With money short, time to honor HOPE’s original intent

Twenty years ago this week, the Georgia Legislature gave its approval to the novel idea of a state-run lottery with all proceeds earmarked to support education. A few months later, after voters gave the proposal their own seal of approval, Georgia’s groundbreaking and wildly successful HOPE scholarship program became reality.

Today, however, the program faces significant trouble. Lottery proceeds have flat-lined, while the two programs it supports — subsidized pre-kindergarten and free tuition for good students at state colleges and universities — have become much more costly. By fiscal 2012, the lottery is projected to raise $883 million, while expenses are expected to hit $1.2 billion.

Clearly, something has to give, and the decision won’t be easy. These are high-profile and popular programs, and any cuts that are made will be felt not by bureaucrats but directly by voters.

So let’s go back to the basics: Why were these programs created in the first place? What did Gov. Zell Miller, the leading proponent of lottery-funded education programs, have in mind? What promises were made to the people of Georgia when they cast their votes in favor of the then-controversial idea?

The goal of the college scholarship program was straightforward. As Miller proudly pointed out in 1994, “In other states, the doors of college opportunity are being closed. The cost of college has increased so much that a college degree is out of reach for the families of many middle-class students. But not in Georgia.”

The goal of the pre-k program was similar: Get more Georgia youngsters ready for kindergarten. Repeated studies of pre-k programs have shown that they make a significant difference in the performance of students, with a particular impact on children from lower-income and minority households.

So how do we honor those goals of greater access while bringing expenses back into line with revenues? The best answer, inevitably, involves some sort of means testing.

For more affluent Georgia families, the availability of HOPE does not determine whether their children will go to college. It is a nice financial benefit and a reward for hard work, but it is not a necessity. In fact, as the HOPE program was originally designed, only students from households with incomes of $100,000 or less were eligible for scholarships. (That would be about $150,000 in today’s dollars, or roughly three times the median household income in Georgia.) That limit was dropped once the program began generating more money than expected.

However, rather than impose a hard income cap, as the original plan did, it would be more fair and practical to save money by instituting a sliding scale, with HOPE support diminishing as income rises. Depending how the numbers work out, it might even be possible to guarantee a minimum HOPE benefit for even for the most affluent students, as a reward for academic achievement.

The same approach should be taken with lottery-subsidized, pre-kindergarten programs, which already have a waiting list of 10,000 children.

Today, most children of affluent Georgia families would be attending pre-k programs regardless of the state subsidy, because their parents understand the importance of that investment and because they have the resources to make it happen. The state subsidy is a nice little perk, but not a requirement for enrollment.

For a lot of other families, that’s not the case. Without the subsidy, pre-k is not an option. And those are typically families whose children would benefit most from the program. By means-testing the subsidy, again perhaps using a sliding scale, state leaders could stretch available resources and honor the original intent of the program.

Politically, that might be a hard sell. Both the HOPE scholarship and free pre-k have become popular entitlement programs for the middle and upper classes, funded by lottery tickets bought disproportionately by lower-income Georgians.

But in an era of constrained resources, it makes sense to apply those resources where they will make the most difference. If the aim is to do what’s best for Georgia, rather than to appeal to particular constituencies, state leaders should revamp both the HOPE and pre-k programs to honor their original goal, which was to broaden access to educational opportunity.

– Jay Bookman

111 comments Add your comment

Keep up the good fight!

February 4th, 2011
7:47 am

Means testing seems logical…..but wait, I’m sure that we’ll hear how the middle and upper classes need these entitlements. Whether they can be stated logically, doubtful.

Normal

February 4th, 2011
7:55 am

I put this downstairs but it’s sadly funny enough to be here too…

http://news.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/02/03/political-cartoon-made-in-the-u-s-of-a/

as for Hope, I say keep a hard income cap on it. The rich get tax cuts so why should they not have to pay for their kids education. They certainly can afford it.

Joel Edge

February 4th, 2011
7:57 am

“have become popular entitlement programs”
That pretty much says it all. Everyone’s concern for degrees is good in an economy that actually generates jobs and pays a decent wage. A degree these days and in this economy means nothing.

Peadawg

February 4th, 2011
8:06 am

” That limit was dropped once the program began generating more money than expected.” – Which should probably be put back in place($150,000 or under are eligible). Also kids should only be eligible for HOPE AFTER their first 30 hours(freshmen year).

Misty Fyed

February 4th, 2011
8:09 am

I can’t believe the nerve of those evil rich people. Can you imagine they actually believe they should get some type of return from the government they pay for?

On a different note: I don’t think I know very many affluent college students. Paying for school is a burden no matter what your parents make.

stands for decibels

February 4th, 2011
8:10 am

However, rather than impose a hard income cap, as the original plan did, it would be more fair and practical to save money by instituting a sliding scale, with HOPE support diminishing as income rises. Depending how the numbers work out, it might even be possible to guarantee a minimum HOPE benefit for even for the most affluent students, as a reward for academic achievement.

