Let’s Talk About HOPE and College Access

Since its creation in 1993, the HOPE scholarship has been instrumental in making post secondary education more accessible for students. However, due to changes made in 2011, the window of opportunity is becoming smaller and smaller. According to a report done by Georgia Budget & Policy Institute senior education policy analyst Claire Suggs, fewer students are receiving HOPE than ever before. Once covering a student’s full tuition costs, the HOPE program now only provides partial tuition coverage for most. The requirements for receiving HOPE have also become stricter, requiring a 3.0 GPA, high SAT or ACT scores and at least four college-level courses such as advanced placement classes. Higher requirements as well as an age restriction preventing those who are seven years out of high school from obtaining HOPE, result in a smaller number of people being able to continue their education. Other HOPE programs include the Zell Miller Scholarship, granting full tuition to those with a 3.7 GPA in addition to high SAT or ACT scores and four college-level courses, the HOPE grant for those completing a degree or certificate at a technical college requiring a 2.0 GPA and the Zell Miller grant that requires a 3.5 GPA and covers full tuition costs. Both the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship are more likely to go to middle and high-income students. The new requirements affect students of various race and ethnicities, however those hit the hardest are black students with an amazing 80 percent not receiving HOPE. Without the aid of HOPE, students are left struggling to pay for tuition and other mandatory fees. To mitigate the issue, the... read more

10 Helpful Websites for College Students

Chegg A website where you can rent new or used textbooks for a low price. Don’t feel restricted by your college bookstore – rentals, used books and digital downloads are usually always cheaper and easier. If Chegg doesn’t have what you need, try textbookrentals.com, thriftbooks.com, campusbooks.com or amazon.com (the latter even offers a discount on Prime for students.) GroupMe A chat app that’s great for group projects. Instead of having to keep track of communication through emails and texts, GroupMe makes it so all of your conversations are in one convenient place. Similar apps are WhatsApp and Slack, which allows you upload documents into group messages.   Evernote Evernote is useful for people who like to take notes. The app makes it so that all the notes you take on your phone or computer is available across all of your devices. You can use it for notes, images, documents, etc.   Habitica Sometimes people need a little extra incentive to keep up their productivity. Habitica can help you “gamify” your duties, but only if you allow it to. It’s is a free habit building and productivity app that treats your daily tasks like an RPG game, providing you with in-game rewards and punishments to help motivate you. Complete a task to earn gold, or fail to do something and lose some health. It can be especially effective if used among a group (roommates, coworkers, club members, etc). However, you have to be willing and able to be completely honest with yourself about your productivity. Other productivity apps include Site Block, Momentum App and Forest App.   Purdue OWL This site... read more

Financial Aid: Explained

School will be starting back next month and it’s important to understand the basics of paying for your education. In 2014-15, about two-thirds of full-time students paid for college with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships, but sometime the process can be difficult to navigate. Below is a helpful guide explaining a few aspects regarding student financial aid, but it is recommended to do additional research and visit your financial aid office at school. FAFSA The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA is made available to the public on October 1 and is recommended that students fill it out as soon as possible. Types of Aid Hope Scholarship In Georgia, HOPE Scholarships are merit-based awards — independent of family income — and available to all students from Georgia pursuing an undergraduate degree. They pay for tuition at any in-state two- or four-year college or university and most fees. The tuition award amount is determined annually by the Georgia Student Finance Commission as a “per credit hour rate” which is published on their website. All HOPE programs require students to meet basic requirements. An eligible student must: Meet HOPE’s U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen requirements Be a legal resident of Georgia Be in compliance with Selective Service registration requirements Be in good standing on all student loans or other financial aid programs Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990 Not... read more

Meet Damita Glaude: Editorial Intern

Damita Glaude’s involvement in politics is relatively new as this will be her first real foray into activism and organizing. Her training as a journalist and experiences in college provided an opportunity to learn about issues affecting the people around her as well as outside communities. Now, Damita, who has a bachelor’s in communication from Kennesaw State University, hopes to use her skills to inform and advocate for change. Q&A What inspires you to get involved in the political process? My freshman year in college was instrumental in helping me develop a voice and a passion for helping people. Growing up, I thought that politics was an old man’s game. I would never know enough to ever get involved. But change starts where you are, using the tools you have access to. College taught me that you can make a difference by using the unique skills and voice you have and I think I finally have enough courage to do so. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why? I would love to meet Audre Lorde. Lorde’s thoughts on women in academia, queer women navigating life and personal politics are still relevant decades after her passing. Her contributions to feminism are unquestionable and I would love to ask her questions on how to be a better activist. Her quote, “Your silence will not protect you,” still shakes me as someone who has tried so hard in the past not to rock the boat and speak up for what I believe in. How do you recharge? I recharge by disengaging. Constantly absorbing news and discussing... read more

Meet Malav Shah: Web Development Intern

  Malav is a web and software developer from India who currently resides in NJ – though he’s usually on the road having adventures just as often as he isn’t. Presently, he is completing his graduation in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. He enjoys the challenge of crafting beautiful and intuitive experiences out of seemingly complex interactions. When he is not coding, you’ll typically find him watching movies or hanging out with his buddies.   Q&A   What inspires you to get involved in the political process? I am very much interested in the politics since my childhood. I grew up in Vadodara, western part of India where India’s current prime minister belongs to. The culture of the area is that is a norm and expectation for the citizens to be involved in the political process since early childhood days. Everyone is taught to get involved in the political process to learn more about it and to ensure a strong democracy. Since my childhood days, I am watching the political processes taking place around me. My uncle is very much very active in politics and has taught me many ways to be a successful candidate in the political process.   If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why? There are many historical figures I would love to meet like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, but among all of them would be George Washington. The Founding father of The United States of America, George Washington, is till date one of the greatest leaders that we have ever seen. He led the American... read more

