There’s been a lot of discussion on this blog about the HOPE scholarship requirements and costs.
Anyone interested in the program should take a look at this from the AJC: New HOPE benefits come as fewer students get the award.
During the 2011 fiscal year, 256,417 students received some form of the scholarship. A year later 202,906 students got it, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which administers the program. [...]
The largest declines are with the HOPE Grant, which is mainly used by students in the Technical College System of Georgia. In 2011, 141,887 students received the grant. There were 98,790 recipients in 2012. Only 81,008 are projected to get it this fiscal year — a 43 percent drop in two years.
Nearly 9,000 students lost the award because they were unable to maintain a 3.0 grade-point average, a new rule lawmakers set when they overhauled the program. That requirement was already in place for students in the University System of Georgia.
A few quick observations:
- The decline in grants to technical college students accounts for the vast majority of the decline in the number of college students benefiting from HOPE.
- Many former or potential grant recipients might have decided to enter or remain in the labor force. Employment is picking up in many parts of the state, so that might mean a decrease in demand for technical colleges. That would be good news, in general.
- It’s clear that some portion of the decline in grant recipients is due to the more stringent academic requirements.
Regarding my last point:
It has become all-too-common to see comments here at Peach Pundit derisively speaking of anyone with something less than a 3.0 as “a C student”. But let’s be clear: a student with a C average would have a 2.0 GPA. Students finishing their first years with 7 B’s, 1 A, and 2 C’s will fall below 3.0. Clearly, those are not “C students”.
For many students — those who struggle with specific subjects; those with jobs, families, and other major commitments; those who face personal crises mid-semester — maintaining a 3.0 every single semester can be difficult if not impossible. Recovering from one bad semester can also be very difficult.
There are obviously some sound arguments for setting the bar at 3.0 for HOPE recipients at all colleges and universities. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the higher bar is simply cutting out unworthy “C students”.