My GPA is 2.97 and I am a junior in University. My resume is pretty strong, having around 2 years experience in the industry as a software engineer. I also include work samples with my resume, including small games and web apps. Recently I have been applying to several co-op jobs. In a few of them, I have been contacted by the employer and asked "Do you have a 3.0 GPA?". I respond honestly and say "no". Many of them seem to completely decline based on this alone, despite everything else I have on my resume.
This always seemed odd to me, because in and of itself, this focus on grade-point average influences poor academic behavior. It influences students to avoid taking anything challenging because the risk is too high. Also, many students have the advantage of being full-time students, whereas people like me work full-time while in school.
So why do companies base so much on GPA? And why is the 3.0 cut-off so strictly enforced?