If they do that and still balance the HOPE budget, it sounds like a no brainer.

Homie's Crib-talk

February 4th, 2011
8:10 am

Bookman’s prose is so grand! He uses hundred of words when 25 or less would have done.

radiowxman

February 4th, 2011
8:13 am

Shockingly (sarcasm detected, I hope), a government entitlement program has grown too much.

Almost as shockingly, high school grade point averages have climbed after HOPE has been enacted.

So let’s do something crazy — no, nothing like eliminating HOPE entirely — if you even think about rescinding an entitlement program, you’re racist.

This is also probably racist, but how about we perhaps tie HOPE scholarship more directly to the SAT or ACT score and rely less on GPA? By using a nonpartisan (relatively speaking) body, we eliminate the pressure teachers and administrators have to inflate grades.

We also better ensure that students are likely more qualified to be in college in the first place.

Yes, standardized tests are not the end all, be all. But we’ve seen that GPA isn’t the magic bullet either.

As for those who can’t pass a standardized test? That’s what 2-year colleges, Vo-Techs and other types of school are for. Heck, those students will probably make more money than a liberal arts college grad anyway.

stands for decibels

February 4th, 2011
8:13 am

Homie @ 8.10, blogger.com is ready when you are.

SOUTHERN ATL

February 4th, 2011
8:22 am

In fact, as the HOPE program was originally designed, only students from households with incomes of $100,000 or less were eligible for scholarships. (That would be about $150,000 in today’s dollars, or roughly three times the median household income in Georgia.)

If the program is going to survive, it would be a good idea to revamp it and go with the original plan. I wonder how many rich or upper class people actually play the lottery. Are there any statistics on the different classes of people that play on a regular basis?

@@

February 4th, 2011
8:22 am

I’d like to see the bulk of the money go into early education…getting ahead in the game rather than behind it. Make the criteria for qualifying stronger. “A” average, minimum AP exams passed, and minimum SAT. The kids have to want it to make it worthwhile. Simply being lower-income is not enough to qualify.

stands for decibels

February 4th, 2011
8:24 am

If the program is going to survive, it would be a good idea to revamp it and go with the original plan.

I prefer Jay’s idea of a sliding scale. The best way to see to it that a good program is killed, is to make sure that you cut out people who at present have buy-in. This way, those folks wouldn’t be cut out.

Joel Edge

February 4th, 2011
8:24 am

I guess before the discussion skews off into space, Jay. If there are 21 people sitting around and twenty have degrees in some form and unemployed. The 21st guy that has a job cleaning the bathrooms is doing better than the other twenty.
It’s tough to climb a ladder when there’s no base to set the ladder on.
Later

finn mccool

February 4th, 2011
8:25 am

Don’t take the rich mans subsidies. Heaven forbid they have to spend their own money on something.

One Nation Under educated

February 4th, 2011
8:27 am

Yeah, right when my kids are turning 4 and 3. Right on time, Wonderful.

Just remember, when the working man has nothing left, we will have nothing left to lose. Remember that.

President Hussein

February 4th, 2011
8:28 am

Aahhhh! And just exactly how many of these “high achieving students” from grade inflating public schools actually keep their HOPE after their frosh year????

Exactly….

carlosgvv

February 4th, 2011
8:29 am

It’s true State leaders should revamp these programs to honor the original goals. It’s also true the State we live in is Georgia. Need I say more?

Common Sense isn't very Common

February 4th, 2011
8:30 am

I would suggest all those people who voted against the lottery that funded the HOPE program(remember the bumper stickers) , but whose children benefitted from it repay that money to the fund.

Moderate Line

February 4th, 2011
8:30 am

I believe means testing would only diminish the support and popularity of the scholarship. It would be better to base the scholarship on merit and reduce the number of people qualified. Once something is means tested it becomes fodder for the right.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 4th, 2011
8:31 am

Well, I say get rid of Hope. The idea was good but it never worked out. We were suppose to get more educated kids out of it while charging the bill to Those People and other shiftless bums. But turns out our kids are dumber than ever. All we got from it is a bunch of educated idiots that can’t write, can’t think, can’t work, can’t spell. Heck, we could get that without spending a dime. We went from 40th to next to last in the country. The rathole we keep pouring money into never fills up. Best I can tell, we got the No. 1 Party Colledge in the nation but if we need smart people to do important jobs we need to bring them in from up north. Even our football programs have went to the dogs.

So there. Problem solved. Bring on the next topic and have a good Friday everybody. You’ll be glad to know I’m hauling and stocking up all the places so you can get sh_t-faced and trade weird music tonight.

@@

February 4th, 2011
8:31 am

Heck, those students will probably make more money than a liberal arts college grad anyway.

I know that’s true. The guy who came to repair my refrigerator (freezer) yesterday made $229.00 for 45 minutes worth of labor. The bill started out at $475.00 (parts+labor). After he and I put our heads together, we came up with an alternative solution. My daughter couldn’t resist taking a picture of us from behind. It hangs on the refrigerator with the caption…

“Two butts are better than one.”

