to show for it, according to a report that will be issued today from a U.S. Senate committee.

Despite $32 billion in federal student aid to the colleges, most of the students never earn a degree, indicating that taxpayers are being saddled with a losing investment. However, the for-profits colleges don’t fail everyone, least of all their executives  — the CEOs of the colleges were paid an average of $7.3 million, according to the report.

The scathing report states that more than 80 percent of the for-profit college revenues comes from taxpayers. Because of its larger and larger claim on tax dollars, the for-profit college industry has come under greater scrutiny. Latest numbers show that the for-profits enroll 13 percent of the nation’s college students. Yet, those students represent nearly half of all the defaults on college loans.

And government loans are the oil that keeps the for-profit college …

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