Meet Olivia Todd: Digital Media Intern

  Olivia Todd is a recent graduate of Georgia College and State University, where she received her B.A in Mass Communications. She is a feminist that firmly believes in fairness, democracy and equality. Olivia doesn’t have extensive experience working in politics, but is incredibly excited to connect with her community and help spread awareness. Q&A What inspires you to get involved in the political process? I am inspired by my peers whose lives are being affected by political decisions. I used to be empathetic towards the whole process, but after hearing stories from marginalized people and witnessing what change can be made by people rallying, donating and fighting I was motivated to join the cause. Politics impact each and every one of us and it’s important be aware of what’s going on both locally and nationally.   If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why? This was a hard one, but I think I’d choose Ida B. Wells. One of my favorite subjects to learn about in history class were the muckrakers, journalists that exposed corruption during the Progressive Era, and Ida definitely helped inspire that wave of journalism. She owned the Free Speech newspaper where she wrote about issues of race, politics and led an anti-lynching campaign that helped expose the horrible events occurring in the south. She was a suffragette that lead protests on the White House, established civil rights organizations and never stopped fighting for what she believed. As someone who is passionate about the power of communication and the written word, I think she’s amazing.   How do you recharge?... read more

Meet Jonathan Mangrum: Policy Intern

  Jonathan Mangrum has lived in Augusta, Georgia all his life, and he been interested in politics since he began college two years ago. He studies political science and economics at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where he left for a semester to study and intern in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, Jonathan plans to serve in the military or return to Washington to continue his education or find work. Q&A What inspires you to get involved in the political process? I want to make constructive contributions and changes like anyone else, and I think I offer the most to myself and the world by working in politics. Politics isn’t a game, but it involves a lot of strategy to solve complex problems. If I can meaningfully contribute to conversations on issues that impact everyday life, I think I’ve found where I need to be. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why? I don’t know a thing about this person, but I would like to meet my first relative who moved to America. I can’t imagine the life he or she must have lived, but I would like to know more about it. If it has to be a famous historical figure, I would like to meet Button Gwinnett, a founding father of the United States, a Georgian signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one of my ancestors. How do you recharge? I relax in a few different ways. A full night of sleep or a hot shower never hurt anyone, but I feel best when I accomplish something. That might... read more

Meet Ben Lathrop: Motion Graphics Intern

  Ben Lathrop was inspired by his home city Erie PA to help inform young people of political processes. He has worked on a number of independent projects in a variety of media and has recently branched out to motion graphics. Ben has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Applied Media Arts Degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Q&A What inspires you to get involved in the political process? I want to help combat political apathy, especially among younger voters. Too often do I hear the phrase, “I’m not going to vote because my one vote doesn’t matter.”  In all actuality, young voters are the most important group in politics. I feel they just need more information pertaining to what’s going on and how to make change happen. If I can help people understand what’s going on politically, even if I just make visual aids, then I believe I’m helping make a difference in society. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why? There are quite a few people I’d like to talk with, one of them being Theodore Roosevelt. He knew how to get things done and didn’t let anything stop him from achieving his goals. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” He showed people that great things can happen, if only people are willing to work toward those goals. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” How do you recharge? I recharge after enjoying a good story. An engaging novel or movie is great for inspiration. Storytelling brings us all closer together, so I’m always on the... read more

5 Common Trans Myths We Need to Bust

Happy Pride Month, everyone! The month is almost over but before it ends, we wanted to dispel just a few myths surrounding trans people and the issues they face. Let’s begin! 1. Being transgender is about adhering to a strict binary. When one hears the term “transgender” they might think it means transitioning from one gender to another. However, that’s not necessarily the case. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, gender is a bit more flexible than that. In addition to identifying as a man or woman, people identify as both, neither or somewhere in between. Thinking about gender in more complex and nuanced ways will help bridge the gap in understanding trans identity. 2. Transgender people using their preferred bathroom will cause spikes in sexual assault cases. As “bathroom bills” continue to pop up around the U.S. in an attempt to lower sexual assault risks, much debate has been sparked around the idea that letting trans people use the bathroom of their choosing is dangerous. The argument that having protections in place for trans people who want to use their preferred bathroom will encourage sexual predators to use those protections to their own advantages. However, there appears to be no proof that anti-discrimination laws regarding gender identity has led to an increase in sexual assault cases in bathrooms. This CNN article debunking that argument actually states that trans people are more likely to be harassed in bathrooms, which brings us to the next myth. 3. Trans people don’t face violence and discrimination. Representation of trans people is still very sparse in our media today and there... read more

Introducting Shift: In

As a civic engagement organization, a lot of times we get the question: what exactly is civic engagement? Is it voting? Is it being on a board? Is it lobbying? Is it sharing something on Facebook? We believe it’s a mix of all of that, and more. So in order to expand access and lower the barrier of entry to civic engagement, we’d like to introduce our new video series: Shift: In Our goal is to shift the civic process in as many news feeds and timelines as possible, so young people can quickly understand how it relates to them, where they can can get engaged, and how. The series will feature a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, campus news, legislative updates, and a few surprises as well. In this episode, we cover House Bill 51, House Bill 37, and also interview Jordan Johnson, a young leader in Augusta, about his role in the Richmond County school system and how to get involved on the local level. **** Help us keep this going by donating here: https://georgiashift.com/contribute/ Find your state representative: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ Like the orgs featured in this episode: Students Against House Bill 51 GALEO.org Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta Music: OBESØN – Runnin’ (https://soundcloud.com/obeson/runnin) Dan Farber – Take Me High (https://soundcloud.com/dan_farber/take-me-high) What So Not X George Maple ft. Rome Fortune – Buried (https://soundcloud.com/whatsonot/buried)... read more