State: Georgia

Everything Parents Need to Know about Georgia’s Promise Scholarship

K-12 educational opportunities are expanding in the Peach State!

Georgia has paved the way for greater educational opportunities by passing the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act. This revolutionary bill will create a new scholarship program to expand education options for Georgia students. Launching in 2025, this program will allow eligible families to receive funds amounting to $6,500 in an online savings account to pay for tuition, homeschool expenses, and other personalized expenses. 

Georgia is the third state to pass an education savings account law in 2024, joining 15 other states that have either launched or are in the process of launching an education savings account program!

What is the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act? 

The Georgia Promise Scholarship Act will be the state’s first education savings account program for students whose neighborhood public school is not meeting their needs. The new Promise Scholarships will provide up to $6,500 per student per year for eligible education expenses in an alternative learning environment. With eligible education expenses ranging from private school tuition fees to tutoring costs, the Promise Scholarship Program will give thousands of students more opportunities to find an education that challenges them and meets their needs. 

Who is eligible to apply for a Georgia Promise Scholarship? 

Unlike some ESA programs in other states like Arizona and Utah, the Georgia Promise Scholarship program will not be universally available. However, more than half a million students statewide will be eligible to apply. 

To qualify for a Promise Scholarship Account, students must meet certain criteria:

  • Students must be zoned into the lowest-performing 25% of Georgia schools (you can check a map of Georgia’s lowest-performing public schools at the Georgia Center for Opportunity)
  • Students must have been enrolled in such a school for at least one year (two consecutive semesters) or be entering kindergarten 
  • Student’s parents must have been Georgia residents for at least one year (unless they are active duty military service members stationed in Georgia within the previous year)

Priority will be given to students whose parents earn less than 400% of the federal poverty line (about $120,000 a year for a family of four in 2024); however, this is not a requirement to qualify. 

Currently, the Promise Scholarship program has a funding cap of 1% of public school funding. If fully funded at this level, it could provide scholarships to over 21,000 students.

What are eligible educational expenses for the Georgia Promise Scholarship program? 

The Georgia Promise Scholarship Act lays out seven different categories of educational expenses. These are: 

  • Tuition, fees, and required textbooks for eligible core courses and eligible CTAE courses at a participating school, accredited community college or postsecondary education institution, or nonpublic online learning program or course;
  • Tutoring services provided by an educator certified by the Professional Standards Commission;
  • Payment for purchasing a curriculum, including any supplemental materials required;
  • Services from a physician or therapist, like occupational, behavioral, physical, or speech-language therapies;
  • Up to $500 / year to a fee-for-service transportation provider for transportation to or from a participating school or service provider;
  • Fees for the management of account funds
  • Other expenses are authorized by the State Board of Education or the education savings authority, and a majority of the parent review committee authorizes individual education expenses. 

It’s worth pointing out that the bill calls for a parent review committee to help determine what should be counted as qualified education expenses. This committee will help the education savings authority by reviewing purchases and service provider applications. 

Additionally, students participating in the program will be required to take a national norm-referenced test or state assessment test. The education savings authority will collect this data and other data, such as the graduation rates of participating students, to evaluate the program.

When will Promise Scholarships be available?

The Georgia Promise Scholarships will be open for the 2025-26 academic year. However, the scholarship program has a 10-year expiration date, which means that it will sunset on June 30, 2035.

How will families apply for and use the ESA?

The Education Savings Authority will be establishing some guidelines for this program, and families will have to fill out an application form to participate. The application periods will open every quarter.

Families who participate in the program will be required to ensure that their child receives an education in reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. They will also have to agree not to enroll their child in a public school, except for part-time enrollment in a college and career academy, which is allowed.

If a family is approved, they will receive funds every quarter, which they can use to pay for their child’s education expenses. This money is non-taxable and can only be used for educational expenses.

If the money provided by the program is not enough to cover all of the expenses, the family will have to pay the rest. However, some schools may offer additional scholarships or discounts to help with the costs.

