Getting College Aid in Georgia
Your Degree Doesn't Have to Cost You So Much
The Georgia state government understands that a well educated populace is integral to a healthy and growing economy. To this end, the state legislature has developed a wide range of scholarships and grants dedicated to helping Georgia’s residents afford a college education. These programs are administered through GAcollege411, and run the gamut from general financial aid to career specific scholarships and grants designed to increase the number of qualified teachers and nurses within the state. For resident students in the great state of Georgia, a college education has never been more affordable or more accessible.
The FAFSA and The Student Aid Report
All students applying for any Federal or state supported college financial aid must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The information students submit on the FAFSA application is used to determine the levels of financial aid for which they are qualified. After submitting the FAFSA, students will receive their personalized Student Aid Report which will explain their Expected Family Contribution and describe the types of financial aid that they are eligible to receive.
All Federal and state financial aid programs use the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility for scholarships, grants and education loans. The FAFSA is also used by most colleges and independent scholarship sponsors to determine final award recipients. Filling out the FAFSA should be every college-bound students first step on the road to financial aid.
General Scholarships and Grants
Georgia offers a variety of general scholarships and grants designed to help its residents meet the costs of a college tuition. These financial aid programs are only available to state residents, and funds are only applicable to state colleges and universities. As with all state supported financial aid for college students, programs are subject to change according to the availability of funds and the discretion of the state legislature.
The following general grants and scholarships are currently being sponsored by the state of Georgia.
- The Georgia HOPE Scholarship is available to graduating seniors of a Georgia state high school who have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA and who are enrolled, or preparing to enroll, as a degree seeking student in a state college or university. Award amounts vary, and range from $900 to $1800 per semester.
- Georgia’s HERO Scholarship Program is open to military reservists, their children and spouses. To be eligible, reservists must have seen active-duty in a combat zone. Eligible recipients may receive up to $2000 per year in scholarship funds, not to exceed a total of $8000 over four years.
- The Zell Miller Scholarship Program is a supplemental award to the Georgia HOPE scholarship. To be eligible, students must graduate from a participating high school either as a valedictorian or with a minimum 3.7 GPA. Students must also complete the SAT with a minimum score of 1200. Award amounts vary according to the students choice of school and their total cost of tuition.
- Georgia’s HOPE Grant Program is distinct from the HOPE scholarship, and provides funds for students who are working towards a degree or certificate of completion at a state college or university. Students may be enrolled full-time or part-time, but must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Award amounts vary.
- The Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program is designed to help resident students offset the high cost of a private college tuition. This is a strictly merit-based program. Eligible students may receive up to $350 per semester to help defray their tuition costs at a private for profit college or university.
- The Georgia Public Safety Memorial Grant is a merit-based award designed to benefit the children of public safety officers or first responders who have been disabled or killed in the line of duty. Students must be enrolled in a state college, university or technical school. Recipients will receive a grant equal to the total cost of their tuition less any other financial aid.
- Georgia’s HOPE GED Grant is available to students who have been awarded a GED from the Technical College System of Georgia. Recipients will receive a one time award of $500 to be put toward tuition costs at a participating state college or university.
Specialized Studies Programs
Like many states across the country, Georgia is suffering from a shortage of qualified teachers and nurses. A number of scholarship programs have been put in place, both by the state and by local professional associations, to help address these critical shortages.
The following subject-specific scholarship programs are designed to encourage and support students who are pursuing careers as teachers or nurses within the state of Georgia.
- The Charles McDaniel Teacher Scholarship is a merit-based award available to full-time students enrolled in a teaching program at a state college or university. Students must be classified as a junior or senior, and must have at least a 3.25 GPA. Three $1000 scholarships are awarded annually.
- The PROMISE Teacher Scholarship is available to undergraduate juniors and seniors who are enrolled in a teaching program at a participating Georgia college or university. This is an award-for-service program, and recipients will be required to teach for one year within the state’s education system for every $1500 in scholarship funds they receive. The PROMISE program awards 1600 scholarships annually.
- The Georgia Association for Nursing Education awards three annual scholarship for nursing students within the state. The Lucy Willard Scholarship, the Sarah Helen Kilgore Scholarship and the Spillman-Bischoff Scholarship. The purpose of these scholarships is to increase the number of qualified nurses within the state. Award amounts vary according to availability of funds.
Residents students in the state of Georgia have access to some of the most valuable scholarships and grants in the country. The few programs discussed here are only a sampling of what is available to students in the Empire State of the South. For more information on these and other programs, as well as information on accredited colleges and universities within the state, students should visit GAcollege411 for details.