Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HOPE Fades Faster for Some Blacks Lose Scholarship at Higher Rate, Study Says

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HOPE Fades Faster for Some Blacks Lose Scholarship at Higher Rate, Study Says

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Georgia's HOPE scholarship program has been the ticket to college for many black youths who otherwise might not have afforded it, but nearly 60 percent lose the scholarship within two years, a study shows.

That is higher than the percentage for whites or Hispanics, according to the study co-authored by Gary Henry, a professor of policy studies and political science at Georgia State University.

More than three-fourths of students lose their eligibility for HOPE scholarships before completing four years of college. Of that group, only 4 percent to 5 percent are able to pull their grades back up to regain the grant, Henry said.

"It is probably the rigors of college work and the fact that African Americans are disproportionately coming from low-income families," Henry said in explaining his findings. "Those students are having to work to supplement their incomes. As they spend more time trying to generate income to stay in college, it probably takes a toll."

Henry presented the study yesterday before the American Political Science Association during a meeting in Atlanta.

The HOPE scholarship, instituted by former Gov. Zell Miller and funded by Georgia's lottery, provides tuition, mandatory fees and a $150 per semester book allowance to students who complete high school with a B average. Students must maintain that average in college to keep the scholarship.

The program also pays for grants to B students at private colleges in Georgia and pays tuition and fees for students attending technical schools.

Still, he said the overall numbers are trending up. For example, the percentage of students who keep HOPE a second year and remain in college has risen. The percentage of those who keep HOPE through four years increased from 21.7 percent to 22.7 percent between 1993 and 1995, he said.

Since HOPE began in 1993, black enrollment at Georgia colleges increased by nearly 33 percent, surpassing the increase for white students.

But Henry's figures show that 58.9 percent of blacks lose HOPE scholarships during their first two years, compared with an average 45. …

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