If any money is left over at the end of a school year, up to 50% of it can be rolled over to the following year. However, if the account is inactive for two years or the student graduates, the account will be closed.

Families will be able to use a system to direct the money to their schools or service providers. The program aims to limit the amount of money families have to pay out of pocket, but some expenses may require pre-approval or reimbursement.

What else do we know about the Promise Scholarships? 

Many families may choose to use their Promise Scholarship to attend a private school. Families will be able to select from any private school that opts to participate in the program. Georgia has many diverse private schools across the state. According to EdChoice, 79% of Georgia students live within 10 minutes of a private school, and more than 95% live within a 20-minute drive

If a school requires a partial tuition payment before the start of the school year to reserve space for a student, the education savings authority can make such a payment, as long as it is no more than $1,000. That amount will then be deducted from the student’s first quarterly payment. 

The bill requires participating schools to be accredited or in the process of obtaining accreditation. Schools will not be required to change their creed, curricula, employment policies, or admission policies to participate in the program. 

In the meantime, parents should…

The new scholarship program in Georgia is still being developed, which means there might be updates before its official launch. If families want to be fully prepared for any private school choice program launch, there are a few important things parents should consider.

Before starting any application, parents should: 

  • Check out the list of participating schools and providers. Evaluate whether they would meet your children’s needs. Inquire whether schools or providers have any availability. This list will be available shortly before the application window opens.
  • Familiarize yourself with the eligibility requirements. Ensure that you meet all requirements, including residency, age of the beneficiary, and income restrictions.
  • Estimate your child’s future education expenses, considering factors such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other related costs.
  • Stay informed about any updates or announcements regarding the launch of the state program by subscribing to newsletters, following relevant government agencies or organizations on social media, and regularly checking official websites for updates.
  • Gather any required documentation for you and your children, such as proof of residency, identification documents, and social security numbers.

Other school choice options in Georgia

Georgia offers various other school scholarships and choice opportunities. For private schools, it provides a tax-credit scholarship funded by private donations; this currently serves nearly 20,000 students. Georgia also has a voucher program for students with special needs

The biggest difference between these existing programs and Georgia’s Promise Scholarship program is that the Promise Scholarships allow families more flexible options for customizing their child’s learning. 

It’s important to note that students cannot participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act and the Promise Scholarship at the same time. 

In addition to private school choice options, Georgia families have a range of educational choices, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schoolsonline learning, homeschooling, microschooling and mix-and-match learning.

Other public school expansions

The new bill aims to clarify the rules for public school students who wish to make an inter-district transfer, which refers to transferring students between a public school in one district and a public school in another. This bill will make it easier for Georgia students to choose the public school that best fits them, even if they live in a different district. Additionally, the bill increases tax credit opportunities for donations made to public schools.

What are people in Georgia saying?

Georgia families are thrilled about the new Georgia Promise scholarship, with increasing interest in non-traditional education across the state, this scholarship is a game-changer. It provides more opportunities and flexibilities for various educational paths, including private, microschooling, and homeschooling.

As the current landscape of education is rapidly changing, more and more families are exploring alternative avenues for learning. According to estimates from the National Microschooling Center, around 1.5 million K-12 students are enrolled in microschools nationwide. In Georgia, homeschooling accounts for 4.1% of all K-12 students, a number that jumped from 59,958 in 2015 to over 91,000 students in 2022. Against this backdrop, the Georgia Promise scholarship marks a significant turning point, particularly for those who are seeking non-traditional education options.

With Georgia’s Promise Scholarship in place, Georgia families can now pursue a wide range of educational paths that best suit the needs of their children.

Learn more

Over 900,000 students nationwide use school choice programs to personalize their education. As Georgia’s new scholarship program is established, we expect to receive more details. Stay tuned for further updates!

If you’d like to learn more, you can keep an eye out for updates at Georgia’s Department of Education, Georgia Student Finance Commission, and GeorgiaCAN.

Georgia State Guide

Choosing a school? You’ve got options.

