State Agency Approves New Dual Enrollment Caps, Grade-Level Restrictions and SAT/ACT Deadlines for HOPE

The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) Board of Commissioners approved several policy changes to Dual Enrollment, HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships on May 1. Dual Enrollment changes follow the passage of House Bill 444, legislation designed to curb cost growth in the fast-growing program, which the governor signed on April 28.

Other policy changes come in response to the cancellation of SAT and ACT administrations due to COVID-19. GSFC uses SAT and ACT test scores to determine which students qualify for Zell Miller scholarships and was set to consider the scores for some Dual Enrollment courses beginning July 1.

High School Graduates Trying to Qualify for Zell Miller Scholarship Can Submit SAT and ACT Scores Through End of 2020

Eligibility requirements for the full-tuition Zell Miller Scholarship include:

  • 3.7 high school HOPE GPA (core courses only)
  • 4 academically rigorous courses, like Advanced Placement
  • SAT score of 1200 and/or ACT score of 26
    • Deadline extended to December 30, 2020

Students who meet the high school GPA and rigor requirements have until December 30, 2020 to earn qualifying SAT and ACT scores. In the meantime, students will receive the HOPE Scholarship. After submitting the requisite test scores, GSFC will retroactively award the difference between the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship so students receive the full Zell Miller award.

Until then, students can apply for a Student Access Loan (SAL) for the difference between the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships. If students become eligible for Zell Miller, GSFC will cancel the loan.

Student Access Loan (SAL) Can Provide Short-Term Support for Students Unable to Take SAT/ACT

HOPE Scholarship Students with 3.0 GPA will get HOPE Scholarship
+ Difference between HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship Students with 3.7 GPA will get difference after submitting qualifying SAT/ACT scores by Dec 2020. Or students with 3.7 GPA can apply for loan to cover difference, which the state will cancel after student submits qualifying scores.
= Zell Miller Scholarship (full tuition) Students with 3.7 GPA and SAT/ACT scores will get Zell Miller Scholarship

Home school students also rely on SAT and ACT scores for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships and can submit scores through December 2020. Qualifying scores for home school students are the 75th percentile for the HOPE Scholarship and 93rd percentile for the Zell Miller Scholarship. GSFC will award scholarships retroactively. Home study students without GPAs who wish to qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship can apply for SAL loans up to the Zell Miller award amount.

Summary of Dual Enrollment Changes Beginning July 1, 2020

  • All new Dual Enrollment students will be subject to a 30-semester-hour funding cap.
    • Students pursuing the “Option B/SB 2” high school diploma path are exempt. Option B is an alternate graduation path that combines basic high school courses and an associate degree, technical college diploma or two technical college certificates
  • Current Dual Enrollment student funding limits are as follows:
    • Students with fewer than 19 credit hours are subject to the 30-hour cap
    • Students with 19 or more credit hours can take 12 more credit hours
  • Students who meet the 30-hour cap can choose to continue taking courses in approved high-demand areas. But they must meet HOPE residency requirements, and these credit hours are included in the 63-hour HOPE Grant lifetime awards cap.
  • Only core academic and career, technical and agricultural education (CTAE) courses are eligible for Dual Enrollment.
  • Dual Enrollment funding will not cover course retakes. After two course withdrawals, students can no longer participate in Dual Enrollment.

New Dual Enrollment Eligibility by Grade Level and Course Type

Grade Level Core Academic Courses
CTAE Courses
9th Not eligible
10th Must score 1200 on SAT
or 26 on ACT*
11th Eligible
12th Eligible

*The deadline for 10th-graders to submit SAT/ACT scores is December 30, 2020. In the meantime, they must self-pay for Dual Enrollment. Colleges will refund students after they submit eligible scores. Tenth-graders who did Dual Enrollment as 9th graders are exempt.

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