C****d……U DA MAN!!!!

Call it like it is

February 4th, 2011
8:32 am

Jay, why don’t we try the novel approach of the schools cutting back?? The fees for colleges have grown 10 fold since the inception of the Hope grant. It is ridicules the amount today’s kids are being charged for a higher education. Just take the University of Kennesaw and look how it how grown. At least 6 new buildings, A new apartment complex, and they bought a 100 acres north of Town Center Mall. How? With Hope money, they charge for parking passes, ever if you don’t park there, student activity fees, even if your not involved, you get charged, your forced to buy so many lunches on campus. And what about the 300% markup on books? Why is the average book in the $100 range? It goes on and on, and I’m sure the rest of the schools are the same.

Have the schools cut back on their fees and lets see how that effects the Hope money

Mary Elizabeth

February 4th, 2011
8:34 am

“but how about we perhaps tie HOPE scholarship more directly to the SAT or ACT score and rely less on GPA”

As a former SAT/college prep teacher, I disagree.
——————–
“to broaden access to educational opportunity” – Well stated. This goal not only enhances lives, but saves the state revenue, in the long run.

The pre-k program, especially for those of lower-income, is fundamental to educational reform.

Mr. Levy

February 4th, 2011
8:43 am

Strangely enough I may have to agree with you for once Jay. Good column.

Moderate Line

February 4th, 2011
8:43 am

mmon Sense isn’t very Common

February 4th, 2011
8:30 am
I would suggest all those people who voted against the lottery that funded the HOPE program(remember the bumper stickers) , but whose children benefitted from it repay that money to the fund.
+++++++++++++++++
Think about this these people voted against their own self interest. They probably do not buy lottery tickets but yet they will benifit from the tickets. If it had not gone through they would not have received any benifit at all. I actually comend them for voting against their own self interest which is unuasal in this democracy.

Plus whose fault is it that the system rewards people who didn’t vote for the system. The state set it up not the people receiving the money. If the state came and gave you $10,000 would you turned them down. If you did you would be one of the few.

BlahBlahBlah

February 4th, 2011
8:50 am

No mention of how colleges have inflated tuition to take advantage of HOPE. No mention of how “extras” have been added to what is covered by HOPE over the years. No mention of rampant grade inflation at our public schools, which has caused skyrocketing levels of “remedial” education needs at colleges.

Nope. Can’t have any of that. The only answer is to means test it. Welcome to leftyland.

Normal

February 4th, 2011
8:50 am

Moderate Line

February 4th, 2011
8:52 am

Mary Elizabeth

February 4th, 2011
8:34 am
“but how about we perhaps tie HOPE scholarship more directly to the SAT or ACT score and rely less on GPA”

As a former SAT/college prep teacher, I disagree.
——————–
“to broaden access to educational opportunity” – Well stated. This goal not only enhances lives, but saves the state revenue, in the long run.

The pre-k program, especially for those of lower-income, is fundamental to educational reform.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I would disagree. Pre-K has little affect on eventually outcome of the sudent.

“he HHS study, which followed the students from 2002 through 2006, showed that before entering kindergarten, the children in the Head Start group did score higher academically in some areas than the non-Head Start group. But that gap virtually disappeared in less than two years, suggesting it’s time to explore other early education options to see whether they can provide a longer impact.”
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2010-07-13-editorial13_ST_N.htm

I think it would better to say a certain percentage from each high school would qualify for the scholarship or/and tighten the requirements for students to maintain the hope scholarship. Also, if there is a problem with not enough technical graduates such engineering target particular students with certain degrees.

ByteMe

February 4th, 2011
8:53 am

Considering our recent political silliness, what would James Madison or Alexander Hamilton have done?

WWJMD?

RB from Gwinnett

February 4th, 2011
8:54 am

Only a complete idiot could write this story and not mention the out of control increase in tuition the plan is paying for. Thats either pathetic “journalism” or intentional. Take your pick.

The Fallen

February 4th, 2011
8:54 am

Here we go again, “Becasue you made good choices and worked hard, unfortunately you make more than X now” so you don’t deserve help. Somebody mentioned means testing…I can get on board with that. If you can’t pass a skills test, then it is likely you won’t graduate with a degree. The world needs ditch diggers and hamburger flippers too. To that end, why not make the HOPE scholarship a loan repayable only if a)one’s grades slip below the minimum qualifier or b)one fails to graduate. That should take care of just about everything.

No silly financial baselines, no stupid income requirements. Put the burden on the student and not the family.

dw

February 4th, 2011
8:57 am

Jay,

Your last two paragraphs are interesting. The libs’ thoughts on entitlements and who pays for and appealling to particular constituencies is “two-sided”. It just depends which foot the shoe is on if libs like it or not.

bob from account temps

February 4th, 2011
8:58 am

hope is not an entitlement program in that it doesn’t rely on tax dollars taken from the unwilling. one idea for helping to float hope would require all state taxes collected from the players winning proceeds be sent back to the hope program instead of going into a general fund.

jm

February 4th, 2011
8:59 am

Jay, glad the issue was brought up. But disappointed you left a key issue out.

