Is Lowering HOPE Prerequisites a Good Idea?

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal proposed lowering the required GPA for the HOPE Grant back to 2.0. Tell us what you think of the proposal.

Students pursuing technical school degrees could soon face a lower GPA threshold.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday announced a proposal to lower the required GPA of the HOPE Grant from its current 3.0 back to its original level—2.0. The aim of the proposed change is to strengthen Georgia’s workforce development efforts by expanding access to the HOPE Grant, which goes to students in the technical college system.

“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 release from his office on Thursday. “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.”

Deal’s proposal to lower the GPA requires action from the General Assembly before it can be implemented. State officials say the ability to expand funding for HOPE Grants is due to increases in the revenues of the Georgia Lottery.

"The difference in these students getting this grant and not getting this grant is the difference in them having a ticket into the middle class," Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The same AJC article states that according to Deal, about 3,600 students left the technical college system due to losing their HOPE Grants.

Should lawmakers lower the GPA requirement for students under the HOPE Grant at technical schools?

Share what’s on your mind with us, and then return here to see what your neighbors in Paulding, Douglas and Cobb have said.

Ivory Dorsey, Speaker, Facilitator, and Author February 11, 2013 at 01:08 PM
“If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.” Prov 26:27
Amy February 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Don't raise the GPA. That is the problem with our education system, when people can't make the cut, we just keep lowering the bar.
Fred February 11, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Apparently the re-election campaign for Deal has officially started. This proposal is nothing more than pandering to voters. Public money given for average performance is "incongruent" with the ideals of what scholarship funds should be used for. Georgia HOPE = Georgia Helping OUTSTANDING Pupils Educationally. What is OUTSTANDING about a 2.0? Maybe the Technical Colleges in Georgia should stop wasting money on superfluous things like sports programs and "student activities" thus lowering the cost of taking classes. If these schools would stick to the basics of educating a workforce rather than trying to be what they are not - large universities or even small 4 year colleges - maybe those 3600 students would not have had to drop out. By the way those 3600 are only 2.5% of the 145000 that received HOPE in 2010.
Ivory Dorsey, Speaker, Facilitator, and Author February 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7-3 (NIV)
Amy February 11, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Randomly quoting scripture does not really add to the conversation. The sawdust and the plank is one of my personal favorite scriptures, but I think the danger in saying it to others is that maybe that means you are the one with the plank complaining about your brother's sawdust. I think it is meant more for self reflection than for accusing others....
Jack S February 11, 2013 at 02:39 PM
A low GPA is the indicator that the Student does not apply him/herself; rather party or play than study. So to all those who THINK this is a good idea, please explain how is the student going to succeed in College with poor study skills? Personally, this is a waste of money that could have gone to a more deserving student. I believe in giving everyone a fair chance but you have to work for your rewards not just be handed one for participation.
Valerie Kilpatrick February 11, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Aside from the impact of using up more HOPE funds, Gov Deal does not seem to understand the direct impact that high education standards (for teachers, students, facilities and administration) has on a community. Housing/real estate values go up, crime goes down, and businesses are attracted to and decide to invest in the local economy. It is a gap in his own education, or he just does not care.
Oldtimer February 11, 2013 at 02:57 PM
After more than 30 years in public schools, I can tell you if you half-way try you can get a 2.5 to 3.0 teachers give extra chances, extra credit, do overs and so on everyday. They will tutor after and before school. I will add...over the last 10 or so years curriculum has been dumbed down a lot. Students today would not be able to do what they did 30 years ago.
Jaggar February 11, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Exactly. We continue to dumb down the system. I know two children who struggle every day with processing issues, yet they have managed to achieve GPA's of 3.2 and 3.5. A 2.0 is equivalent of a student who does nothing in class. Georgia is already at the bottom and this is simply a pandering to the low-income population that they do not have the ability to get better grades. Deal must be best friends with Obama!
longtime resident February 11, 2013 at 04:54 PM
as a former college professor, I've had students in class who couldn't write a grammatically correct sentence consistently, nor a concise paragraph. Those low-level students do not belong in college. I would agree with lowering the GPA to 2.0 for technical schools, though, but keep 3.0 for college. Even that is a low B average.
Tammy February 11, 2013 at 08:50 PM
So now the "just average" kids will be able to get hope? I hope they have to maintain that average or better to keep it.
Jan February 11, 2013 at 09:30 PM
I agree with longtime resident. Some students are natural academic achievers. Many are not.. There are a million jobs out there for them. Anything that would help make them productive citizens, able to support themselves, and/or a family is great. Investing in our community does not mean they all need to be lawyers or doctors.
Brad Bridges February 11, 2013 at 09:42 PM
HOPE = Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally. It does not equal helping just because you sign up...
Cindy Brown February 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM
One aspect I haven't seen addressed is that many students purposefully take easier classes to ensure their eligibility for the HOPE. Lowering the standard would encourage students to take a chance on those AP or IB classes of higher rigor that are far better at preparing them for college anyway.
Lissa M. February 12, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Some folks are not college material and as Judge Mathis is famous for saying, need to get a "skilled trade". Anyone who purports otherwise continues to ignore facts.
Lissa M. February 12, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Did you watch Dr. Ben Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last week? Excellence begins in the HOME.
Lissa M. February 12, 2013 at 03:26 PM
In Germany, for example, students are tested during the middle school ages to determine readiness for an academic career or a skill trade during high school & beyond. Children are given all opportunities to excel. Some students are not college material. To act as though all children are the same is the reason the US continues to fall behind.
Lissa M. February 12, 2013 at 03:27 PM
It is easier to do that than admit that lowering the bar is a disservice to our country.
