Georgia State University undergraduate students get on the stage at the 2018 commencement ceremony at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta on May 10, 2018. The university had 2,638 transfer students last fall, more than any other University System of Georgia institution. Kennesaw State University was a close second, with 2,347 transfer students. (REANN HUBER/REANN.HUBER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AJC ON CAMPUS: Ga A&M U explained, Warren’s student debt plan 

Making college less expensive is a frequent topic for educators, students and others. This week, one presidential candidate presented her plan to lower costs for students, a prominent University of Georgia graduate opened her checkbook to support student scholarships at her alma mater and a group of UGA supporters discussed a different approach to lower college costs.

Here’s a look at some of this and other topics in this week’s AJC On Campus.

Agnes Scott’s inauguration

Leocadia "Lee" Zak is the new president of Agnes Scott College.

Agnes Scott College is planning quite the party Friday afternoon to celebrate the inauguration of its ninth president, Leocadia “Lee” Zak. She arrived on campus in July, but the official inauguration ceremony typically takes a few months. 

Commencement speakers

Several schools announced this week who will give keynote addresses at their commencement ceremonies next month. Spelman College’s decision to have Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speak drew some jeers. Here’s the list of some speakers in and around metro Atlanta.

Justice Dept. opinion’s potential impact on Ga. colleges

SECONDARY PHOTO - January 12, 2016 Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport : Lines formed outside at the Georgia Lottery Airport South Kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 as the record-breaking Powerball jackpot continued to climb, hitting $1.5 billion ahead of Wednesdays' drawing, according to the Georgia Lottery. Players who would take the cash option would win $930 million, before taxes. Winning isn't everything, though, and players should expect a barrage of con artists, lawsuit filers and taxes when they win. Remember, though, even if Wednesday's drawing fails to declare a winner, the children are the real winners. Since Powerball began rolling over on Nov. 7, the jackpot has generated an estimated $26.9 million for Georgia Lottery-funded Pre-K and HOPE Scholarships. Players have had until 10 p.m. Wednesday to buy $2 tickets, according to lottery officials. The drawing was held at 11 p.m. EST. and the result not available at the time of this report. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC

A recent U.S. Justice Department opinion could cost Georgia some of the money that pays for programs such as the popular HOPE Scholarship, according to a published report. There’s uncertainty over the legality of online gambling that crosses state lines. The Associated Press said states are “anxiously waiting on a clarification from the Justice Department about its opinion that, if strictly interpreted, would outlaw lottery tickets sold online and prohibit all lottery-related activities that use the internet.” Some lottery funds help for scholarship programs. The Georgia Attorney General’s Office sent us a letter Friday morning recently co-signed by Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr that seeks clarification on the issue, stating they do not believe the online lottery sales violates the federal Wire Act. They noted the lottery “provides about a $1 billion annually in financial assistance to students each year.” We’ll stay tuned on this one.

About that Georgia A&M bill

For weeks, many inquiring minds have wondered what was the rationale for the last-minute bill in the Georgia Legislature that would create a new system called “Georgia A&M University” from the state’s public historically black colleges and universities. (The bill was withdrawn.) The bill’s author, Sen. Lester Jackson, a Savannah Democrat, explained in an interview with AJC political columnist Jim Galloway. Here’s his story about it.

UGA’s ongoing Baldwin Hall problem

Judge Steve Jones, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia, and UGA President Jere W. Morehead read the inscription at the Baldwin Hall Memorial Credit: University of Georgia
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The University of Georgia’s handling of remains found on a burial site near Baldwin Hall in 2015 continues to draw criticism from some on and around campus. For some, it’s started a larger conversation about how the university can better support descendants of the enslaved and reparations.

Top news dawg gives back to UGA

ABC NEWS - Deborah Roberts. (ABC/Heidi Gutman) DEBORAH ROBERTS
Photo: Heidi Gutman/ABC

ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts is giving $100,000 to her alma mater, the University of Georgia, for needs-based scholarships, the school announced this week. The university’s foundation will give match the gift. Roberts will be the university’s commencement speaker next month for its undergraduate ceremony. 

Top Georgia Tech official resigns after ethics probe

Georgia Tech is in search of a new chief information officer. The school released a report that concluded the official, Mark Hoeting, violated ethics rules when he directed business to a vendor based on a personal relationship with an employee that was romantic at one point. Read more about the internal investigation here.

Elizabeth Warren’s student loan debt solution

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic from Massachusetts who is running for president, made some news earlier this week when she proposed a plan to reduce student loan debt by making college free with a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth. She would also cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with household income under $100,000. Warren said her plan is doable. Others said it’s fantasy. 

Campus carry hearing

The state’s Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday for and against the legality of Georgia’s law that allows licensed gun owners to carry firearms on some portions of public college campuses. Here’s our report about the hearing. A decision is expected later this year.

Education Notebook

AJC education reporter Marlon A. Walker wrote this week about why some educators say it’s so important for journalists to report the positives about school districts. Here’s his report on the topic.

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