Choosing a school is a big decision; after all, it can have a huge impact on your child’s future! Fortunately, Georgia families have access to an array of K-12 school choice options. Understanding these school choices can help you find the best match for your child’s personality, strengths, and interests. And remember, each child is unique. The “best” school for your child may be different than the “best” school for your neighbor’s child. 

This post will breakdown the main types of schools available to you, as well as provide additional education resources for Georgia parents. In short, you can choose from traditional public schoolspublic charter schoolspublic magnet schoolsprivate schoolsonline learninghomeschooling, and microschooling and mix-and-match learning.

What’s new in 2024?

The recently passed Georgia Promise Scholarship Act will provide eligible students with a $6,500 scholarship in an online savings account for the 2025-2026 school year!

Georgia Traditional Public Schools

Most children in Georgia (84%) attend traditional public schools. Traditional public schools are free to attend, open to all students, operated by school districts, and funded by federal, state, and local government. Did you know that, on average, Georgia spends $12,145 per public school pupil each year? You can search your school’s spending and that of nearby schools at Project Nickel.

Georgia has restricted open enrollment for public school. What this means is that Georgia families can send their child to any public school within their school district as long as the school has room and has been open for at least four years. Schools cannot charge tuition for within-district transfers.

Also, in some cases, families can choose public schools outside their district; contact your local district to see if this is an option for you. For a real-world example of the transfer process and timeline, check out Atlanta Public Schools’ application process. Note that parents are usually responsible for transportation of students participating in open enrollment.

Open enrollment is a valuable option because it gives parents more flexibility for where they can send their child; they can visit and research public schools beyond their neighborhood school. If you would like to participate in open enrollment, contact your school district to learn more.

Find out more about public schools in your state at the Georgia Department of Education and learn more about Georgia open enrollment in “Public Schools Without Boundaries: A 50-State Ranking.”

Georgia Charter Schools

Families can also consider public charter schools. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed extra freedom to innovate with curriculum and learning methods. Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves, whether that be providing a language immersion program or offering a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system is usually used to determine admittance.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, there are currently 115 charter schools (not including schools within charter systems) in the state serving 3.6% of the K-12 student population. One of the newest is Atlanta SMART Academy, one of only four performing arts middle schools in Georgia.

Charters are growing in Georgia! The State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia was awarded a large grant by the U.S. Department of Education in 2022 to expand charter schools in the state.

Free transportation may be available to some students who attend charter schools in Georgia. Students with special needs who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and students facing homelessness are eligible to receive transportation assistance.

For more, check out these frequently asked questions about charter schools in Georgia at the Department of Education. You can also keep learning at The Georgia Charter Schools Association.

Georgia Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are free public schools that allow kids to narrow in on a specific learning track, such as engineering or the performing arts. At a magnet school, all the subjects are taught through the lenses of that specific track.

Georgia has more than 10 magnet schools scattered throughout the state. Districts with magnet schools include Bibb County School DistrictRichmond County School SystemSavannah-Chatham Public Schools, DeKalb County School DistrictDougherty County School System, and Muscogee County School District. Additionally, Clayton County Public Schools offers various magnet programs.

Georgia Private Schools

Georgia has a variety of private schools, from religious schools to schools designed for children with special needs. In fact, there are more than 870 private schools across the state. The average tuition for private schools in the state is $11,362 for elementary schools and $12,149 for high schools.

Georgia’s nonpublic schools do charge tuition, but a public school student wishing to switch to a private school can apply for a scholarship. In Georgia, 1.3% of all K-12 students participate in a private school choice program. Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit program helps fund these scholarships by allowing donors to receive tax credits when they give to a scholarship organization. To apply for a scholarship, reach out directly to one of the state’s Student Scholarship Organizations listed on the Georgia Department of Education’s website. These organizations manage private school scholarships and can let you know about availability and next steps. In 2022, Georgia legislators strengthened this tax credit program by increasing the cap on donations to it.