I’m fine with means testing, generally an ok idea. However, there wasn’t ANY mention of combining GPA with SAT scores. Grade inflation is rampant. Every kid just about qualifies now. A SCHOLARSHIP is supposed to be based on academic merit. Therefore, combining GPA with SAT using a new formula could be used and adjusted annually to help balance the HOPE budget in addition to your suggestion. Furthermore, it would ensure better use of HOPE dollars, rather than wasting college tuition on the 30% of the students that fall out after the first year, that probably belong in a trade school of some sort.

Why no mention of using a great, independent, available tool such as the SAT?

ByteMe

February 4th, 2011
8:59 am

Thats either pathetic “journalism” or intentional.

Only a complete idiot would confuse the writings of an opinion columnist with “journalism”.

Ozzy

February 4th, 2011
9:01 am

According to a report earlier this week on the WSB radio site, HOPE is statutorilly madated to get 35% of lottery proceeds. Last year according to the report it received 24% of the proceeds, and if it had been funded at the level in the legislation all along, it would now have a 2.8 Billion dollar surplus. Might be worth looking in to before we start gutting the program. Just what is the Lottery Corporation doing with the missing 11%??????? I bet I know.

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:03 am

BTW, this is starting to smell like BS data manipulation….

U.S. Jobless Rate Falls to 9%; Payrolls Rise 36,000

Unemployment down, but payrolls up, but are 120,000 jobs short of what is needed to keep the unemployment rate constant. BLS data should be renamed just BS data….

Normal

February 4th, 2011
9:04 am

average joe

February 4th, 2011
9:04 am

maybe the answer to all the problems would be to close all the schools. worst that could happen is we drop from 48 to 50.

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:07 am

There is no d-mn way payrolls dropped 0.4% (or 600,000 jobs) when we only added 36,000 jobs last month. WT_. Folks, the BLS is trying to engineer a re-election for Obama, that’s the only way to read this. Same thing last month too, huge drop in the rate with no jobs added.

Meanwhile U6 (a different unemployment measure) continues to increase (bad) and labor participation continues to go down (bad) also. This is total cr-p.

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=az99t6JORipE&pos=1
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm
http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=LNS11300000

Ozzy

February 4th, 2011
9:09 am

The problem with the GPA measurements is the difference in the schools. Is a 3.0 at Georgia Tech or UGA the same as a 3.0 at some of the other schools?

I don’t think so.

SOUTHERN ATL

February 4th, 2011
9:09 am

Jay

February 4th, 2011
9:10 am

Gee, jm, if they were going to go so far as to “fix” the unemployment rate, don’t you think they would have “fixed” those other numbers as well?

Do you really think the professional statisticians at the BLS wouldn’t raise a stink?

You’re too smart to buy into such nonsense.

ByteMe

February 4th, 2011
9:11 am

jm: the private payrolls number is ALWAYS initially wrong at inflection points in the economy, because they use a backward-looking birth-death adjustment and at inflection points, that look backward is not correct. You have to wait 3 months or so for the updates before you can rely on the number… and recently ALL the payroll number have been increased in subsequent updates.

Doggone/GA

February 4th, 2011
9:12 am

“There is no d-mn way payrolls dropped 0.4% (or 600,000 jobs) when we only added 36,000 jobs last month.”

Not “new jobs” but “NET new jobs”

md

February 4th, 2011
9:12 am

“time to honor HOPE’s original intent”

Like rewarding hard work………vs mediocre work as it is now. Most of the kids coming out with “B’s” can’t hold the Hope through the first year of college because they aren’t prepared……….artificially inflating grades in an effort to help in the short term is another long term disaster………folks will never learn.

Short term assistance is rarely a good long term solution.

And the wealth envy here is pitiful…………..many folks with more worked their butts off to get it, and folks here want then to pay more just because………talking about no morals…………..

Mary Elizabeth

February 4th, 2011
9:13 am

moderate line @ 8:52

“the children in the Head Start group did score higher academically in some areas than the non-Head Start group. But that gap virtually disappeared in less than two years, suggesting it’s time to explore other early education options to see whether they can provide a longer impact.”

—————————-

Having worked as an Instructional Lead Teacher, k-8, for a decade, there is no doubt in my mind that pre-k programs are fundamental to lower-income students meeting with success in school. (Your above words, taken from the study, confirm the initial success of the pre-k programs.)

The problem, as I observed as an educator, is not with the pre-k program, but with the fact that the elementary schools (as well as middle schools and high schools) do not address the correct instructional levels of each student as they advance through grade levels, and teach students at their individual rates of absorbing the curriculum – as they advance. Students are locked in to one-size-fits all grade level curriculum, and locked into having to absorb that blanket curriculum at one rate. Whereas, in fact, students are much more varied in instructional needs than instructional design presently allows.

