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What Are the Best Scholarships in Georgia?

Greetings from Georgia

If you are currently researching how to finance a college education in Georgia, you may want to tap into the pool of scholarship dollars awarded by the state and various other state-based organizations. (See online colleges in Georgia).

It is especially important for current students to do their research, because, according to data by the College Board, in-state tuition at public, four-year colleges in Georgia was $8,094 for the 2013-2014 school year. That's a stunning increase of 46% compared to the 2004-2005 school year. See these figures dramatically visualized in our tuition heat map.

How is the state of Georgia combating these huge increases in tuition, and what are the best scholarships for Georgia's students to focus on? For these questions, we turn to two financial aid experts from the Peach State: Lee Ann Kirkland, Middle Georgia State College's Director of Financial Aid and Pat Barton, Clayton State University's Director of Financial Aid. Read on for their advice and list of resources.


MGSC

Lee Ann Kirkland

Lee Ann Kirkland, Director of Financial Aid, Middle Georgia State College


1. What do you think are some of the best scholarships and financial aid opportunities in Georgia?

One of our best scholarship programs is the GA Hero and Public Safety Memorial Grant.


2. How can students in Georgia make their aid money go further?

Plan, plan and plan some more. Students need to consider their options for getting their degrees. Some students save money by attending State Colleges for undergrad and then onto research institutions for grad school. There are several opportunities to save, but students MUST plan!


3. How is the state of Georgia making it easier or more difficult for students to pay for college?

Georgia has protected the HOPE program via codifying it into law. Funds are protected. The state is also invested in providing services to students through their state agencies such as the Board of Regents and the Georgia Student Finance Commission.


CSU

Pat Barton

Pat Barton, Director of Financial Aid, Clayton State University


1. What do you think are some of the best scholarships and financial aid opportunities in Georgia?

HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships are the two best Georgia scholarship offered. The ACCEL program is also an excellent scholarship that helps offset future college costs. It allows students to earn college credit while still in high school reducing the hours needed once they enter college as a regular student.

The Student Access Loan Programs (SAL and SALT) are state loans with a 1% interest rate. These loans are unique to Georgia and provide a great low-cost way to students to meet financial need not covered by federal aid.

2. How can students in Georgia make their aid money go further?

1) Identify your major early on and stick with it. Changing majors frequently can increase the number of courses needed to graduate. 2) Take only those courses needed for graduation - no fluff. 3) Keep withdrawals to a minimum by considering other responsibilities and work schedules before you register so you are not overloaded. 4) Take advantage of the ACCEL program that covers tuition for high school students earning college credit.

3. How is the state of Georgia making it easier or more difficult for students to pay for college?

Students in Georgia are fortunate to have some unique programs to assist with college expenses as noted in the earlier questions. The public institutions also make every effort to keep tuition increases to a minimum for Georgia students.


Online Resources

  1. GAcollege411, www.gacollege411.org
  2. GA Hero, http://www.gsfc.org/main/publishing/pdf/2015/2015-HERO.pdf
  3. Public Safety Memorial Grant, http://www.gsfc.org/main/publishing/pdf/2015/2015-Public%20Safety%20Memorial%20Grant.pdf
  4. University System of Georgia, http://www.usg.edu/
  5. HOPE, https://secure.gacollege411.org/Financial_Aid_Planning/HOPE_Program/Georgia_s_HOPE_Scholarship_Program_Overview.aspx
  6. Zell Miller Scholarships, https://secure.gacollege411.org/Financial_Aid_Planning/Scholarships/Zell_Miller_Scholarship/Zell_Miller_Scholarship_Program_Overview.aspx
  7. ACCEL Program, https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Pages/ACCEL-Program.aspx
  8. Student Access Loan Programs, https://www.gsfc.org/Secure/lg/index_postdeadline.cfm

Sources:

  1. Lee Ann Kirkland, interview with the author, December 2014
  2. Pat Barton, interview with the author, December 2014