Georgia Senate Passes Bill Creating the Zell Miller Grant

ATLANTA (March 20, 2014)  |  The Georgia Senate today approved House Bill 697, a bill that establishes the Zell Miller Grant and defines additional opportunities for taxpayer contributions towards educational assistance nonprofits. The bill passed unanimously by a vote of 56 to 0 and carried by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R – Dalton). Rep. Stacey Evans (D – Smyrna) sponsored the bill in the House.

“HB 697 expands the state’s ability to provide alternatives for higher education funding, and also ensures our highest achieving students are being recognized for their efforts,” said Sen. Bethel. “This bill received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and is strongly supported by Governor Deal.”

HB 697 creates the Zell Miller Grant, a new subprogram of the HOPE Grant. The Zell Miller Grant will cover full tuition for students enrolled in a certificate or diploma program who achieve and maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. Based on current enrollment numbers, the Zell Miller Grant will cover approximately 16,000 students attending schools within the Technical College System of Georgia in FY 2015.

HB 697 also allows taxpayers to contribute to nonprofits created by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) to aid students with education expenses through Georgia income tax return forms. The funds collected will be equally distributed to the GSFC nonprofits.

HB 697 will now transfer to the Governor Deal’s desk, where it will await his approval via signature into Georgia law.


Contact:          Jennifer Yarber, Director