Archive for the ‘Financial aid’ Category

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 …

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Should we pay college athletes? If so, how much?



Should college athletes earn a salary? ((AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Should college athletes earn a salary? (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Noted financial writer Joe Nocera has a compelling piece in The New York Times recommending that colleges pay athletes. It is a lengthy piece worth reading.

My older brother played college basketball, and I saw firsthand the challenges of balancing tournaments at Madison Square Garden with schoolwork. He never slept.

My family has been stuck in small airports where female sports teams were also awaiting delayed flights. One was the University of Virginia golf team, and the other was the University of Florida soccer team.

In both cases, we were impressed to see these athletes sitting on the floor reading, working on term papers and doing math. I pointed out to my kids that college athletes aren’t off the hook for their schoolwork just because they have to fly to a game. We ended up chatting with a Florida soccer player who told us that she also held a part-time job in addition to soccer and a prelaw major. …

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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 …

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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 …

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Good advice on college for teens: Your dream campus may change. Apply to more safety schools.

I get almost daily e-mails about new college-focused web sites launched by industrious and creative young entrepreneurs. HerCampus.com is one of them. Started by three ambitious young women from Harvard, the site is aimed at college and high school students and offers practical advice on admissions and adjustments to college.

It has a lot of advice on the social aspects of college — “A Freshman Girl’s Guide to Frat Parties” — and what to wear –  “20 Ways to Wear a Plain White T.”

But I thought this list of “Ten Things No One Told You About The College Application Process,” reminiscent of the advice I shared here a few weeks ago from the author of a well-known college guide, was useful to share with teens. I am not sure it’s true that no one has ever told students these 10 things, but they are worth repeating.

So here is the list — edited a bit –  from Her Campus:

10 – The application process can put a strain on friendships and relationships. Even though you and your best …

Continue reading Good advice on college for teens: Your dream campus may change. Apply to more safety schools. »

College costs: Debt or investment? Get into the best college you can afford?

A reader says a good college provides more than a good education. It upgrades your life and your social circle. (Dean Rohrer art)

A reader says a good college provides more than a good education. It upgrades your life and your social circle. (Dean Rohrer art)

Today, the AJC has a story reporting that the cost of a full credit load has passed $8,000, an all-time high. The story says the average list price for a state school now runs more than $17,000 a year, according to the twin annual reports on college costs and student aid published Wednesday by the College Board.

Earlier, the AJC reported hat student debt now exceeds credit card debt.  With my older two children at colleges that rank among the nation’s costliest, I worry about the debt that they will carry. But I also understand that college costs can be viewed as a debt or as an investment.

A reader sent me this note, which I thought provided great food for thought on this topic. Most of us evaluate a college’s  value based on the classes, but the reader notes that better colleges place you in better milieus and expose you to a brighter class …

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American Ivies become “safety” colleges for India’s best and brightest

Interesting New York Times story today on top American universities becoming the “safety” schools for bright and ambitious high school graduates  from India who cannot win one of the limited spots in the handful of elite colleges there. The story says U.S. Ivies, including Brown, are courting students, even going so far as to open offices in New Delhi.

In reference to our earlier blog today on STEM jobs going unfilled, the story also notes that students in India are encouraged to go into economics, commerce, engineering and medicine because English, history and language majors are not as prestigious and have fewer job options.  “If somebody majors in English here, it’s like, ‘O.K., she’ll get married,’ ” said Ms. Sachdeva, who is attending the University of Chicago this fall and is planning to major in economics with a minor in creative writing.

Here is an excerpt from the Times piece, but try to read the entire story:

Moulshri Mohan was an excellent student at …

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Funding Georgia public colleges not only on how many students start, but how many finish

Should we fund colleges not only on how many kids enroll, but how many graduate? (AJC/file photo)

Should we fund colleges not only on how many kids enroll, but how many graduate? (AJC/file photo)

We discussed the issue of linking college funding to completion rates a while back after I saw a presentation on the Tennessee higher ed reform plan that uses completion as a funding criteria for its public campuses.

Now, Gov. Nathan Deal wants to bring that strategy to Georgia in hopes of boosting the attention colleges pay to helping students finish.

Held to that new standard, I suspect that colleges will start echoing the complaint of high schools: They can’t be held responsible for individual choices or failings of students and that the students at Georgia Tech start college at a more advanced level than the students at Clayton State and gaps in grad rates reflect those different starting points.

According to the AJC:

Deal is in the final process of selecting members to serve on a commission that will recommend changes that would allow Georgia to join a growing number of …

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