MGC HOLDS DEBATE ABOUT HOPE GRANT/SCHOLARSHIP CHANGES
(Cochran, GA) – Middle Georgia College recently held a QEP Debate Series about the changes to the HOPE Grant/Scholarship. Moderated by MGC assistant professor of political science Dr. Brooke Miller, the debate featured Jasmine Cleveland arguing against cuts to the Hope Scholarship and Janet McCartney arguing that cuts were necessary. Both students were given three minutes to present their arguments, then a one minute rebuttal each.
Jasmine Cleveland began the debate by arguing her position that the HOPE Scholarship should not have been cut, stating that since students upheld their bargain to get good grades, so should Georgia. “Education is the key to economic prosperity,” she said.
Cleveland saw the benefits of the debate firsthand. “Some of my friends didn’t know HOPE had changed, but after the debate they realized it did,” she said.
Janet McCartney then argued that while cuts were necessary, the cuts that had just been made were not appropriate. “It’s counterproductive,” she said. “They reduced the number of students.”
McCartney hopes the debate will encourage MGC students to become more involved with the issues that affect them. “It is a good practice to learn while you are young that can transfer to large scale issues as you get older,” she said.
After the debate, Jed Edge, the assistant director of enrollment operations at MGC, explained the changes to the HOPE Scholarship and answered students’ questions. The changes to the HOPE Scholarship include higher Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements, such as needing a 3.2 out of high school to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship. In addition, students with a 3.0 GPA will only get 90% of their tuition covered, instead of the previous 100%. Instead, the Zell Miller Scholarship has been formed, which will cover 100% of tuition at a public university or $4,000 at a private university for students with a 3.7 GPA. Also, the HOPE Scholarship will no long cover Learning Support or remedial classes. HOPE will also now only cover 127 hours, and a student can only regain HOPE once.
The Debate Series was established as a way to get students to read, said Miller. “My QEP Modeling Reading Subcommittee came up with the idea as a way to get students interested in different topics that will directly affect them and encourage them to read about it,” she said. The Debate Series will hold one debate every semester with the topic tied with the Learning Communities’ theme, said Miller. “Next year, the theme will be Life in Conflict, and will deal with students’ internal conflict.”
Miller thought the event went well for the first debate.”I think the students enjoyed learning about the HOPE scholarship and the new Zell Miller scholarship,” she said. “Most of the students learned something they did not know about the changes to HOPE and how it would affect them during their college career. I think it went well and I am proud of the work my committee has done on the QEP.”