In 2008, the Georgia General Assembly passed and Governor Sonny Perdue enacted the Qualified Education Expense Credit law that permits Georgia taxpayers to receive a state income tax credit for amounts contributed to qualified student scholarship organizations ("SSOs"). The scholarships are awarded to students who are currently enrolled in a Georgia secondary or primary public school or who are eligible to enroll in Pre-K4, Kindergarten or 1st grade program. Recipient students use their GOAL Scholarships to attend the private K-12 schools of their parents’ choice.
In response to this law, Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, Inc. submitted notice to the Georgia Department of Education of its participation as an SSO under the Qualified Education Expense Credit. On June 26, 2008, the Georgia Department of Education recognized the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, as the first SSO approved to accept contributions and offer scholarships to students to attend private K-12 schools in Georgia.
During 2016, 9,886 Georgia taxpayers contributed a total of $16,177,401 to GOAL. Of the 2016 contributions, 55% came from individuals, 33% came from individual owners of pass-through businesses, and 12% came from corporations.
Since the inception of the program in 2008, GOAL has received $118,679,005 in tax credit contributions, which represents 34% of all contributions statewide under the K-12 tuition tax credit program, making GOAL Georgia's leading SSO. There are currently 28 qualified SSOs in the state of Georgia.
Since 2008, GOAL has awarded 24,772 scholarships worth $91.3 million to 10,982 students, with an additional $24.4 million being obligated and reserved for the funding of multi-year scholarships that have been awarded or for the awarding of future scholarships. The average value of the scholarship awarded to each student has been $3,684, and the average adjusted gross income ("AGI") of the scholarship recipient families (as adjusted for family size) has been $26,438.
GOAL has awarded 54% of its scholarships to families with an AGI of less than $24,000 and over 90% of its scholarships to families with an AGI of less than $48,000.