Channel 2 Action News has uncovered a change that makes it more difficult for thousands of Georgia students to qualify for the HOPE scholarship.
The change has many home-school families very concerned. Chris Comfort’s children are home-schooled. Her oldest child Brenten Cruthirds is starting 11th grade and thinking about college.
“We specifically chose an accredited program that ends with an accredited transcript so he would be eligible for HOPE,” Comfort said.
Accredited home-school programs have to meet the same state requirements as public and private schools.
Under this change, home-school students who graduate from an accredited program will now be treated differently than public and private school students. Previously, a minimum 3.0 high school GPA qualified them for hope scholarship money but that’s no longer the case.
“I want my son to have the same consideration as a student in Atlanta Public Schools. They are accredited by the same agency,” Comfort said.
Instead, to qualify, home-school students will have to score in the top 20 percent on standardized tests, while a 3.0 GPA is still acceptable for other students.
“It doesn’t feel fair and it doesn’t seem like something that should be happening in general,” Cruthirds said.
Home-school students can also earn the award retroactively by maintaining a 3.0 GPA during their first year of college. But Comfort says paying up-front is not an option for her family. “I really needed this to go to the school I want to go to,” Cruthirds said.
In a statement, the president of the GSFC told Channel 2’s Matt Belanger “We are seeking clarification from the attorney general’s office… as to how home study students who graduate from accredited programs should be defined for purposes of hope eligibility.”
Channel 2 Action News is told the agency is also considering delaying the implementation of the new rules so students starting college right now still receive the money they expected.