Bill pushes early admissions preference for Georgia college students

State Sen. Brandon Beach speaks during a meeting at the Georgia Capitol. (Photo by Phil Skinner)
State Sen. Brandon Beach speaks during a meeting at the Georgia Capitol. (Photo by Phil Skinner)

A state senator has introduced legislation that would give preference to Georgia students in the highly competitive world of early admissions to some of its top, public universities.

The legislation by Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, would require the state’s four research universities offer at least 90 percent of early action admissions to Georgia resident students. The four research universities are the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Augusta and Georgia State universities.

Beach, who pre-filed the legislation Wednesday, said he did so after a telephone conversation with a University of Georgia official who said 41% of the students recently accepted for early admissions live outside the state.

“We’ve got to take care of our own,” said Beach, who serves on the Senate’s Higher Education committee and plans to call his legislation the “Keep Georgia Kids First Act.”

University System of Georgia officials, which oversee operations at those research institutions under consideration in Beach’s bill, declined comment, saying they do not comment on pending legislation.

> RELATED: University of Georgia received more than 16,500 early action applications and admitted 42%

The University of Georgia, the state’s flagship school, said it received about 16,500 early admissions applications from students hoping to enroll in the 2020 freshman class. UGA accepted 7,025 of those applications. Not all of those students wind up at the university, but many do enroll.

Beach told the story during a telephone interview Friday of a high school senior with strong academic credentials that include a 4.0 grade-point average, 1400 SAT score who had taken 10 honors classes whose application to UGA was deferred, but has been offered a full scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee and has been admitted to Vanderbilt University.

He’s worried such students, after receiving a taxpayer-funded high school education, will leave Georgia for college and never return to this state.

“When they go, they may not come back,” Beach said. “I want to keep our best and brightest in the state of Georgia.”

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