Imagine earning a college degree from a good school in the Peach Tree state and graduating debt free! Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to take advantage of Georgia grants and scholarships that will cover your college expenses. If you live in Georgia or wish to study there, check out your options for financial assistance to buffer the surging cost of tuition and fees.

Compete for Prestigious Scholarship

If you are a gifted and talented student with perfect grades and dazzling college admission test scores, you may want to face down the competition for an elite scholarship at a school in Georgia. Some Georgia colleges award full scholarships to extraordinary scholars with high potential. For example, Georgia Tech applicants who are in the top 1 percent of their class may compete for a full-ride Stamps President’s Scholarship. The school gives out 20 of these scholarships to Georgia residents and 20 scholarships to students who live in other states or countries. Similarly, domestic and international students may compete for renewable, full merit-based scholarships to attend Emory University. Students selected to participate in the Emory University Scholars Program attend the school, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia tuition-free.

Consider a HOPE Scholarship

Students in Georgia who meet eligibility criteria can receive tuition assistance through the state lottery-funded Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) scholarship. Typically, students qualify by earning a diploma from a HOPE-eligible high school and achieving a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who are not eligible when starting college can apply after completing 30 semester hours of college coursework and earning an overall 3.0 GPA. In addition to the HOPE scholarship, income-eligible students may apply for need-based scholarships and grants. Stacked awards can cover tuition, fees and all college-related expenses.

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Enroll in Free Trade Schools

Technically speaking, trade schools are not free in Georgia. However, state residents may receive financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships that cover the total cost of completing a diploma or certificate offered at many schools across the state. Residents who maintain a 2.0 GPA can receive tuition assistance through a Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) grant, defraying up to 63 semester hours of study. Further, HOPE grant recipients qualify for a HOPE Career Grant if they enroll in programs where a shortage exists in the Georgia workforce. Examples of high demand occupations include automotive technology, carpentry, cybersecurity, practical nursing and welding. Income-eligible students who submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) may receive additional funding up to the cost of attendance.

Enlist in Georgia ROTC Program

You may want to consider enlisting in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) if you like the idea of protecting your country and taking on a leadership job in the service after graduation. For ROTC students residing in Georgia, free college is a possibility. Students may compete for full-ride national ROTC scholarships if they meet eligibility criteria. More often, Georgia residents enter the ROTC program with a HOPE grant and then collect military benefits that cover their other college expenses. Students on ROTC scholarship sign a contract agreeing to fulfill an active duty component after finishing college. Choice of a major is flexible in the Army ROTC. Some branches of the military offer full scholarships to ROTC students majoring in STEM or foreign languages.

About the Author

Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of student whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.