The Georgia House passes legislation aimed at making it easier for the state’s brightest technical college students to finish school.
The bill by Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) creates the new Zell Miller Grant which offers full tuition to students who make at least a 3.5 GPA.
She says enrollment in the state’s technical colleges has dropped 20 percent since 2011 when changes were first made to the qualifications required to receive the HOPE Grant, the equivalent of the HOPE Scholarship for traditional colleges and universities.
At the time, the GPA was raised to a 3.0 causing thousands to lose the grant and thus drop out of school. Last year lawmakers lowered the qualifying GPA back to a 2.0.
As a result of those dropping out, Evans says a skills gap has developed in the state.
“We’ve got students that we need to get trained that are having to leave because they can’t afford tuition, and we can help with the bill,” says Evans.
She expects 20 percent of technical college students, or 16,000, will be designated as Zell Miller Grant Scholars.
No changes will be made to the HOPE Grant, itself, which will still pay a percentage of tuition for students who maintain a 2.0 GPA.
The bill passed 172-2 and now goes to the Senate.