Written by Erin Martin, Staff Writer
Last week in a planning and budgeting meeting for Valdosta State University affairs, there was a discussion of a “HOPE Gap Scholarship” that will serve as a benefit for students in need of tuition funding.
According to President Stanton, Valdosta State received a grant from an anonymous donor for the program. They are hoping to raise more funding to make the scholarship possible in the near future.
If everything goes as planned, the program will be available to students who lose their HOPE Scholarship and find that they are unable to afford tuition and fees. The program would also be open to students with modest financial aid needs that could be met and allow them to continue their education at VSU.
The current standards for the HOPE Scholarship require students to maintain a 3.0 GPA. When students fall below this GPA, they lose all of their funding. This is often problematic for students because they are not allowed to re-apply for this scholarship until they have completed another 30 credit hours. For example, if a student raises their GPA back to a 3.0 after losing HOPE, but only has 59 hours, they still could not receive until the following semester.
“GPA isn’t a reflection of the student’s knowledge; it’s a reflection of the student’s memory in my opinion. Students do deserve a little help when they fall off.” said Demarcus Green, freshmen, pre-med biology major.
According to U.S. News College Compass, VSU has a retention rate of 68.5%. School officials are hoping that this new scholarship will help with the declining enrollment rate. President Stanton said that they are committed to helping the students in this area.
The criterion for this specific program has not been determined yet, but when it is, the scholarship will be administered through the financial aid office for those needing assistance.