HOPE Scholarship: Our recommendation

Get rid of the Zell Miller Scholarship

and 1 Comment

The HOPE Scholarship is sure to be a hotly debated issue in this year’s elections, so we’re uniting to make one central suggestion: Why not abolish the Zell Miller Scholarship? The days of a true “full ride” are gone anyway, as the Zell doesn’t cover fees either. Holding on to a faded promise reduces funds available to other HOPE recipients—and creates a widening gap between those who receive full tuition and those who don’t. Given the SAT’s undeniable correlation with family income, it is not an appropriate benchmark for disbursing public funds—even for a merit-based scholarship. Let’s cut our losses quickly, before the Zell starts eating up a disproportionate amount of the GSFC’s budget.

HOPE Scholarship: The cons: Did the legislature’s 2011 reforms ruin HOPE?

HOPE Scholarship: The pros: The program has surpassed its goals. So why are people complaining?

HOPE Scholarship by the numbers: The story explained in graphs

This article originally appeared in our January 2014 issue.

Related Content

Comments

  1. chris

    May 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I have to disagree with the recommendation to get rid of the Zell Miller Scholarship. Providing a two tier award level (the Hope Scholarship and the Zell Miller) helps with the following issues:
    1) Grade inflation: There is a great deal of pressure at high schools and at colleges to “help” students attain and maintain Hope Eligibility. The Zell Miller requirements tend, I think, to keep a cap on the grade creep. 2) The Zell Miller rewards those students that have truly worked hard on academics. Acknowledgement of those achievements is commendable and not condemnable.

    The rigor requirements afforded to the Zell Miller (SAT/ACT scores, for example) help to provide a standardized assessment of ability that is not tied to GPA. All schools, all teachers, all curriculum are not the same; therefore, all 3.7 averages are not the same. A score of 1200 on the SAT or a 26 composite on the ACT helps to provide a bar that is equal for all to jump over. Some students perform better on the SAT while some excel on the ACT. Also, each test can be taken multiple times to attempt the required score. The only correlation that is obvious to me for family income and SAT/ACT scores is the ability to pay for the tests; however, both tests have lowered or waived fees available based on family income levels. If the writer is implying that income levels somehow indicate that a student with a 3.7 or higher GPA cannot score a SAT/ACT qualifying level, then this is a specious argument. If the student truly has attained a 3.7 or higher, the SAT/ACT scores should not be an issue (it may take a couple of attempts). However, if a student with a 3.7 GPA cannot score a 1200 on the SAT or a 26 on the ACT, then the issue is with the school’s grading criteria. As already mentioned, the SAT/ACT bar helps to identify these cases. Colleges and Universities use the same criteria GPA and SAT/ACT scores so I have no issue with the Zell Miller using the same.

    With respect to the thought that the Zell Miller is eating up the GSFC budget, the Zell Miller is not responsible for budget shortfalls in the Hope Scholarship program. The Georgia Legislature’s eagerness to extend and expand the program to include more and more areas (pre-kindergarten, Tech Grants, Private School Hope Grants, ACCEL, etc…) is the main reason for shortfall of funding, especially as was seen in the 2008-2010 time frame.

    I’m 100% for the Hope Scholarship including the Zell Miller form of the award. Keep the Zell Miller!