Good news for Georgia Tech: House approves giving STEM majors bump in their HOPE GPA

It didn’t take long for the House to pass the Rambling Wrecktification bill.

In a 167-0 vote today, the General Assembly approved House Bill 801, which gives a half-point boost to the final grades of students in tough science, technology, engineering or math classes.

Georgia Tech students, in particular, have long lamented they were losing their HOPE Scholarships because of the challenge of keeping up grades in arduous STEM courses.

The bill sponsored by influential House Republican Jan Jones adds an additional 0.5 point to a B, C or D in STEM courses at any of the state’s public campuses. That is the same bump now awarded to high school students who enroll in advanced courses. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

A bill passed by the House today will help many students at Tech keep their HOPE scholarships. (Georgia Tech Photo)

A bill passed by the House today will help students at Tech keep their HOPE Scholarships. (Georgia Tech Photo)

To retain HOPE, students need to maintain a 3.0 average in college. To hold onto the more lucrative Zell Miller Scholarship, students must maintain a 3.30 GPA.

Jones maintained both the students and the state lost when kids gave up on STEM. That is where the jobs are and where the future growth will be.

Research supports the rationale behind  HB 801. A study released in the fall found the fear of losing the generous merit-based aid has reduced the number of Georgia students willing to pursue challenging science and math degrees. Researchers at Georgia and Oklahoma State universities found state merit-based scholarships, including HOPE, reduce the likelihood a student will earn a degree in a STEM field.

An earlier GSU study found the HOPE Scholarship reduced the likelihood of a student earning a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, citing a 12.6 percent decrease in the number of STEM graduates. The study said the decline in STEM majors was the result of initial STEM majors switching to another major.

The bill requires the Board of Regents to decide which STEM courses earn the boost. The legislation states:

Beginning in academic year 2017-2018, the cumulative grade point average calculated pursuant to this subsection shall include weighted grades for specific science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) college courses identified by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in consultation with the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Economic Development, and private eligible postsecondary institutions, by increasing the grade assigned by the instructor to the student for any such course by an additional 0.5 point if such grade is a B, C, or D. Such courses shall be academically rigorous and required for or leading to employment in high demand fields in Georgia in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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25 comments
Another comment
Another comment

I challenge all you ignorant commenters on here who have no clue how difficult actual Engineering or Architecture classes are. To actually try to make it through freshman Enginering or architecture curriculicum at a top 25 ranked program. Then it does not get any easier.

You all need to shut your keyboards and mouths if you were never accepted and took this type of course work.

I took and obtain degrees in both Architecture, Engineering I was a top student in my class and went on to graduate school. I was also a graduate TA at a Top Enginerring School ( not Tech, although Tech was one of the 6 graduate schools I applied for and was accepted to. You have to go where you get the most money, and the higher ranked program in your field). I taught no graded undergraduate coursework for 4 th year engineering students and students who were mature and returned on accelerated degree tracts after a first bachelors. I have worked with and supervised hundreds of engineers and architects, very few have the aptitude and social skills to be good functioning employees.

The Foriegn worker visa fraud is all trumped up by our paid off congress and business interest to keep costs low. Those Foriegn engineers are not high quality.

redweather
redweather

@Another comment One thing you obviously didn't learn in your Top Engineering School is that when engaging in a discussion it is never a good idea to start out by insulting everyone else.  

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

But surely the STEM courses differ in difficulty at the various public Ga. schools where they are taught.  (The 2-year colleges will offer one type of STEM courses, and the research colleges--which include GT--another.)

THWG
THWG

All I know is that when I was a freshman at Georgia Tech, studying every day, and losing HOPE after year 1, all of my high school friends at UGA partied every day and didn't seem too worried about losing HOPE.

It should be a full point, not 1/2 a point.

THWG
THWG

and I'm not trolling anyone here...this is honest truth...

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Do STEM Majors not understand economics? Yes it's hard, because supposedly ,it will guarantee you a high paying job. That's how markets work. The legislature is letting STEM kids game the market.

redweather
redweather

Almost 45% of students who lose HOPE do so during the first year of college.  And once they lose it, most find it very difficult to ever get it back (fewer than 10% of students who lose HOPE regain it within a year's time).  


You can explain this in at least one of two ways.  Half-empty glass: their HS grades were inflated. Half-full glass: they earned their HS grades but found the transition to college to be more difficult than anticipated. This holds true whether they major in STEM, education, or anything else


A recent report posted on this blog indicated that we are facing a coming teacher shortage as fewer and fewer HS students pursue a degree in education. But the BOR and General Assembly have decided that only STEM students will be eligible for this benefit.  Hate to say this, but that figures.


Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Why is it I keep envisioning that doll that says "Math is hard" when you pull her string?

Politicians.  Always in search of a "crisis" to solve.     Once the crybabies figure out that they are not getting the boost, they will begin the Pavlovian chants of "What about my major?  It's hard too."  Exception after exception and before long, the HOPE Scholarship will be a maze of rules and regulations and exceptions that no one can navigate.

