Photos by Pastiche Lumumba
Right now there is a bill before GA’s senate that holds a griiip of GA student’s futures in their hands. From what I last heard today the Republicans in the Senate are trying to pass Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to adjust the H.O.P.E. Shcolatship. Said plan offers the top two students of each high school’s graduating class a full ride (i.e tuition, books, housing etc..) rather than giving every student who earned a 3.0 GPA and above a full scholarship.
Granted, I have always felt that the scholarship has been fairly easy for students to attain. A 3.0 GPA??? I’m used to seeing so many other full scholarships with more which called for more “aggressive scores” from students. Full rides are a rarity, with less than 20,000 students receiving them per year in the US. With less than .3% of full-time students receiving full grants and scholarships that cover the full cost of a four year college. But then again in Georgia’s case I can understand why they offer this “grace” to students seeing the circumstances in which the program was developed…
Unfortunately it is a fact that the south has led the US in having the highest high school drop out rate for quite some time [ With Black and Hispanics topping that list]. The Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally program was started in 1993 funded by GA lottery ticket sales. Students who receive HOPE are able to use the scholarship at eligible public AND private schools in the state. Since its development many other southern states have created similar programs for students.
Now, I don’t believe that The HOPE scholarship should just be given to the valedictorian(s) and salutatorian(s) of each class. After all these years I feel as though the main focus of the scholarship has been lost. It was originally created to help students get to college and more importantly to give high school students the motivation to graduate. In looking at the history of the scholarship criticism has come because so many students from affluent counties were receiving the scholarship rather than students in low income situations…those that top that list of high school drop outs as mentioned earlier. Because in reality those who contribute to the GA lottery which funds HOPE are those who come from lower income classes.
I mean, there must be a way to help those who need it without seeming biased. Or maybe we should stop worrying about being “politically correct” and step up to help those truly in need by adding an income factor to the scholarship rules and guidelines. Simply stated: Target those who need it more!