In other words, the gains that had been made in the pre-k program were not the fault in the concept of the pre-k program, but in the design of the elementary curriculum and instructional plan to
keep adjusting instructional level, and rate of learning, to each student’s abilities at a given point in time.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 4th, 2011
9:14 am

Well, I’m with jm. They’re jimmying the numbers to make this illegal Kenyan look good and get him reelected. I won’t fall for that. We need a real American Conservative Republican in the White House. Not this librul, illegal, Socialist, anti-American, Black radical. I say we all take our pickups to D.C. and raise a big stink. Who’s with me?

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:15 am

Jay – I do think its unlikely they were manipulated. But the huge movements (in a country with 150mm workers) suggests people are drastically dropping out of the labor force (not good), or finding part time work or starting businesses (not bad, but not exactly good either).

I probably should have said something more like the unemployment rate statistic is complete garbage…. rather than the BLS is engineering an Obama re-election….

So toss the politics aside, the headline unemployment data they are publishing is becoming worthless. Which was my core point….

Define Rich

February 4th, 2011
9:15 am

What you are talking about from an economic perspective are two very different things:

1. Income caps for Pre-K actually makes a good deal of fiscal and economic sense. Of course this assumes some percentage of upper income children go to these programs. Perhaps it would be helpful if you actually HAD SOME PROOF this is the case. Looking at the Lottery funded programs in our area (there are 15) there is no way upper inome families are monopolizing or even taking these spots in large enough numbers to make a difference. These kids are in private school from the time they are 4.

2. Income cap and sliding scales for HOPE. The mantra of the left. Lower income families disproportionately buy tickets. Upper and middle income families disproportionately fund EVERY OTHER government service provided as well as subsidized health care. So should lower income families be required not to utilize those services? Ridiculous to even suggest. What has really happened to put the HOPE fund in distress? Tuition calculation at State Colleges and Univ. realized they had a captive revenue source in declining state appropriations and JACKED UP everything they could find plus created any number of new fees they coudl come up with and lobbied to have HOPE pay for it. Plus high schools are pressured to produce and “help” send people to college — so some percentage of people come out of GA High Schools (ALL HIGH SCHOOLS, even the “best”) who can’t even make a coherent sentence. It’s pitiful — grade inflation (even in college’s some suggest) is overrunning the system – period. I would wager at least half of HOPE students wouldn’t even pass an external proficiency exam in math or english/grammar. But yet off to school they go — oh, and here’s $10,000 a year to help you flunk out.

Fixing this thing isn’t about income levels or socio-economics. Until somebody figures out how to make potential HOPE students prove they are college ready – the system will collapse.

Ozzy

February 4th, 2011
9:17 am

Redneck

I say you’re comments and the political ones above have absolutely nothing to do with the blog topic and make you all look like you would never have gotten a HOPE scholarship to begin with.

Stay on topic or get lost.

Mary Elizabeth

February 4th, 2011
9:18 am

That should have been stated “In other words, the LOSS in the gains that had been made in the pre-k program. . .”

Doggone/GA

February 4th, 2011
9:19 am

“Stay on topic or get lost”

This is not YOUR blog. Jay sets the rules, not you.

SOUTHERN ATL

February 4th, 2011
9:19 am

There may be a more recent statistical document than the one that I have posted.

RB from Gwinnett

February 4th, 2011
9:19 am

“Only a complete idiot would confuse the writings of an opinion columnist with “journalism”.”

As long as Jay keeps calling himself a journalist, that’s the stanadard he’ll he held to. If he’ll post on here “I, Jay Bookman, am not a journalist”, I’ll stop berating him for being a lousy one. How ’bout it Jay?

Do us all a favor and post a graph of tuition increases over the last 10 years compared to inflation so your sheep can see what the real problem is here.

0311-0317-1811-1801

February 4th, 2011
9:21 am

Jay:

The original intent was for poor folks to provide scholarships for rich folk’s children ………… and that is exactly what has been happening.

Doggone/GA

February 4th, 2011
9:22 am

“If he’ll post on here “I, Jay Bookman, am not a journalist”, I’ll stop berating him for being a lousy one. How ’bout it Jay”

“Jay Bookman is a columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution”

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/about/

Ozzy

February 4th, 2011
9:22 am

And the topic of the blog is what Doggone/GA?

Jay

February 4th, 2011
9:22 am

Gee, I’ve been berated, RB?

Whatever shall I do?

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:23 am

Jay, still, on the face of it, it seems comical. We’ve “reduced” the unemployment rate by 0.4% in one month and added 36,000 jobs…. hilarious. I know the stats are contrived in two different manners (payrolls does a poor job capturing the whole picture). But the unemployment survey is also pretty crummy…. in the face of the other statistics heading in the wrong direction, the picture does not seem to be improving yet.

Although I’m hopeful it will soon…

Jay

February 4th, 2011
9:26 am

I wouldn’t argue with any of that, jm.

