5 Reasons Why It’s a Good Idea to Expand Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship

Key Points

  • Georgia lawmakers are considering an increase to the cap on Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship program.
  • The communities’ positive response to the scholarship opportunity has created demand above and beyond what the program can currently handle. 
  • Raising the cap on Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship program would allow the program to serve more families who otherwise may not be able to afford private school as an education option. 

In 2024, Georgia legislators are considering an expansion to Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship program. Through this program, businesses and individuals can donate toward private school scholarships for K-12 students enrolled in public schools. In return, they receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit.

In 2022, the state Legislature raised the program cap by $20 million, bringing it up to $120 million from $100 million. But that increase hasn’t proven large enough to keep up with communities’ positive response. Lawmakers are now looking at a proposed 2024 bill that would raise the total program cap to $200 million, and expand the number of students the program can serve. 

“It’s clear that demand for the program is strong. The existing $120 million cap was met on the very first day of applications in 2023,” noted Buzz Brockway, Vice President of Public Policy at the Georgia Center for Opportunity. “Georgia families are demanding more options, and lawmakers would be wise to take notice.”

Here are a few reasons why raising the cap on Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program would help students, parents, and the state’s overall education system:

1. The Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship program makes private school access more equitable.

Private schools are often an education option available to families who can afford them. Through Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship, lower and middle-income families can get financial support to access private schools as a viable option when the local public school isn’t the best fit for their child.

But what about families in rural areas? According to a 2017 national study by The Brookings Institute, 69% of families living in rural areas have a private school within 10 miles. Increasing the program cap for Georgia’s tax credit scholarships would help rural Georgia families in this situation. For those that aren’t, there’s still a benefit: Growing the tax credit scholarship program is a way to encourage more private schools to launch and fill education gaps in areas where options are fewer and farther between. 

2. Raising the program cap makes it possible to serve more kids.

Currently 500,000 Georgia students are in schools that are underperforming or simply aren’t meeting their specific needs. Increasing the program cap means more families could enjoy the flexibility to consider one of Georgia’s 824 private schools when seeking out a school that matches their kid’s learning style, their personal values, or other preferences. In 2021, 17,440 scholarships were awarded to eligible students. Imagine how many more kids we could help if Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program expanded to $200 million. 

3. Expanding our tax credit scholarship program would bring Georgia up-to-date with other states.

Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, and Nevada have all taken note of the growing popularity of tax credit scholarships and have responded by increasing caps on their various programs. Whether it’s tax credit scholarships or other options like Education Savings Accounts, the momentum to embrace more education choice programs is building across many states, raising the question of whether Georgia will keep up.

With Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship, kids in Atlanta’s crime-ridden neighborhoods have found a safe place to go to school, allowing them to improve academically and pursue their dreams.

With Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship, kids in Atlanta’s crime-ridden neighborhoods have found a safe place to go to school, allowing them to improve academically and pursue their dreams.

4. It’s one option to relieve parents’ frustration with one-size-fits-all education options.

A recent poll of 5,000 parents, conducted by the Harris Poll, revealed that 20% of parents switched schools for their kids during the pandemic. The pandemic itself is a tired topic, but the trend it introduced in education isn’t: Over the last two years, parents’ desire for more education options has skyrocketed as many of them realize that traditional public schools don’t work for every kid. 

By investing in educational choice programs, we can guarantee families access to a variety of stellar learning experiences that help their children reach great heights—academically, socially, vocationally…the list goes on. Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program makes private schools one of these meaningful options, regardless of where families live or how much they earn. 

5. Increasing education tax credits gets more businesses and individuals involved in our kids’ futures.

A quality education, tailored to a student’s unique needs, prepares kids for the workplace, for community involvement, and for life. That’s why education is more than a parental concern—it should be a community priority. We all benefit when kids have access to the education option that will help them become healthy, successful citizens, employees, relatives, and friends as they grow up. Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship gives our communities—both businesses and taxpayers—a way to directly invest in K-12 education and ensure bright futures for our students. By raising the program cap, we can expand the investment opportunities available to current donors and to new businesses and individuals who want to get involved.  

Related Reading: Georgia School Choice In the News

Georgia students need more schooling choices (GCO in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Renewed push to expand Georgia’s private school tuition subsidies (Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Proposed bill would increase Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program cap (The Center Square)

School choice in 2023: 10 states to watch (Washington Examiner)

Share This