Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

HOPE Helps Black College Enrollment Soar in Georgia

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

HOPE Helps Black College Enrollment Soar in Georgia

Article excerpt

ATLANTA- HOPE scholarships may not be the only reason for the soaring Black enrollment at Georgia colleges, but they are certainly a significant one, educators say.

"One of the things we cannot overlook in Georgia is HOPE," said Joseph Silver, a vice chancellor of the University System of Georgia. "It's really opened up doors for students who formerly couldn't afford to go to school. Now, if a student does what he or she is supposed to do, they'll see that they can get it and go to college."

Twice as many Blacks are enrolled in Georgia's public colleges today as ten years ago - a growth rate that far exceeds national numbers for both Blacks and whites. And the growth shows no sign of slowing.

Black enrollment grew from 21,824 students in 1986 to 43,609 in 1996, a 99.8 percent increase. During the same period, white enrollment in state schools grew 22 percent, from 120,264 to 146,607 students.

About 20 percent of Georgia's Black college students receive the state's lottery-funded HOPE scholarship, which covers tuition and other costs for students who enter college with a B average and maintain it. Georgia's scholarship is being used as a model for President Clinton's HOPE scholarship proposal.

Educators say there are other reasons for the increase in Black enrollment, including the availability of more financial aid in general and special efforts to expose Black children to college earlier.

Still, at some schools the jump in enrollment seemed to mirror the start of the HOPE program in 1993. Blacks made up only 16.5 percent of students at Georgia State University in 1986 and 18.5 percent in 1992, but the figure rose to 23.6 percent in 1996.

Black enrollment in Georgia is increasing more than twice as fast as it is throughout the country. Recent figures released by The College Fund/UNCF showed that Black enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities grew by about 40 percent from 1 million students in 1976 to more than 1.4 million in 1994, the latest year for which all figures were available. National enrollment among whites during the same period rose about 15 percent to 10.4 million.

Enrollment at the state's public HBCUs-Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities - has grown by more than 1,200 each. …

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