John S

February 4th, 2011
9:26 am

To me, the priority should be the Pre-K program which clearly has led to better prepared elementary school students.Giving a year party pass to college to students with an inflated B average has less return on investment when almost 50% do not retain it.

Unfortunately the Hope scholarship is much higher profile.

Road Scholar

February 4th, 2011
9:29 am

While the sliding scale based on parents income is interesting, as well as treating it as a loan to be dismissed if grades are maintained and graduation….in a set period of time, why not make it a “refund” program with the money being refunded after they maintain a 3.0 for their current course work? Why reward those who can’t meet the grades criteria BEFORE the grades are in? High Schools are inflating grades. Many students begin college with remedial classes. Why? They are unprepared because either schools have denied them what is needed, or that they are lazy. Hope shouldn’t apply to remedial studies.

Since our students are critical decisionmaking challenged these days ( I mean beyond Jersey shore, reality shows, etc.), let them come up with the plan beyond “Don’t cut my scholarship money”.

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:30 am

Sorry for the diversion. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Seems there are several levers to fix HOPE which our perennially gutless politicians are afraid to pull. Any bets on whether the legislature will actually do anything until it becomes an even greater fiscal problem?

TrickleDownStupid

February 4th, 2011
9:30 am

The original criteria should never have been changed and should be reinstated permanently.

Bob from account temps 8:58am post is an excellent idea.

md

February 4th, 2011
9:31 am

“Giving a year party pass to college to students”

Some understand the gravity of the situation, but many do not until it is too late. I have to say during my time there years ago, having to pay check by check from my pocket made a big difference vs those that were there on a “free” ride. That skin in the game adage is pretty spot on………….

jm

February 4th, 2011
9:35 am

John S – great point, SATs would help too though.

Road Scholar – agree with your points too, I don’t think your idea is bad. SATs would just be easier. A combination of all these ideas seems to make sense to me.

RB from Gwinnett

February 4th, 2011
9:38 am

Doggie, see Jay’s reply.

I rest my case!

Van Jones

February 4th, 2011
9:40 am

Heaven forbid someone actually work while they go to school. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Tucker

February 4th, 2011
9:41 am

HOPE was a scheme to get the poor and average income people of this state to pay for the cost of higher education for everyone. For the first 20 years it worked.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeri Henson Dies and Jay Bookman AJC, Gentle Spirit. Gentle Spirit said: With money short, time to honor HOPE’s original intent — and keep pre-K in a sensible way. http://bit.ly/e5tN6q @jaybookmanajc [...]

extremerightwing

February 4th, 2011
9:57 am

it’s simple….kids pay for the first year of college. if you pass with a 3.0 or better, you will be reimbursed. prove to us that you belong in college. remedial classes don’t count. if you’re taking these you shouldn’t be in college.

for every semester/quarter after that, if you maintain at least a 3.0 we’ll reimburse you 60%…3.1 to 3.49, 75%…3.5 and higher, 100%.

finish college in four years and we reimburse you 100%.

i say all this with three kids under the age of 10.

this way you’ve got skin in the game and an incentive to study.

it takes the grade inflation pressure away from high school teachers.

John Birch

February 4th, 2011
10:04 am

The intent was to keep Georgia’s best and brightest in
Georgia in the hope that would attract companies and create jobs, not necessarily to provide free college as another entitlement for the poor. While I’m not opposed to means testing, we already have that with Pell grants, that is, the rich may get Hope for tuition but they still have to come up with money for room and board, which is provided by federal Pell grants for the poor.

midtownguy

February 4th, 2011
10:06 am

As a childless, but significant, taxpayer I don’t really have a dog in this fight except to insist that HOPE live within its means however that is to be accomplished. I also understand, and someone correct me if I am wrong, that HOPE has not increased graduation rates among minorities and low income students, it has only increased attendance rates.

I was surprised to hear that HOPE covers not only tuition and fees but books also. It is my opinion that if you are not motivated enough to attend college to at least buy your own books, you don’t really need to be there. And remember that the poorest of the poor don’t need HOPE, they can get Pell Grants or Work Study.

Janice

February 4th, 2011
10:08 am

HOPE is CRAP. My family managed to get the five of us through college without the aid of some frigging subsidy. Granted, three of us went to private colleges (and the hand-out would have been less), but we managed. There were sacrifices, and we graduated and then went on to graduate school. Some people don’t need to be in college. Simple as that. And no, my family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. They valued education.

If people can’t pay for their kids’ college, there are plenty of other programs (loans, extra jobs, etc.) that can help make that dream a reality. If more people had to WORK for the basics and nicer things in life, I believe we’d have fewer kids (parents would have to support them and not an agency, etc.), higher standing in HS graduation rates and a better-off population because we wouldn’t have to waste so much money trying to educate and bring up to the MINIMUM level some of these adults & kids.

