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Do You Support Lowering HOPE Grant Qualification Requirements?

If passed, House Bill 372 would lower the GPA requirement for the HOPE Grant to its original level of 2.0.

In the midst of partisan politics, a bi-partisan effort in the Georgia legislature would lower the GPA requirement for the HOPE Grant back to 2.0. Introduced Feb. 14, 2013, House Bill 372 would lower the GPA from 3.0, which is what it had been raised to two years ago because of budgetary issues. Gov. Nathan Deal was quick to voice his support of the measure.

“After talking with many members of the General Assembly and crunching the numbers at our budget office, I’m glad to report that we’ll be able to lower the GPA requirement for the HOPE Grant back to 2.0 after raising it to 3.0 for budgetary reasons two years ago,” Deal said in a press release. “I believe this additional benefit will help Georgia families trying to get ahead and will boost the state’s ability to attract and fill high-skilled jobs. With an estimated cost between $5 million and $8 million, we believe this will provide greater access to school — and access to a brighter career – at a relatively small cost to the state.”

In a press release in response, state Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) said she was delighted to partner with the governor on this issue.

“Lowering the GPA will give more access to technical colleges. The requirements for technical colleges should be different since they cater to a different demographic than a traditional university,” Evans said. “This bill will have a long term effect for the economic workforce. Building a stronger workforce starts with our technical schools, and the ability for people to attend these schools start with lowering the GPA to 2.0.”

But not everybody thinks it is a good idea. Commentators on a story by the Atlanta Journal Constitution said it would essentially dumb down the system. One said that just because people can’t cut it as it stands is no reason to lower the standard. Another asked what happened to the old, “study hard son, that’s the way to get ahead in America,” and yet another urged legislators to vote no on the bill.

What do you think? Will it help boost the education level in Georgia, in particular in the technical arena, if more people have access to higher education? Or will lowering the entry requirements detract from the need to strive for success in our high schools?

Rogers Lackey February 23, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Sorry to disappoint you John my Gpa was around 3.25 two years ago,and yours from 1960's was?
Tammy Osier February 23, 2013 at 04:45 PM
JOhn B., therein lies the problem. So many want equal opportunity to be the same thing as euqla outcome. If the outcome isn;t eequal, we'll force it if we have to. That's the society we live in now and it's pathetic. Actually, if you think about it, it might be ok to give the scholarship at 2.0 but if they can't keep it, then they can't stay. That's at least fair (so no crying fowl) and keeps those who aren't college material from taking up the spaces for those who are.
Michael Robinson February 23, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Lowering the standards for everyone is a backwards way of thinking about it. Give the people who don't struggle due to factors beyond their control a high target. Give more support to people whose background makes them struggle more, and show a little leniency if they fail to meet it despite their efforts.
Veritatem February 24, 2013 at 02:19 AM
When I was in high school the highest graduating GPA you could get was a 4.0 which was very, very rare. Now many students have graduating GPAs higher than that. I believe most educators realize (even if they won't admit) there has been high school grade inflation. I can see a exception for a new college student with between a 2.0 and 3.0 high school GPA on a case by case basis if a student shows that she or he had to work to help support a family and had to work over 20 hours a week, for example. Otherwise, first time students should have a 3.0. Once a student has been in college for a year and shows she or he can maintain a college GPA of 2.0, then give the HOPE plus an allowance (plus full living expenses if the student agrees to graduate with a degree needed in an area under served in Georgia). The Zell Miller scholarship should provide tuition and books plus an allowance plus full living expenses for students with a high school GPA of 3.5 and for those who accomplish a 3.0 in college. The same scholarship as a Zell Miller should be for technical college students who graduate from high school and after admission as long as they keep a 2.0. For other students who need financial assistance there are Pell grants, work- study, etc. Also, no college students should get HOPE unless the have reading+math minimum SAT of at least 1000 out of 1600. College should be just that, not a repeat of what should be 9th through 12th grade of high school that it is becoming in some colleges.

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