The state also has a scholarship program specifically for children with special needs. In 2021, this program expanded to include students with a 504 plan for a variety of conditions (autism, cancer, drug abuse, etc.). Additional funding may be available from other sources.

Starting in 2025, eligible students (those enrolled in the bottom 25% of public schools and those whose families earn less than 400% of the federal poverty line) can apply for a new scholarship that will award up to $6,500 in an online savings account for approved education expenses.

Georgia’s private schools offer unique formats, curricula, and cultures for students to learn in. One private school we talked to, Cornerstone Preparatory Academy, has a format called a “University Model.” Head of School Jeanne Borders describes, “Our secondary students have classes on campus three days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), like at a university. They do their work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays with our assignments given to them. Then we have our elementary kids here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we partner with their parents to deliver lessons and co-teach on the days that they’re at home. Tuition for both groups of students is much less, and parents and families are involved in the children’s education.”

Learn more at Private School Review: Georgia.

Georgia Online Learning

Georgia’s free, full-time online learning options for students statewide include Georgia Connections Academy and Georgia Cyber Academy, both of which serve all grades K-12. Students in grades 6-9 can also consider the newly-opened Destinations Career Academy of Georgia.

Georgia Virtual School is the state’s official virtual school and provides online courses at the high school level, plus a credit recovery program and some middle school courses. Public school students can enroll full-time or part-time at no cost. Some state funds are available to cover tuition for private and homeschool students on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Some districts in Georgia have developed their own online schools, and in some cases out-of-district families may be able to transfer into one of these schools. For example, Gwinnett Online CampusCobb Virtual AcademyRockdale Virtual Campus, DeKalb County’s FLEX Academy, Henry County’s Impact Academy, and Fulton Virtual serve students within their districts. Forsyth Virtual Academy is a district-run online option open to students within and outside of Forsyth County.

To read more about online learning in Georgia, check out the Digital Learning Collaborative’s state profile. You can also learn more at Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education.

Georgia Homeschooling

Homeschooling is another school option in all 50 states, including Georgia. Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home. As both technology and school choices have spread in Georgia, homeschooling is an increasingly popular choice with more support and resources than ever.

In Georgia, 4.1% of all K-12 students are homeschooled. The state requires notice of your intent to homeschool within 30 days of the start of homeschooling, and annually by September 1st afterwards. It is recommended that you formally withdraw from your current school so that your student is not marked truant. If you choose homeschooling, the state requires you to teach specific subjects (such as reading, math, and science) and also requires some level of assessment for your child.

Is your child interested in playing sports? In 2021, Georgia enacted a law that neighborhood schools must allow homeschool students to try out for sports teams and extracurricular activities. In return, participating homeschool students must take at least one class at the school.

In the case that you decide to switch back to public school, you will need to create a withdrawal form from homeschool and have your enrolling school validate your homeschool work.

You can find a great how-to about homeschooling at the Home School Legal Defense Association – Georgia, or learn more from the Georgia Department of Education. Keep in mind that homeschooled students with special needs may be eligible for additional support from the State of Georgia.

Georgia Microschools and Mix-and-Match Learning

Today, many Georgia families are mixing and matching school options to come up with new ways to personalize education. Microschools are one of these ways. A microschool refers to students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Microschools can take a variety of shapes and legal forms, from homeschoolers coming together at an enrichment center to a private school committed to small classrooms. What microschools share in common is a commitment to small-group learning, close-knit relationships, and emphasizing children as individual learners. 

Here are real examples of microschools and other innovative learning resources in Georgia:

KaiPod Learning recently opened a Learning Support Group for Atlanta-area students. Students who homeschool or use an accredited virtual school can join the pod for community and educational support. 

Moonrise in Decatur is a co-learning space for homeschoolers, complete with a makerspace, studio, library, and plant space.

The Attuned Community School offers a diverse learning pod environment focusing on play-based, nature-based, and project and inquiry-based learning experiences.

TwiddleU specializes in education and therapy for Autistic and neurodiverse children, emphasizing hands-on and digital learning in a supportive, inclusive environment.

