Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that several more Georgia universities and colleges will match funds for Georgia’s new needs-based REACH Scholarship program. The privately funded REACH Scholarship will be awarded to any REACH Scholar throughout the state who is accepted and enrolls in these institutions. Georgia Southern University, Life University and 11 member campuses of the Georgia Independent College Association (GICA) have joined in this partnership alongside Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Georgia State University.
“These institutions’ decisions to get involved with REACH will give a lifeline to a world-class education for deserving students who have worked hard but still need a helping hand in affording college,” said Deal. “The leadership and decisions of these schools to get on board with this program further extends our promise to helping young people attain the education they deserve.”
Agnes Scott College, Berry College, Covenant College, Mercer University, Piedmont College, Reinhardt University, Wesleyan College and Young Harris College have all agreed to double the REACH grant for students who choose their campuses. Georgia Southern, Life University and the other three GICA colleges (Andrew College, Emmanuel College and Savannah College of Art and Design) have promised to match the REACH Scholarship award. These commitments will help cover the average gap between other needs-based scholarships, such as the Pell Grant, and the full cost of attendance further expanding the possibility of higher education for more Georgia students.
“The REACH scholarship is about making real change. It will put future generations, those who truly need financial support, in a position to win,” said Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel. “Our goal is not only to train productive workers, but also to provide our students with the resources and the skills they need to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Georgia Southern is proud to play a significant role in increasing students’ access to education.”
Georgia Southern University will support the REACH scholarship by donating a portion of the proceeds it receives from its planned official university license plate. The university is currently working on a new design for its popular license plate and will be working with the state of Georgia to introduce it later this summer.
The REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Scholarship, which was announced last month, selects candidates in middle school who then sign a contract requiring they maintain a certain grade point average, abstain from drug, criminal, and other behavior-related issues and meet with volunteer mentors throughout their academic career until high school graduation. Their parents or guardians will sign a contract indicating they will support their student throughout their education. Students who meet the REACH Scholarship requirements will receive a yearly renewable award of $2,500 to be used at any HOPE-eligible institution.
The REACH scholarship program began as a pilot project in the Bulloch, Douglas and Rabun county school systems, expanding to new districts each year. Middle school students that will be selected for the program this fall will enter college in the fall of 2017.
This program is funded at the state level by private dollars contributed to a 501(c)3 tax-exempt foundation that is housed at the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which also administers the HOPE Scholarship.
More information on the REACH Scholarship program is available at www.gacollege411.org.