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Parents will be able to track their students’ eligibility for the HOPE scholarship online, thanks to a bill recently signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The legislation requires each school system to transmit an electronic transcript with courses and course grades for all high school students to the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
The commission will then provide HOPE grade point averages to all high school students on the My411 accounts on GAcollege411.org.
“Kids can see how they’re doing, where they are with the HOPE scholarship and what they need to work on to get it,” said Kay Holleman, a counselor at Gainesville High School who was one of the first in Georgia to start using GAcollege411 for career counseling. “The information is so great on the career section that we use it for our ninth graders to create a four-year plan.”
Previously, each school system was only required to submit electronic transcripts for senior students, who could then send the transcripts to colleges online during the admissions process. The move is aimed to help students and parents track their HOPE eligibility sooner.
“Students should not have to wait until their senior year, second semester, to know for sure if they are eligible for the HOPE Scholarship,” Tim Connell, president of the GSFC, said in a news release. “The earlier students have access to this information, the better they and their parents can plan for their postsecondary educational options and financial needs.”
In Gainesville, students start using the website when they enter high school so they can set a career path and start building a resume.
“We set up an activity sheet, which transforms into a resume by they time they’re seniors,” Holleman said. “They can then send those to the colleges, which they can compare on the website with location, cost, courses and majors offered, SAT and GPA requirements and so on.”
In Hall County, students and parents can also track specific class grades on the portal program Infinite Campus.
“Parents can even check multiple times per day because it’s a live snapshot of how their students are doing,” said Cindi Blakely, director of secondary education for Hall County schools. “You can then calculate the GPA based on credits received, but this is more a way to track immediate grades and assignments.”