In the midst of partisan politics, a bi-partisan effort in the Georgia legislature would lower the GPA requirement for the HOPE Grant back to 2.0. Introduced Feb. 14, 2013, House Bill 372 would lower the GPA from 3.0, which is what it had been raised to two years ago because of budgetary issues. Gov. Nathan Deal was quick to voice his support of the measure.
“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 press release. “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.”
In a press release in response, state Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) said she was delighted to partner with the governor on this issue.
“Lowering the GPA will give more access to technical colleges. The requirements for technical colleges should be different since they cater to a different demographic than a traditional university,” Evans said. “This bill will have a long term effect for the economic workforce. Building a stronger workforce starts with our technical schools, and the ability for people to attend these schools start with lowering the GPA to 2.0.”
But not everybody thinks it is a good idea. Commentators on a story by the Atlanta Journal Constitution said it would essentially dumb down the system. One said that just because people can’t cut it as it stands is no reason to lower the standard. Another asked what happened to the old, “study hard son, that’s the way to get ahead in America,” and yet another urged legislators to vote no on the bill.
What do you think? Will it help boost the education level in Georgia, in particular in the technical arena, if more people have access to higher education? Or will lowering the entry requirements detract from the need to strive for success in our high schools?