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HOPE gets harder

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February 1, 2006

Albany - Getting the HOPE scholarship is about to get tougher. Starting with the class of 2007, requirements to earn the scholarship which pays for tuition to the state's public colleges will change. Students will have to make better grades.

Dougherty High School Junior Roderick Hubbard already knows he wants to go to Albany State and major in music education.

"I want to become a band director eventually and hopefully come back to Dougherty High to be the band director here," said Hubbard.

He makes good grades and like many Georgia students, is relying on the HOPE scholarship to pay for college. The scholarship requires students to make a 80 or 3.0 grade point average in high school.

"I think I'm pretty safe," said Hubbard.

But after a meeting with his guidance counselor, Roderick knows he may not be as safe as he thought because the scholarship requirements are changing.

Counselor Ronette Brown said, "They'll have to meet higher standards."

Brown says a 80 won't be good enough anymore. To get HOPE next year, students will have to earn a true 3.0 GPA, which calculates to about an 83 numerical grade.

Honors classes have been weighted in the past, so a student gets extra points on his grade for taking these harder classes. But the HOPE won't accept weighted Honors grades anymore, unless they're in Advancement Placement courses.

"AP courses are standard," said Brown. "That's why they said the AP or the IBO, the International Baccalaureate Courses, will be the only courses that HOPE will count because everybody across the board would have the same grading scale for those."

Another HOPE change is if you fail a class and retake it in summer school, both grades count towards the GPA HOPE considers. In the past, the lowest grade was dropped. Brown supports the stricter requirements.

"The colleges are telling us some to the students are coming not prepared. Now with the tougher requirements, we feel the students will be more prepared," said Brown.

"There's going to have to be lot more studying to get the HOPE now," said Hubbard.

Hubbard says he's up for more studying because it's a family tradition and a life long dream to march with the Golden Rams inside the classroom and on the football field.

For more information: www.georgiacollege411.org

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