St. John the Baptist Hybrid School, a PK-12th program in Cobb County, offers Cognia-accredited classes up to 3 days a week. With alternating on-campus and homeschool days each week, families enjoy schedule flexibility and a strong academic setting.

Georgia Fugees Academy is a small charter school designed to meet the needs of refugee and new American students through wraparound services and soccer school.

Pass Pod is a microschool in South Atlanta that provides a curriculum centered around African American culture and real-world experiences.

St. John Bosco Academy is a hybrid school that blends in-person learning with at-home study. 

Spectacular Start is a homeschool learning pod in Atlanta that blends at-home learning with in-person classes in a supportive environment.

Sometimes Learning Support Groups are district-run. For example, the DeKalb County School District won a grant to partner with a community non-profit and serve alternative education students through learning hubs. 

In 2021, Georgia passed a law protecting homes and informal places used for Learning Support Groups from burdensome state or local regulation. 

Mercer University has announced the establishment of a transitional school, opening in fall 2024, for children with dyslexia. The innovative school will help prepare students to master skills to succeed in a more traditional school setting, and will also serve as a hub of dyslexia study and teacher training. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Download the School Choice Snapshot for Georgia

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What is School Choice

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

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Choosing the Right School

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

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Search for Schools Near Me

School Type
Traditional public schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public charter schools do not charge tuition. They are usually managed by nonprofit organizations and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public magnet schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and focus on themes, such as math, science, technology, and the arts.
Private schools charge tuition, but scholarships are often available via state programs or by individual schools. Private schools are privately managed and can be faith-based or secular.
Grade Levels

Microschooling and Mix and Match Learning

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

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7 Step Guide

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

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Education Resources for
Georgia Parents

For additional information about school choices in Georgia, visit these resources:

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Landmarks Across America Shine for School Choice Week 2024!

Did you witness the magic of National School Choice Week 2024? Starting January 21st, close to three dozen landmarks and notable buildings from Alaska to New York lit up in dazzling shades of yellow and red and created a vibrant celebration of K-12 education opportunities!


JL Tower in Anchorage, Alaska

January 21-27, 2024



Junction Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Main Street Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Union Plaza in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 21-27, 2024

Little Rock


“M” at Box Springs Mountain in Moreno Valley, California

January 26, 2024

Moreno Valley

Union Station in Los Angeles, California

January 21-27, 2024

Los Angeles


Las Olas Centre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

January 21-27, 2024

Fort Lauderdale

Platt Street Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024


Kennedy Blvd Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024


Old City Hall in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024



One Atlantic Center in Atlanta, Georgia

January 22, 2024



Aloha Tower in Honolulu, Hawaii

January 21-27, 2024



8th and Main Tower in Boise, Idaho

January 21-27, 2024



The Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois

January 25, 2024


Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois

January 21, 2024



AES Building in Indianapolis, Indiana

January 21, 2024



Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

The Governors Mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge


Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 26, 2024



Waldo Water Tower in Kansas City, Missouri

January 21-27, 2024

Kansas City


Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska

January 23, 2024


New York

Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York

January 24, 2024


North Carolina

550 South Tryon Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina

January 27, 2024



Dublin Link Bridge in Dublin, Ohio

January 26, 2024


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

January 21-27, 2024



Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma

January 21-27, 2024


SkyDance Bridge in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

January 25, 2024

Oklahoma City


Salem Convention Center in Salem, Oregon

January 20, 2024



The Symphony House Condo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 26, 2024


Koppers Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024


Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024


South Carolina

Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina

January 21-27, 2024



Columbia Town Center in Seattle, Washington

January 23, 2024



Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center in Laramie, Wyoming

January 23, 2024 


If you know of a building in your community that would light up for National School Choice Week, please reach out to our team! Send us an email.

For journalists covering the Week, more information and resources to enhance your coverage on a variety of platforms can be found on our media resources page. For families interested in discovering more about the different school choice options available in their home state please visit your state page for a detailed roadmap.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and homeschooling.

Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities.  The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.