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State toughens HOPE requirements
Some high school students with good enough grades to qualify for the state's HOPE Scholarship for college may have to be even better students as the state toughens requirements.

In addition to having a 3.0 grade point average, this year's juniors graduating in the Class of 2015 will need to pass at least two state-defined rigorous courses, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes.

For the Class of 2016 (this year's sophomores), students will need to pass three such courses, and beginning with the Class of 2017 (this year's freshmen) it will be four.

Many Glynn County students with their eyes on receiving the lottery-funded scholarship have already upped the level of difficulty in their high school classes just to make themselves more competitive for college admission.

"Most of our students are already taking the extra rigor," said Julie Spires, Glynn Academy registrar. "If you meet the requirements to graduate, you're probably already taking advanced classes."

Spires says she hopes new HOPE Scholarship rules will encourage more students to take advanced classes, which she says better prepare them for higher education.

"There are plenty of options at both high schools (in Glynn County). We just have to make students aware," Spires said. "In the advanced science category, lots of students are taking chemistry and physics, but if a student doesn't excel in one subject, there are advanced options in others, like math, English and more."

Students in dual-enrollment programs that allow them to take classes at College of Coastal Georgia or Altamaha Technical College while in high school can use those course credits to meet new HOPE requirements.

Spires says students who have at least three credits of the same foreign language, advancing in the subject, will be able to use those to meet requirements.

Details about the HOPE Scholarship are online at

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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