Governor Nathan Deal wants top-performing Georgia high school students to receive free tuition at public colleges.
Deal on Tuesday outlined sweeping changes he is proposing to the state's lottery-funded HOPE scholarship, which is struggling financially.
“Facing bankruptcy of the lottery program in 2013, I worked closely with members of the General Assembly to save Georgia’s prized jewel, the HOPE scholarship, for the next generation of Georgians,” Deal said. “With this plan we are going to maintain one of the most generous scholarship programs the United States has ever seen or will ever see. Even in the tough economic times we are facing, HOPE is going to endure, it’s going to thrive.”
Deal revealed legislation that will create the Zell Miller Scholarship program; the program, named for the governor who created HOPE (in 1993), will maintain full tuition coverage for Georgia’s highest-achieving students. Students in that category would earn at least a 3.7 grade point average and a 1,200 SAT score would continue to get free public college tuition.
“Zell Miller’s HOPE scholarship is a distinctly Georgian program that serves as a point of pride for every resident of our great state,” he said. “This plan today is endorsed by Zell Miller, and I’m honored to announce the creation of the Zell Miller Scholarship, which will serve as a reward to Georgia’s best and brightest students and will encourage them to remain in Georgia."
For those students with at least a 3.0 grade point average, the grant would cover 90 percent of tuition.
Concerning Pre-K, Deal said the program will continue to receive one-third of all lottery-funded expenditures and will remain a voluntary, universal, free program serving 4-year-olds across the state regardless of a family’s economic status.
In order to make several programmatic changes to Pre-K, Deal announced that the state will move from a six-and-a-half hour day to a four-hour day.