Scholarship changes for homeschool students - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Scholarship changes for homeschool students

Homeschool students are now eligible for the Zell Miller state scholarship. (Source: WALB) Homeschool students are now eligible for the Zell Miller state scholarship. (Source: WALB)
Abigail Smith was a first year Hope Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology. (Source: Sandra Smith) Abigail Smith was a first year Hope Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology. (Source: Sandra Smith)
Homeschool students must score high on their ACT and SAT's to be eligible for the scholarships. (Source: WALB) Homeschool students must score high on their ACT and SAT's to be eligible for the scholarships. (Source: WALB)
Sandra Smith homeschooled her children. (Source: WALB) Sandra Smith homeschooled her children. (Source: WALB)
Cynthia George is the director of institutional advancement at Darton. (Source: WALB) Cynthia George is the director of institutional advancement at Darton. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The state of Georgia is making scholarships more available to homeschooled students. 

A full ride is now possible for homeschooled students looking to attend a state university. 

A typical high school student with a high GPA is eligible for the Hope and Zell Miller Scholarships, but the requirements are different for homeschooled students.

But starting next semester, the most prestigious merit-based scholarship will be a possibility for them too.

Sandra Smith is a mother of three who has homeschooled her two youngest daughters their whole life. 

Her youngest daughter is a rising junior at Georgia Tech. She received the HOPE scholarship, which is 80 percent of tuition, but not because of her GPA. 

"It's a little more difficult to evaluate them because of the parents assigning the GPA," said Smith.

Instead, she had to have high SAT and ACT scores. 

She could get the HOPE scholarship, but there was no way for her to be eligible for the Zell Miller during her first year. 

And for one-income homeschooling households that scholarship would help.

"They are going to count of these funds for their kid's education, so having access to them is very valuable," said Smith.

Instead, she had to wait two semesters and prove that she could keep a high GPA.

Now, that has changed.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission decided that homeschooled students could qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship if they held high SAT and ACT scores. 

"They have been very supportive of home education and trying to be inclusive of the home educated students," said Smith. 

These standards only apply to state scholarships. If your child is applying for academic scholarships at state colleges --- like Darton --- the guidelines for scholarships are equal. 

"We offer a number of scholarships to homeschool students so they are never treated any differently," said Cynthia George, Darton VP of Institutional Advancement.

Smith''s other children attended private universities so these state scholarships were not an issue.

"It was doable, but it was a process," said Smith.

She is happy other parents won't have to go through the same process as she did with her youngest. 

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