The legislation is a compromise to the initial proposal by Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, that would have paid full tuition for about 85,000 tech students already receiving the HOPE grant, which requires at least a 2.0 GPA. That plan would have cost about $30 million a year, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which administers the HOPE program.
The HOPE grant pays about $730 of the $900 that technical college costs each semester, system officials said. The Zell Miller expansion will fund the gap for some students.
Deal also included $5 million in the budget to expand the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant, which pays the full tuition for HOPE grant recipients pursuing high-demand fields. The additional allocation brings the total funding for the program to $11.5 million and will benefit about 12,000 tech students each year.