Georgia Center for Opportunity Lauds Approval of Tax Credit Scholarship Expansion
ATLANTA – On the final day of Georgia’s 2018 legislative session, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill expanding the state’s wildly popular tax credit scholarship program. House Bill 217, championed by State Representative John Carson, lifts the program’s current cap of $58 million to $100 million over a span of ten years.
The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) had been a staunch advocate for the original bill, which first passed in 2009. Since its adoption, the program has increasingly suffered from over-demand, both from donors who were unable to give to the initiative and students who were unable to take advantage of the scholarship due to an arbitrary cap on the program.
GCO President and CEO Randy Hicks applauded lawmakers for taking a “bold stand for Georgia’s students.”
“For too long, too many kids have been waiting in line for the opportunity to attend a school that better fits their needs,” Hicks said. “By passing an expansion of the tax credit scholarship program, the Georgia General Assembly has set a standard of prioritizing students and providing hope to thousands of families for years to come.”
According to state law, the amount given per scholarship must not exceed the average state and local per-pupil expenditures. In 2017, that amount stood at $9,468, though the average scholarship awarded in 2015 was reported to be $3,425.
“By raising the state cap another $42 million, you’re creating a potential situation where over 5,000 families at least can take advantage of this program, though it will likely be much more,” Hicks added. “That’s more than a number, it represents lives that will be changed for the better thanks to the passage of HB 217.”
House Bill 217 now goes to Governor Nathan Deal’s desk for signature.