Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the University of Georgia will join in the efforts of awarding low-income students through the state's new needs-based REACH Scholarship program. UGA will match the REACH Scholarship award for any REACH scholars that are accepted to and enroll in the institution. This announcement makes UGA the second state school, joining Georgia Tech, to make this commitment since this week's launch of the scholarship.
"It is imperative that our state's students have the opportunity to achieve higher education regardless of their family's income," said Deal. "The REACH Scholarship is a way to help Georgians succeed in their academic endeavors by rewarding those showing good moral character and dedication to their studies. UGA and Tech's 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 to afford college.
"I hope that schools across the state will note this leadership and decide to get on board and continue to expand the scope and promise of the REACH scholarship."
REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Scholars will be selected in middle school and will sign a contract to maintain a certain grade point average, remain free of crime, drugs and behavior issues and meet with a volunteer mentor until they graduate from high school. Their parents or guardians will sign a contract to support their student through their education. Students meeting the requirements will receive a renewable yearly tuition scholarship of $2,500 to be used at any HOPE-eligible institution. UGA's announcement today commits it to matching the first-year awards.
"Gov. Deal's newly announced need-based scholarship program fits well with UGA's growing focus on providing financial aid for those who most need it," UGA President Michael Adams said. "With the ready support of the UGA Foundation for this effort, we are pleased to be able to match the REACH Scholarship funding for any student who qualifies for admission to UGA under the scholarship during its first year."
The program is beginning as a pilot project in the Bulloch, Douglas and Rabun County school systems, with additional districts to be added each year. Middle school students selected for the program this fall will enter college in the fall of 2017.
The REACH Scholarship is funded at the state level by private dollars contributed to a 501(c)3 tax-exempt foundation housed at the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which also administers the HOPE Scholarship. Likewise, UGA's matching of funds would come through the private University of Georgia Foundation.