Misguided Efforts Fail to Make College More Affordable

Gubernatorial hopeful Jack Wagner pledged to start a scholarship program to help students who decide to stay in Pennsylvania to attend college. The proposed HOPE (Helping Our Pupils to Excel) Scholarship would give financial aid to students at state-owned universities with a 3.0 grade-point average. The idea is modeled after Georgia’s HOPE program, though that program did not work quite as expected – more students attend Georgia’s state colleges, but the number of students going to college did not change.

Wagner’s proposal will add-on to an already extensive list of grants and subsidies to higher education institutions. Pennsylvania’s four-year, public universities have the fourth highest tuition in the nation and Pennsylvania college graduates shoulder the sixth highest college debt burden in the nation, despite these large state grant program in the country.

Making college more affordable begins with revamping the current spending system, including replacing direct state subsidies to universities with scholarship grants to students.