Archive for the ‘Financial aid’ Category

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 …

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

Even the “best” schools didn’t prepare him for college, but he refused to give up

A Georgetown University freshman has a compelling essay in the Washington Post on how poorly his schools, among Washington’s finest, did not prepare him for the demands of a highly selective college.

Darryl Robinson attended the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, a well regarded prep school in the District where getting accepted to a college or university is a prerequisite for graduation. But Darryl says he still found a gap between what he could do and what his better-prepared classmates could do. He explains that his high school teachers did not push him “to think past a basic level, to apply concepts, to move beyond memorizing facts and figures.”

But Darryl understands the struggle that his teachers and now his Georgetown professors faced — playing catch-up with students who arrive in their classes ill prepared to handle the workload.

Darryl did not give up, crediting twice-weekly tutoring and regular sessions with his professors with helping him …

Continue reading Even the “best” schools didn’t prepare him for college, but he refused to give up »

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. …

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

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? »

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 …

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 …

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

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 …

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

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 »

Nearly nine out of 10 Zell Miller Scholars attend UGA or Tech

If you want to find a Zell Miller Scholar, go to UGA or Tech.  (AJC file)

If you want to find a Zell Miller Scholar, go to UGA or Tech. (AJC file)

Interesting data out of today’s joint House and Senate hearing on the shrinking HOPE Scholarship.

The only speaker was Timothy A. Connell, president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which manages HOPE. The Georgia Lottery funds HOPE and pre-k.

With lottery revenues failing to keep pace with rising tuition and growing demand, Gov. Nathan Deal last year made drastic and controversial changes to HOPE, and those changes were retrofitted to students already in college.

For most recipients, HOPE tuition payments fell 10 to 15 percent. The payments could fluctuate each year based on how much money the lottery raises and how much students must also pay for mandatory fees.

Only one group of 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 –  earn the assurance of full tuition …

Continue reading Nearly nine out of 10 Zell Miller Scholars attend UGA or Tech »

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 »