Georgia democrats want a means test for HOPE

I’ve written previously about the necessary cuts to HOPE scholarships in Georgia. I thought that the Governor’s original money-saving proposal relied too heavily on cuts to Pre-K (where school days would be trimmed), but Gov. Deal has backed off on that. I also thought that we should cut the merit-based HOPE amounts for wealthier families rather than cut across-the-board cut as appears imminent for any students who do not have a 3.7 GPA in high school, do not have at least a 1200 on the SAT, and do not maintain at least a 3.5 in college.

Georgia democrats have little power these days, but state senator Jason Carter (D-Decatur) has proposed a plan that would preserve full HOPE grants for all students from families with annual incomes of less than $140,000/year. And, through the wonders of open records and technology, here’s a spreadsheet with data for each county in the state detailing the number of HOPE recipients who would be covered — or not — by the Democratic plan.

About 93% of HOPE scholars from Chatham County (Savannah) are from families that make less than $140,000. As Jim Galloway with the AJC notes on his blog this afternoon, the Democratic plan would seem to benefit rural Georgia the most. Many small counties don’t have a single HOPE scholar from a family that makes $140,000/year, while counties in suburban Atlanta have a relatively high % of them, topping out in Fayette County, where 23.7% of current HOPE scholars are from families making more than $140,000/year.

I doubt that Republicans in the Georgia legislature will embrace this means test, but it definitely give legislators of both parties — especially from rural counties that have the most to lose — something to think about.

1 comment for “Georgia democrats want a means test for HOPE

  1. Amy Patrick
    March 8, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I was in the second year of HOPE scholars, as I graduated from high school in 1994 and funded my entire college career with HOPE, graduating from GSU in 1998. The only thing I had to do to have my tuition paid was to maintain a 3.0 GPA – what a deal! However, a 3.0 GPA was far too much for the vast majority of my classmates to maintain. They had better things to do with their time than show up for class and many of them lost their HOPE funding during freshman year. Some took out loans to finish their education but many dropped out of college altogether. I would like to see the current statistics regarding how many students receive HOPE and go on to actually graduate from college. Hopefully things have changed because in my day, it wasn’t many. It is a waste of money to fund college tuition for students who aren’t serious about graduating – regardless of their parents’ annual income. Higher standards for HOPE awards is a good way to instill the discipline in students that will be required for them to graduate with a degree.

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