HOPE Requirements Are Changing For Georgia Students

While this may come as a surprise to many, the law changed in 2011 by the College-Bound StudentsGeorgia Legislation to give the HOPE scholarship more hoops before any student can cash in.  Georgia students are looking ahead to an even greater and more rigorous academic load while preparing for college.

It’s not just the grade point averages anymore.  It’s the added requirement of including up to four dual-enrollment, advanced placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or others from a small list of legislatively approved courses by 2017.

Christopher Smith of The Daily Citizen reports,

Qualifying for the HOPE scholarship is going to become more difficult.

Students graduating after May 1, 2015, will be required to take at least two classes from among college dual-enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and advance foreign language classes to specific classes approved by lawmakers (tinyurl.com/GSFClist) if they want to qualify for the scholarship. They must still have the required GPA.

Sophomores who will graduate after May 1, 2016, will be expected to take three advance courses if they want to qualify, while freshmen graduating after May 1, 2017, will have to take four classes.

Planning for the HOPE scholarship became more calculated and having a plan in place for college just became more critical.  Both students and their parents should be looking ahead and preparing for making some more calculated and intentional decisions that could have a surprising and positive impact on the student’s college admission plans.

These new requirements will actually allow more students to be more admissible to a broader selection of colleges.  When you apply for college, your academic resume makes a huge difference with regard to attending many colleges and universities.  A rigorous high school academic schedule speaks volumes these days!

The Daily Citizen also quotes Jennifer Phinney, director of school support for Dalton Public Schools saying, “regardless of which classes they take, students should “get a plan now” if they’re banking on HOPE scholarship money to help pay for college.

”It’s going to require careful planning,” Phinney said. “If you wait … you’re not setting yourself up for success.”

Capstone Educational Consultants, LLC — Fayette County’s personal and comprehensive college planner can assist in developing an educational action plan that makes sense now, but makes even more sense now for college.  Creating a plan during high school, where every decision is intentional and makes the case for college is brilliant.

by Mark Cruver
©2014 Capstone Educational Consultants, LLC

How Many Does It Take?

My favorite candy in all the land is the chocolate flavored Tootsie-Roll Pop!  Tootsie Roll PopsThere is nothing like the combination of chocolate on the outside and a chocolate center.  There was a commercial in the 80’s that ran of a cartoon owl named none other than, Mr. Owl.  His educated and scientific method of finding the answers to life’s most challenging questions made him the most credible candidate for the job!  The world needed to know, “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie-roll pop?”  And so the research began!  The trouble came when Mr. Owl no longer stayed the course, ran dry of patience and crunched into the tootsie pop.  The world learned quickly there was more than one way to eat a tootsie roll pop!

In the world of college selection a similar question resounds.  How many does it take on a list to find the right college?  And with it, the world has learned there is a sundry of methods and the detail and style within each varies greatly.  Mr. Owl may answer our question with a similar response to his own . . . “It depends!”

There are those who somehow just know where they want to go.  That’s the problem though, they know, but the college has yet to decide.  If rejected, this could change everything!  Then there are those, who like Mr. Owl, have the greatest of intentions of working hard to find the right college and then somewhere along the way for various reasons choose to settle.  And then there are the students who know the type of college they’d like to attend, the general location and features or programs that fit best.  These students pursue colleges that meet their own criteria through research, campus visits and conversations with those familiar with them.

My hope is that students take the time to find the college that fits them best.  With over 4,000 to choose from throughout the United States, the likelihood of landing at a college that fits well is rather high!  If you’re a junior in high school, then now is the best time to make an initial list!


The Race Is On For Financial Aid

financialaidSome of the more costly mistakes made during the college planning process are made in the financial aid process.  Making assumptions on eligibility, waiting too long to file or not including the colleges under consideration are only a few of the many misfortunes that have the potential of become overly expensive.  Read here for a full list of costly errors to avoid:  http://goo.gl/iWjwBx

Truth is, the race is on!  Both the federal and state governments set aside a predetermined allotment of funds to distribute to eligible students each year for financial aid — and it’s not just for college freshman!  These funds are only available for a limited time for ALL college students.

Aid is available on a first-come, first-serve basis . . . so it is imperative to be on your game!  Here are a few tips that could save you both time and potentially thousands of dollars:

  1. File early!!  Filing as soon after January 1, the greater the chance your student will receive the entire amount of eligibility.  The early bird really does get the worm!
  2. Include each college/university of consideration on the FAFSA!!  This notifies the college of your interest or intent and streamlines the process as your FAFSA results will be sent directly to them.
  3. File despite your wealth!!  The formula used to determine aid eligibility takes into account far more than income and assets alone.  Don’t assume you won’t receive financial aid, it’s a bad idea.
  4. Extenuating circumstances that significantly impacted your reported income could call for a justified “professional judgement” by the financial aid director.
  5. Look into how Capstone Educational Consultants can assist you with their ccn1Financial Aid Estimator, College Cost Predictor and a FAFSA Answer Key.   With a single, customized report, it’s possible you could save hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands of dollars throughout the course of your child’s college career.  Capstone Educational Consultants will give you a detailed look inside each college, their financial aid offers, your estimated family contribution and projected out-of-pocket expenses.