This country, our state and a lot of people are whacked out beyond belief. Not everyone should be in college; not everyone should procreate; and not everyone is entitled to anything they didn’t earn.

old teach

February 4th, 2011
10:08 am

The idea of HOPE students’ paying up front and being compensated after getting that 3.0 is a simple solution. But I personally feel that it would be better to treat HOPE as a scholarship as long as the student maintains that 3.0; when the average drops below that level, then HOPE reverts to a loan (which could be reinstated if the student reaches and maintains the 3.0 for two consecutive semesters). Here is a thumbnail summary on one view to save HOPE in the long run:
1-No payment for remedial classes.
2-Scholarship which reverts to a loan if average dips below 3.0.

Adam

February 4th, 2011
10:13 am

Sounds like a good plan. Which is exactly why your state’s current government will never go for it.

MannyT

February 4th, 2011
10:17 am

As Miller proudly pointed out in 1994, “In other states, the doors of college opportunity are being closed. The cost of college has increased so much that a college degree is out of reach for the families of many middle-class students. But not in Georgia.”

The student has the responsibility to do well in HS and get into a college. Once there, the student shuld do well enough to stay at the college and maintain the grades needed to keep the scholarship.

All the problems of grade inflation and high costs are not the fault of the student.

The program should only pay what it can afford.

Without getting into the biases in this debate, how about funding the HOPE scholarship based on percentage of class rank that the program can afford to pay.

If HOPE can afford to pay for 15% of the senior class, then the top 15% of each high school gets HOPE. This way, grade inflation at one school does not have an impact outside of that school.

The scholarship percentage would vary each year based on the projected amount of funds available.

Broke Tax Payer

February 4th, 2011
10:18 am

People just don’t get it. If you set up a government program it gets abused, plain and simple. All government programs are rife with corruption and are poorly administered. With our Social Sec. and Mediacare “funds” having been ransacked and the government ballooning our debt to astronomical levels, people still actually believe that giving money to the government to fix a problem is the answer. You people never learn. I would like to know of one thing the government administer well and within budget….and you certainly can’t say the military.

The problem with Hope is you have too many students wanting the entitelment and not enough people blowing their checks on scratchoffs to offset the cost. The mere fact that the government promotes gambling in the form of a lottery is scandalous in my opinion. It is theft from the folks who need their money the most and conincidently rely the most on government programs…..its a dysfunctional and incestuous relationship that needs to stop.

Bottom line is that Hope makes getting into college too easy, therefore driving up the costs. College is NOT for everybody and we should quit making a degree a prerequisite for a getting a decent job. The vast majority of students that graduate from college don’t utilize the upper level academics they are exposed to and that knowledge goes to waste. More people need REAL world education and less academic education. If we quit stuffing bodies into our colleges, demand and the price for going will go down and the REAL exceptional students who do want to pursue endeavors that require higher level learning will find college more affordable. Of course this will never happen because we as a people are too stupid to recognize how economics works.

MannyT

February 4th, 2011
10:19 am

Once there, the student should do well enough to stay at the college and maintain the grades needed to keep the scholarship.

Adam

February 4th, 2011
10:22 am

Broke Tax Payer: Your premise is wrong. It’s not the program that is the problem, it’s lack of revenue. In this case, the HOPE program has a REVENUE problem, NOT a spending problem. And that’s objective analysis.

catlady

February 4th, 2011
10:22 am

Sorry, Jay. Ain’t gonna happen. Political suicide. Middle class and wealthy folks vote more often than the poor.

Did you know there was a NEGATIVE income cap in the beginning? If you got Pell, you did not get HOPE! And it was discontinued YEARS after the upper cap was eliminated!

catlady

February 4th, 2011
10:24 am

Means testing also means more bureacracy.

JMoore

February 4th, 2011
10:26 am

Sure, minorities don’t pay for anything else–why shouldn’t they get a free college education as well?

Eric

February 4th, 2011
10:26 am

The simplest solution is to change the rules regarding keeping the scholarship. currently, students who lose HOPE can regain it the next year if they get their grades up. A lot of times, college students struggle during their freshman year because the party too much or don’t pay attention, but regain their focus as they get into later years. If students are prevented from regaining HOPE, you will eliminate a lot of students who already had their shot and blew it.

catlady

February 4th, 2011
10:29 am

midtownguy, you DO have a dog in this race. You subsidize each student at UGA over $10,000 per year. You see, while HOPE pays tuition, the tuition charged is only about a third of the cost of putting on the classes. So you should be interested in getting unprepared students out of college (and your pocket).

DW

February 4th, 2011
10:30 am

WELL PUT Broke Tax payer. Well put

catlady

February 4th, 2011
10:32 am

John Birch, HOW MUCH do you think a full PELL pays?!

md

February 4th, 2011
10:33 am

“In this case, the HOPE program has a REVENUE problem, NOT a spending problem.”

Has both…….revenue has gone down while expenses have gone up. $1000 for a semesters worth of books should be an indication……………

Deep Throat

February 4th, 2011
10:37 am

Just my observation, I don’t see Jay attacking anyone, more so, he is addressing an issue. I don’t see the normal verbal assassinations and name calling that this blog has grown into and I all so notice the absence of the group I see the most name calling coming from. Its refreshing to see a little civility.

