ATLANTA – College students needing a financial boost to complete their degrees would get help from the state under legislation the Georgia House of Representatives passed Tuesday.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

Lawmakers voted 171-3 let students who have earned at least 80% of the credits required for the degree they are seeking  receive a grant of up to $2,500 to help pay their tuition.

The money would help plug a “small gap to get [students] across the finish line,” said House Higher Education Committee Chairman Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, the bill’s chief sponsor.

“Higher education changes life,” added Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Atlanta. “The more kids we can get in our educational system, the better they’re going to be and their families are going to be.”

To qualify, students would have to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission would administer the grant program, subject to state appropriations. The bill would have a sunset date of June 30, 2025, to give lawmakers a chance to determine whether the program is working.

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams/Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.