Georgia Tech students watch as balloons fall during its 2019 commencement ceremony. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Report: Georgia ranks 17th in college student needs-based aid

Georgia’s colleges and universities provide its students an average of nearly $2,000 in needs-based scholarships and grants, the 17th highest rate in the nation, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Georgia provided an average of $1,952.57, according to LendEDU, a website that provides information about finances and frequently produces reports on college finances.

California ranked first in the report, providing nearly $5,200 per student. Montana ranked last, providing $44.78 per student.

The findings by LendEDU come amid more discussion among educators, state lawmakers and presidential candidates about rising student loan debt and increasing college costs. LendEDU based its findings on the number of Georgia students who receive scholarships and grants from the state, according to research analyst Ted McCarthy. It does not include students receiving state financial aid in terms of loans, he said.

> RELATED: Georgia students’ struggle to pay tuition puts pressure on legislators

By some estimates, more than 10,000 Georgia students drop out every year due to financial hardship. State lawmakers passed a bill on the final day of last year’s legislative session aimed at filling the gap, but the final version of the legislation did not set aside a pot of money for students.

Some Georgia schools have tried to do more for students with significant financial need. Georgia Tech’s foundation announced in late June it has raised $17 million for a new needs-based aid scholarship program. 

Georgia Tech, along with Emory University and Spelman College, are the three Georgia schools that are part of the American Talent Initiative, a nationwide effort among some high-performing schools to enroll and graduate more low-income students.

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