Larry King February 12, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I am not sure Deal’s plan will help in the long run. I suspect many students who only accomplish a 2.0 through their high school experience have not learned the study disciplines necessary to be successful at the next level even with Hope scholarship assistance. Some with economic challenges beyond those Hope can remedy will need to assume loans and when they fail to qualify after their second year will be faced with debt they will have trouble paying off. Also, just skating by with a 2.0 does not convince me that they will have the workplace skills as well. (teamwork, communication, etc.) Certainly for employment in the STEM career fields which DEAL wants to attract, we already see limited Georgia success to compete with North Carolina and other states with a more productive system of educating for jobs of the future. That $5 to $8 million would be better spent in giving K-12 teachers training to be more capable in science teaching and funding programs that provide more girls and majority students access to STEM education.
Lee February 13, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Back in the Stone Age, when I went to junior and senior high school, in addition to the academic courses there were "shop" classes, often homemaking skills for the girls and trade skills for the boys. While it wasn't equitable, it was recognized that not everyone was college material, and taking the electrical and woodworking and automotive and cooking and sewing and typing classes did get the students ready for entering the real world and not going to college. Even in my highly overcrowded high school, we were in school for at least 6 hours a day, 180+ days a year. If you did well in shop, you could easily get into a public technical school. The HOPE scholarship would be good for students who have proven their technical abilities. But a student who doesn't care and doesn't try and doesn't have any interest in school does not need to be supported by the public to spend the next couple of years screwing around at a technical or academic institution.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:48 AM
Are you serious? Sewing? You have to be kidding! :-) First of all, they are talking about students in colleges like GA Tech with 2.0s, not High school. Do you know what technical means? This isn't the 50s and tech means more than shop and mechanics and many technical students are among the brightest minds :-) I am a college graduate from one of the best engineering universities in the country which also has one of the best architecture programs. I definitely take offense at what you said, but I don't think you meant any harm and are just ill-informed. If you are saying tech students don't go to college, etc, you are insulting architects, computer systems engineers, computer scientists, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, physicists and many other programs that ALL are bachelor's degree programs or higher. I am not only a senior software engineer but have been a hiring manager in the past. From my experience, I can tell you it is very hard to find technical talent in the metro area, especially with the credentials we needed to hire. During the worst years, we had positions open for more than a year, with other people having to pick up the slack. Resume after resume and interview after disappointing interview would turn up nothing. At least for what we were willing to pay. We finally had to up our payscale. Finally, we have too many liberal arts graduates in the country and too many people fighting for service jobs. That definitely has to stop!
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:49 AM
Please re-read. They are talking about college students at places like GA Tech with 2.0s.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:49 AM
They are talking about college students with a 2.0, not high school students with a 2.0
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:52 AM
They are talking about college students, not high school students. By the way, to your completely off-topic statement, the curriculum hasn't been dumbed down. It's just more broad now because Montessori schools and others were making public schools look bad. However, public schools don't typically have the resources to be both broad and yet deep in the core subject areas.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:53 AM
They are talking about college students who lose the hope scholarship because of a 2.0-something GPA. That isn't uncommon at schools like GA Tech.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:54 AM
Many very decent students don't get a 3.0 at GA Tech or schools at that caliber.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 08:55 AM
If you read the article, it was talking about students at universities who lose their scholarship for having under a 3.0 GPA at the university.
Brian February 16, 2013 at 09:10 AM
Alright, so after reading these comments, I must first say I am ashamed to share the state with some of the people who responded. Some of the comments are outright ridiculous. 1. First of all, let me quickly just say: Keep the religious comments out of here. What does this article have to do with religion? This isn't the deep South, this is metro Atlanta. 2. Many are talking about high school. Tell me one time that the article says anything about high school. In fact, it clearly mentions about students losing the scholarship when their grades fall below 3.0. Obviously, those students are in college. 3. Very good students fall below 3.0 at schools like GA Tech because of how rigorous the studies are. To get into GA Tech, they were likely straight A students in high school or close to it. I went to a very competitive university up North and although I graduated with a 3.1, I was below 3 for my sophomore and part of junior year. Had I had the HOPE scholarship, I would have lost it. And for what? I ended up pulling it together and graduating with a 3.1 anyway! Including an A in quantum computing. Note that even though I dipped below 3 at the university for a time, in high school I was one of the top students, A/A- GPA, stellar SATs and SAT IIs, Eagle Scout, etc. 4. Finally, for those that don't know what the word "tech" means, it means engineer, IT, architect, etc - not shop. 5. Finding good software engineers, among others, is hard for tech firms. cont..
Brian February 16, 2013 at 09:15 AM
6. We have a shortage of engineers, and an overabundance of people with liberal arts degrees. In fact, that's the biggest reason there's unemployment as high as there is. Because although some companies are begging for talent domestically, people are not qualified with the right kinds of degrees. I guess one alternative to decreasing the number of liberal arts students is to incentive students to go into engineering and architecture careers. Finally, if they are going to let students keep the HOPE scholarship when they fall below 3, that's fine, however they need to make the students take part in a performance improvement plan where they at least attempt to take some efforts to get back over a 3. I think it will be tough for some students to do that since at some universities, a 3 or higher pretty much means no life. Unfortunately, part of college is learning about yourself. However, if they are on an improvement plan, and are forced to actively monitor their status, report on progress, have a mentor assigned, etc then it is unlikely that they are going to fall any more in GPA and probably will increase somewhat. Maybe not up over a 3 in some cases, but it should at least increase.
Ivory Dorsey, Speaker, Facilitator, and Author February 16, 2013 at 01:24 PM
"I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze..." —Exodus 31:2-4 See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.


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