Monday, February 6, 2012

If school has 10 valedictorians, do they all get full HOPE/Full Tuition Scholarships

If school has 10 valedictorians, do they all get full HOPE?

A Get Schooled poster raises a good question about the new provision added to the HOPE bill at the last minute giving full tuition to each Georgia high school’s valedictorian and salutatorian.
What if a school has multiple valedictorians and salutatorians? (See my last entry on the two Cherokee valedictorians.)
Here is what astute poster “And the beat goes on” noted:
Local boards of education have policies that list the criteria one must meet in order to be valedictorian or salutatorian, but these policies can be easily changed. I believe there are 183 school districts, and if HOPE is offered to all valedictorians and salutatorians (which I don’t have a problem with at all), then there would be 366 students who would be automatically eligible for HOPE. However, if a district were to amend policies to allow an individual school to have as many as 5 or 10 valedictorians, then all of those students would be given the HOPE scholarship. Again, I wish all students who have worked hard and earned high marks could receive the HOPE scholarship, but that would defeat the purpose of changing the criteria for receiving HOPE. In fact, if I were a member of a board of education, and the state criteria for HOPE eligibility is worded in a way that gives HOPE to all vals and sals, I would definitely want to change school policy so that high-achieving students, regardless of SAT, would receive HOPE. Surely there is a state definition of “valedictorian,” but if there isn’t, I foresee lots of trouble ahead.
I asked the governor’s office about this and received this e-mail response from spokesman Brian Robinson, “We will work on this when developing the rules and regulations at the Georgia Student Finance Commission.”
As I noted in blogs on the Cherokee County mess, there are schools around the country that have as many as 38 valedictorians.
To appease rural legislators whose counties would sometimes have no students receiving full HOPE under the rigorous criteria of a 3.7 GPA and a 1,200 or better SAT score, Gov. Nathan Deal agreed to also extend the full tuition scholarship to each high school’s top two graduates.
But he didn’t say “top two.”
Here is the part of the bill spelling out who is entitled to full HOPE, aka the Zell Miller Scholarship:
Having graduated from an eligible high school with a grade point average of at least 3.7 calculated in accordance with Code Section 20-2-157 and having received a score of at least 1,200 combined critical reading score and math score on a single administration of the SAT or an ACT composite scale score of at least 26; Having graduated from an eligible high school as a valedictorian or salutatorian;
Clearly, the Legislature thought that throwing in the top two students for full HOPE would not bust the bank. But based on the language of the bill that Deal just signed into law, the full ride would go to anyone who was valedictorian or salutatorian, even if the honor was shared by 15 students. Any lawyers out there disagree with my reading of the language?
With two tiers of HOPE, class rank is going to be a bigger deal for students. Next year, the students getting the lesser HOPE awards, HOPE Lite, can expect somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of their tuition to be covered, depending on what the Regents do on tuition hikes.
But is likely that students in the future will see HOPE Lite pay for a far smaller portion of tuition, perhaps as little as 50 percent. That means winning full HOPE becomes all the more important.
As I said from the start of the HOPE rewrite, we have taken a simple and direct concept and turned it into a maze. We’re only beginning to see the weird turns it may take — such as parents pushing schools to declare multiple valedictorians.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

Full Tuition Scholarships

Full-tuition scholarships are the holy grail of college scholarships, one-off prizes that will cover the majority of your college costs over the course of four years. Thesescholarship awards can cover anything from just your tuition to all of your living expenses, depending on the terms set out by the provider. While these scholarship opportunities are rarer than others and tend to involve tougher competition, they are definitely out there.
Universities, states, and even several cities offer full-tuition scholarships based on varying criteria. The most common of these are merit-based academic scholarships,awarded based on SAT or ACT score, high school GPA, community serviceexperience, or other criteria by a college, university, or state higher education agency. Local scholarships, funded publicly or privately and offered to students from a certain geographic area, are also gaining popularity. Many such scholarships require students to attend a specific college or one of several colleges in a state or other geographic area.
Additionally, several corporate scholarships and foundation scholarship awards cover a student’s full tuition for anywhere from one to four years. Corporate and foundation scholarships typically give students more freedom to attend college where they choose, including private colleges or out-of-state schools while still receivingscholarship money to cover most, if not all, of their tuition expenses. These awards tend to have strong merit or need requirements, or sometimes both. A number ofscholarships for minorities fall into this category, as well.
While there might not be a full-tuition scholarship opportunity for everybody, it’s still worth taking the time to look. You can find full-tuition scholarships and other large dollar amount scholarships when you conduct a free college scholarship search on And remember, even if you don’t find one full-tuition scholarship that solves all your financial woes, you should still apply for scholarships! Awards of $1000 or $2000 can add up quickly, and every dollar you receive in scholarships is a dollar you won’t have to pay back in student loans.
Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship 
Application Deadlines: September 30, Annually
The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship is a grant that covers tuition and housing (when applicable) in an Evans Scholarship House and may be renewed for up to four years at the Foundation's option. Applicants must meet the following requirements: - Caddie - Academic - Financial Need - Character Applicants must have caddied for a minimum of two years at a WGA-affiliated club, rank in the upper [...] More
Hatton W. Sumners Law Scholarship 
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
The Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship is a prestigious, nationally-recognized full scholarship program. Oklahoma City University School of Law is one of only two programs in the country to offer these awards. The award includes a renewable full-tuition scholarship, an annual book allowance and a small living stipend. Sumners scholarships are designed to foster and encourage excellence in legal [...] More
Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship 
Application Deadlines: October 31, Annually
The Hertz Foundation's Graduate Fellowship award, which is based on merit (not need) consists of a cost-of-education allowance and a personal-support stipend. The cost-of-education allowance is accepted by all of the tenable schools in lieu of all fees and tuition. Hertz Fellows therefore have no liability for any ordinary educational costs, regardless of their choice among tenable [...] More
USDA/1890 National Scholars Program 
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities. The program awards scholarships to students attending one of 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities, pursuing a bachelor degree in agriculture, natural resources, food science, nutrition, or related academic [...] More


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