Starting in January, Georgia college students will have more opportunities to receive free tuition as they pursue careers in high-demand industries.
The state is adding five fast-growing career fields to the HOPE Career Grant, increasing the total number of qualified programs to 17, Columbus Technical College announced in a news release. The additional fields are aviation maintenance, automotive technology, distribution-materials management, electrical line work and construction.
At Columbus Technical College, this means students enrolled in certain certifications and diplomas in the auto technology, air conditioning technology, cabinetmaking and carpentry areas may qualify for free tuition, according to the news releases.
“The HOPE Career Grant is a phenomenal opportunity for our students,” Columbus Technical College president Lorette Hoover said in the news release. “Now even more of our students can have the chance to pursue a career that they are passionate about and knowing their tuition may be covered will help pave the way to their successful futures.”
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The grant already offers free tuition to students pursing certificates or diplomas in 12 high-demand career fields: certified engineer assistant, commercial truck driving, computer programming, computer technology, diesel equipment technology, early childhood care and education, health science, industrial maintenance, movie production/set design, practical nursing, precision manufacturing, and welding and joining technology.
To receive the HOPE Career Grant, students must qualify for the HOPE Grant, which applies to diplomas and certificates only rather than the HOPE Scholarship, which applies to associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees. The HOPE Grant is available for students of any age, and they can attend college part-time and don’t need a specific high school grade-point average, but they must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in college.
The HOPE Career Grant also is available to recipients of the Zell Miller Grant, which, in addition to HOPE Grant requirements, stipulates that students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 at the end of each college term.
While the HOPE Career Grant opportunities are open for any qualified student pursuing a certificate or diploma at a public college in Georgia, students within the Technical College System of Georgia have been the main beneficiaries, according to the news release. The number of certificates or diplomas in these 12 areas awarded to technical college students in the 2017 academic year was 17,777, up from 16,514 in 2016.