Senate Bill 233, the “Georgia Promise Scholarship Act,” which lawmakers passed after killing the proposal last year. Under the measure, students who attend a public school that ranks in the bottom 25% in terms of academic performance are eligible for annual $6,500 scholarships.


The bill’s signing “is a great step in the right direction,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones, a Republican, said in a statement. However, “there is still more work to be done to give parents the choice and resources that can meet their child’s unique educational needs,” and the lieutenant governor vowed to work with policymakers to “ensure educational freedom in Georgia.”


Georgia families can use the money for “approved educational expenses,” including private school tuition. The program prioritizes families earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level — around $120,000 a year for a family of four — and students from families earning more are eligible for any leftover funds.


“It recognizes that Georgia is a diverse state with a diverse set of needs for education,” Buzz Brockway, the Georgia Center for Opportunity’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement. “After years of work, this bill is a positive step toward shaping an education system that honors every child’s unique situation and prevents a lack of quality education from locking children and communities into poverty.”