Georgia's Hope Scholarship In Dire Need Of Change

1915 words - 8 pages

For the past ten years, Georgia has sent over 700,000 high school students to its colleges free of tuition payments. Over 100,000 students have received an annual grant of $3,000 to attend a private school in Georgia. That is over $2.11 billion spent for Georgia high school students to attend college. This has all been done through Governor Zell Miller's HOPE scholarship program. Governor Miller started the program in 1993 with the lottery, which is the way the scholarship gains its funds. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be a Georgia resident, and a high school graduate with a "B" average. Students must also keep a "B" average throughout their college matriculation. If a student loses the scholarship, he or she can gain it back by pulling their average back up to a "B." With the HOPE scholarship, any school in Georgia for its high school residents is a good choice.The desire to receive a free education has led to a tremendous increase in the amount of scholarships given out a year. In between 1993 and 1994 there were over 40,000 students who received the scholarship for a total of $21.4 million. In the years 2002 and 2003, there were over 200,000 students who received the scholarship for a total of $360 million spent. Although the amount of students obtaining at least a "B" average and receiving the scholarship is a good thing, there is more money being spent on student scholarships then there is being generated through the lottery profits. If the program continues in this manner then the state could be in serious financial problems. The future of the lottery-supported program is questionable. I believe that changes to the program are needed in order to keep the program afloat for future generations.The HOPE scholarship has received quite a bit of attention over these past few months. With the worry of the continuation of the program, Members on the Joint Study Commission have considered several possibilities to make sure funds are being invested wisely in Georgia students. Governor Sonny Perdue believes that a solution to the problem may be to increase the standards one needs to qualify for the scholarship. The SAT is the most popular required standardized test for colleges in the South. It is not only an entrance requirement for colleges but also a measuring tool of how well a student will perform in college. Perdue believes adding a minimum SAT score of 1000, or an equivalent ACT score of 21, seems to be a reasonable solution to this problem.Furthermore, adding the SAT could help motivate students to make higher scores on the SAT. As it is now, Georgia ranks last in SAT scores in the United States with an average of 984. This shows that the education program in Georgia is not where it should be. Students that make A's in school may not do well on the SAT because they might take easier classes. Taking easier classes may help the student receive a higher GPA, but when they have to take the SAT they are not properly prepared....

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