C B

February 4th, 2011
10:41 am

I don’t think an income based cap is appropriate. There are too many factors to consider. Assume the family income is 150,000 a year, what about it’s outgo? You can be assured they spend more for their home, their car, their clothes etc. Are they expected to just move once a child enters college to a cheaper home? What if they have more than one child in school? Why is the parent held solely responsible for the cost of a child’s college education? Why not examine the child’s income? Also consider that a higher income family is also paying far and away much more for taxes than a lower income family.

The real solution is to look at why the cost of college is increasing so fast. If that were brought in line then there would be plenty of HOPE funds. For example, I go to Kennesaw State and the cost of a single semester for me has grown by 2.5 times what is was when I started in Spring of 2005. Thats 2.5 times in 6 years. For what? Is the degree any more valuable than 6 years ago. The education any more comprehensive? Where is that money going? The University system of Georgia needs to be investigated. The only oversight, The Regents, is about as much oversight as the PSC is to Ga Power.

The Thin Guy

February 4th, 2011
10:42 am

Right Wing Meanies have described The Hope Scholarship as a tax on stupidity. I have seen young mothers in convenience stores holding their toddlers as they bought their lottery tickets. Money that would have been better spent on their brood. But the scholarship has changed education in our state. Back in the 60s, students told profs: “If you fail me, I will flunk out of school and be drafted and sent to Vietnam where I will be killed.” Today it’s: “If you fail me, I will lose my Hope Scholarship and have to get a job.” Why not find additional funding for this entitlement by legalizing prostitution, drugs, casino gambling, bull and bear fights, and pin the tail on the journalist? Heck, I knew a guy who was unemployed for 8 years so his two sons could attend college on financial need scholarships. And a few people who turned down scholarships because they had more than they needed. Way too many students in college who don’t want to be there and who shouldn’t be there.

Toccoa Reader

February 4th, 2011
10:44 am

Making adjustments to the HOPE program (sliding scale maybe) would help to keep pre-K. Both programs are important but pre-K provides a foundation for getting an education. If you don’t get an education, you won’t accomplish anything. Pre-k should not only be kept, it should be extended to help more children.

Southern Comfort

February 4th, 2011
10:45 am

Sure, minorities don’t pay for anything else–why shouldn’t they get a free college education as well?

At the risk of getting struck by lightning….

Jezzuz H. Christ!!!!!! You obviously don’t know sh*t about the cost of college if you think somebody’s getting a free education on Hope by itself. However, it’s the minority’s fault as usual. What else is new around here…..

Adam

February 4th, 2011
10:50 am

md: That’s not a spending problem. Expenses outside of the program are not part of the program, and also cannot be counted as a spending problem. It’s spending hasn’t gone up as a result of its own excesses, in other words, which means it does not have a spending PROBLEM.

If the cost of food goes up, but you still need the same amount of food, do you have a spending problem if your own income does not increase?

Rich

February 4th, 2011
10:55 am

So if my Dad has a good job, I get no help. Not all parents will chip in to help with college. Ever here the story “When I was in college, I paid for it myself and it made me appreciate it more”. Well time are different and it cost alot more than it used to.

Flying Tigers

February 4th, 2011
10:57 am

As a single father of a Jr. in high school I have preached to him about grades. He has responded well and has so far made the grade to qualify for Hope. I went on disability this past April with cancer, but if everything goes ok will be able to return to work later this year (talk about hope) Alot of single parents both men and women need this Hope program to assure their children get the education they need. I really do not care how they fix it, and there seems to be some decent ideas here, but I just tell my elected officials to FIX IT. Why must Georgia always be one of the lowest if not the lowest states in education? Maybe if our state “university” was viewed as more than the number 1 party school things might be different. As it is, I would like my son to qualify, but with the state university system being what it is, he would probably be better served to go to a university out of state, and that my friends is sad to say.

John Birch

February 4th, 2011
11:03 am

catlady – It’s around $5400 a year now, my daughter gets one. With the HOPE and Pell she needs a little extra money for books (the $200 allotment buys about 1 1/2 – 2 books these days) but she also has a part-time job for her spending money.

John Birch

February 4th, 2011
11:14 am

flying tigers – UGA was always a pretty good party school, I went there from 80-83. But it’s also become an even better school academically, thanks in part to HOPE. So many kids want to get in that the average SAT and GPA for students admitted has risen considerably since HOPE started. Whether your son gets a fine education there or parties and flunks out is kind of up to him and also at least partly a reflection of your parenting wouldn’t you say?

md

February 4th, 2011
11:15 am

Adam,

Hope sets a limit on books……..once upon a time, one could buy books and stay under the limit thus saving money for Hope……….now, the entire limit gets spent.

Spending problem…………………

In general, costs have gone up and Hope has accommodated the increases………that is spending…..