HOPE recipients who take STEM courses now have 0.5 points added to their GPA

Georgia State Organic Chemistry lab student conducting an experiment. Photo by Vanessa Johnson| The Signal

STEM majors and students taking science classes will now receive a boost on their HOPE GPA just for attempting the class.

Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) representative Chris Green said the new policy will be enacted starting fall 2017 to give HOPE scholarship students a boost in their GPA as long as their grade is anything between a B and a D.  

“Beginning this fall term, specific degree-level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses identified as leading to high demand career fields in Georgia and taken at an eligible postsecondary institution will have an additional weight of 0.5 added to grades of B, C and D at the end of the fall term,” Green said.

Only certain STEM classes fall under this category such as all Calculus (MATH 2201, 2202, 2212, 2211), Organic Chemistry ( CHEM 2400 and 2410), Physics ( PHYS 1111K, 1112K), Biology (BIO 2107 and 2108) and other courses that can be found on the Weighted Courses Directory.

However all the previous classes you have taken will not be affected by the change. Any STEM classes taken before fall 2017 will not receive the 0.5 point boost, according to Green.

“The law does not apply to any previous coursework, and only approved courses from the STEM Weighted Course Directory during the period the course is approved by the STEM Weighted Course Approval Council,” Green said.

The law was created as a way to draw students into science course and encourage more STEM majors. According to Pro Tempore Jan Jones, STEM majors are needed to make Georgia more competitive as a whole.

“This initiative will encourage our young people to develop the 21st century skills demanded in STEM fields and make Georgia even more competitive in attracting high tech companies to locate and expand in our state,” as quoted from Jones in a press release.

Georgia State student Gabriel Lumbkin is a HOPE recipient and Communications Science major who believes that the GPA boost is well deserved.

“I feel that it’s well deserved because science isn’t really easy and you lose HOPE so quickly. It helps us a little bit to keep our GPA up so we will be eligible for HOPE,” Lumbkin said.

She agrees that the boost should only be for HOPE GPA because otherwise it wouldn’t be fair to the other students.

“Then I feel like it wouldn’t be fair for everyone else. I feel like it’s fair because we’re actually getting HOPE, but if they gave us a GPA boost for our institutional GPA, I feel like that wouldn’t be fair to the other students that do not receive HOPE,” Lumbkin said.

According to Lumbkin, science classes are more difficult, because they require more effort and time to get a better grade.

“Honestly it’s not hard for me, but it’s time consuming. You have to study everyday before you go to class. I know a lot of other people in my biology class last semester struggled because it’s a lot of components that go with science. It’s not like other simple classes,” Lumbkin said.