They could have fixed HOPE once and for all by making it a Reimbursement program.  Politicians.  Gotta love'em


MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Lee_CPA2    The simplicity of HOPE as designed by Gov. Zell Miller was part of its appeal. It could be summarized in one sentence and understood: Earn a B average in high school, keep it in college and Georgia will pay your college costs.


redweather
redweather

@Lee_CPA2 Agree that this would probably work much better as a reimbursement program.

1Fred
1Fred

The weighting is not currently consistent over the State system.  As an example, my child got into Tech and the AP classes taken in high school were only given credit for 2 classes.  Had my child gone to UGA, enough credits would have been given to enter as a second semester sophomore.  I know many students that would never have made it at the State's research schools that have 3.5 - 4.0 averages and some of the other schools in the system.  They've been able to keep the HOPE and the Zell scholarships while students at Tech have lost them because they take much, much harder courses and have 2.8 - 2.99 averages.  The point bump will better reflect the effort required at the research universities.

Another comment
Another comment

Except I will not hire anyone after one epic fail with an alleged engineering degree from Albany State. Nor will anyone who ever worked with that individual or any other or their graduates!

1Fred
1Fred

@southernopinion I don't know where you are talking about but I know in Gwinnett many of the STEM classes are the highest level courses offered, at least when my child who is now a 4th year at Tech was in high school.  To get the grade point boost it had to be an AP level class and those aren't easy.  Very very few math classes as an example will transfer to Tech with full credit but Tech math classes transfer anywhere.

southernopinion
southernopinion

STEM is taught in middle and high schools, but it is a connections class in middle school and a technology ed. class in high school. Neither classes are considered a math, science or engineering class by definition.  It is considered an easy class and is not designed to challenge advanced students.  It is not taken for a math or science credit, so the students don't take it serious.  The teacher's hands are tied as to requiring students to give the courses their best efforts.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

And yet, alongside such dire projections, you’ll also find reports suggesting just the opposite—that there are more STEM workers than suitable jobs. One study found, for example, that wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. Even as the Great Recession slowly recedes, STEM workers at every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid- and late-career Ph.D.s, still struggle to find employment as many companies, including Boeing, IBM, and Symantec, continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers."


http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/sep/03/there-really-shortage-stem-graduates-if-so-why-are/


"This was the one that finally took me out of the business entirely,” Perrero says. “I would never recommend this field to anybody that is a student."

These highly specialized tech fields yield average salaries in the $100,000 range, but for the younger, foreign workers their median salary is about 62,000 -- some even less, according to published reports. In response, Disney acknowledges it outsourced Powers' and Perrero's jobs to Indian workers, but Disney claims they've expanded and added jobs for U.S. IT workers."


http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/exclusive-former-employees-speak-out-about-disney-s-outsourcing-of/article_d8867148-7d8c-11e5-ae40-fb05081380c1.html


gapeach101
gapeach101

@AvgGeorgian

Maybe it's the 200,000 foreign workers who come in on special visas for STEM jobs.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

My guess is it won't make a significant difference in the number of STEM grads if the bump is confined to the most truly difficult classes.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Does Georgia Tech itself have an opinion on this? I know it sounds good on the surface but part of the strength of Tech is that it is hard...and kids who can't make the grades will move to easier majors...but that's not the end of the world..it keeps the brighter kids in STEM. 

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

@dcdcdc @SouthernHope5 It doesn't affect the classes...but it does affect the students taking the classes. If kids can keep the scholarship with a lower GPA (the "bump") then a larger group of kids will stay in STEM.  The natural weeding-out won't happen as often...so a bigger bubble will graduate with the degree on an annual basis. 

dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

P.S.  Are there any updates on the situation with the Principal at Dekalb's Lakeside HS?


(There is photoshopped picture of the removed Principal circulating on Facebook; the image has a threatening caption.  Supposedly the picture was posted from his FB account, but I don't know enough about FB to know if that's true or not.)


dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

The bill "adds an additional 0.5 point to a B, C or D in STEM courses at ANY of the state’s public campuses."


Maureen, does this mean that HOPE scholarship holders get a 0.5 point in their required math and science courses no matter what their major?

(Almost every college major have requirements to take some math and science courses.)




MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@dsw2contributor The Board of Regents is going to decide which STEM courses get the boost. The eligible courses have to be STEM disciplines and they have to be rigorous, according to the bill, so I would assume it would be the higher level courses rather than intro. But that remains to be seen.


AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

At Georgia Tech, the "intro" courses tend to be the "weed out" courses - new students are "welcomed" to real, grown-up college rigor.  You'll find some of the lowest class GPAs in calc 1, 2, 3, chem 1, 2 etc.  Since they are trying to encourage STEM majors to continue their studies, they would pretty much HAVE to include the intro STEM classes at Tech since that's where much HOPE is lost.