- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Rep. Tony Payton Proposes Legislation to give EVERY Pennsylvania Kid The Ability to Afford College
Sometimes YPP writer, youngest PA State Rep. ever, and all around good guy Tony Payton has proposed some incredibly good legislation. Called the REACH Scholarship, the program would, in effect, provide full, free college tuition to PA State Universities to every single academically achieving kid in the Commonwealth.
Let's say that again: Every. Single. Student.
The REACH Scholarship will provide a full scholarship, covering tuition and fees, to all high school students, regardless of economic background, gender, race and/or religious affiliation. Every public, private and parochial school student who meets the base criteria would be eligible for the REACH Scholarship. Studies on similar initiatives implemented in other states, such as the “HOPE Scholarship” in Georgia, have shown significant improvements in both the states’ secondary and higher education systems.
As Tony says, this is both morally good, and economically smart. In effect, Pennsylvania would be making a massive investment in our future- what economists call human capital. The effects of a similar program in Georgia showed that after the program was started, the average Georgia kid did much better in general.
The program also makes sure kids are staying in PA. If you don't stay in the State for five yeas post-graduation, your grants for the program turn into low interest student loans. In other words, we will make college affordable, and then incentive kids to stay.
Click Read More to see more of the program details. But while I am sure there is quite a long road to hoe to get anything like this on the board- having a State Rep actively going after it is very good news.
If Georgia can do it, so can we.
• REACH Scholars must graduate from a certified high school in PA.
• REACH Scholars must be a legal resident of PA for three years prior to graduation.
• REACH Scholars must maintain a “B” or 3.0 average and an 85% attendance rating.
• REACH Scholars must have a satisfactory disciplinary record.
• All merit based criteria are calculated by statistics accumulated during the students’ sophomore, junior, and senior years.
• No Pennsylvania resident may be grand fathered into REACH.
• SAT scores are not calculated into REACH criteria.
• REACH Scholars must apply for all state and federal financial aid.
• REACH Scholars must apply/attend an accredited two or four year school in PA.
• REACH Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in college.
• REACH Scholars who fall below a 3.0 GPA will be put on academic probation.
• Once on academic probation a REACH Scholar is never to fall below a 3.0 in any individual semester. To do so a REACH Scholars would permanently forfeit REACH eligibility.
• To be a REACH Scholar, you must be a full time student.
• PHEAA will be implementer of the REACH intuitive.
• The REACH Scholarship Program will cost approximately $350 million.
• A REACH scholar may only attend an institution of higher learning within the state of Pennsylvania.
• REACH scholars will receive funding for tuition and fees at all state universities.
• REACH scholars who attend private institutions will receive the average cost of tuition and fees of the fourteen state universities.
• REACH applies to all institutions of higher learning, including community colleges in the commonwealth.
• In order to receive funding, REACH scholars must remain in Pennsylvania four years after graduation. If they do not remain in the commonwealth, the REACH Scholarship will become a low interest loan the students must pay to the state.
Why Pennsylvania needs the REACH Scholarship Program
1. The REACH Scholarship will increase academic performance across the board in PA high schools. A study in 2004 of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship showed that students who maintained a 3.0 and 80% attendance (GA standards) increased 50% in the first six years of the program. Georgia College freshmen also have increased SAT scores by 60 points during the tenure of the HOPE scholarship, whereas the nation average increased by merely 20 points during this time. This is strong evidence to support the positive effects that a state-wide, merit based scholarship, such as REACH can have on the secondary education system in a state.
? Students will show up to school more often. (REACH scholars must have at least 85%)
? Students will behave better in the class room. (REACH scholars must have a satisfactory disciplinary record)
? Sets the bar or achievement higher for students (REACH scholars must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA)
? Gives teachers an effective motivational tool to use as an incentive to encourage students to perform. (Full scholarship to a PA state school.)
2. One objective of HOPE and REACH is the keep the best and the brightest students in state. Addressing the “brain drain” issue is critical to the financial viability of Pennsylvania. Prior to the commencement of the HOPE Scholarship, only 23 percent of Georgia seniors who scored 1500 or greater on the SAT stayed in the state to attend college. However, since HOPE was initiated, Georgia’s rate of retaining students with SAT scores greater than 1500 has climbed from 23 to 76 percent. Thus, the HOPE scholarship has made significant strides in addressing their own “brain drain” dilemma. REACH takes the HOPE concept a step further to ensure the retention of the most exceptional students in Pennsylvania. REACH does so by implementing a requirement that states each scholar must remain a resident of Pennsylvania for four years after graduation. If a given REACH scholar decides to leave the state, then the REACH scholarship turns into a low interest loan, which would have to be paid back to the REACH Scholarship fund.
3. The cost of attending college for an in-state resident in Pennsylvania is one of the highest in the nation. The cost of tuition is increasing far quicker that the rate of inflation. In a ten year period, from 1987-1997, Pennsylvania college tuitions increased 132%. College has simply become an unaffordable for many families in Pennsylvania. The HOPE Scholarship has been a key factor in keeping college tuitions prices low in Georgia. College tuition has spiked throughout the country at a rate of 41% since the inception of HOPE. Meanwhile, Georgia’s college tuitions have risen only 16%. This is due to the fact that citizens view an increase in state college’s tuition as a tax raise. When citizens correlate tuition hikes with tax hikes, there is little political will to significantly raise tuitions.
4. From 1990 to 2000, Georgia’s population increased by approximately 1.7 million people. Approximately 1 million of the 1.7 million people were under the age of 44. In Pennsylvania, between 1990 and 2000, Pennsylvania’s population increased by approximately 400,000 people. However, during that time period, Pennsylvania’s population less than 44 years of age decreased by approximately 153,000 people. (U.S. Census Bureau). In essence, these statistics exhibit the trend that Pennsylvania’s population is aging, while younger citizens of the commonwealth are moving elsewhere. Meanwhile, Georgia’s younger population increased significantly during this time. This population growth in Georgia has correlated with both job and economic growth. Georgia’s gross state product increased to 66.1 percent from 1993 to 2003, which is nearly 50% greater than the gross domestic product during the same time period. Also, Georgia’s total employment grew 37.5 in this ten year period, which is twice the amount of US employment during this time. Job growth has also resulted in a decrease in poverty rates. Georgia’s share of population living in poverty fell 23 percent since the implementation of the HOPE Scholarship. The “HOPE” scholarship has been and continues to be a key factor in Georgia’s economic success in the last 15 years.
5. The REACH Scholarship will increased college enrollment. In the first 5 years since its inception in 1993, HOPE increased the college enrollment rate (the ratio of first-time freshmen to recent high-school graduates) eight percent higher than the average enrollment rate in other member states of the Southern Regional Educational Board. Additionally, from 1993 to 1999, the amount of student’s who were eligible for HOPE increased from 48% to 65%. REACH would have similar results. Evidence has shown that the implementation of a state-wide, merit-based scholarship will increase college enrollment far greater than the percentage of states that have no such program. Likewise, The REACH Scholarship will increase the percentage of minorities who attend college. The Georgia HOPE Scholarship has helped to increase black college enrollment by 15%, including a 23% increase of enrollment in Historically Black Colleges.