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 – and have been enrolled for at least six weeks – in a Georgia secondary or primary public school or who are eligible to enroll in Pre-K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade. 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 2020, as of November 1st, 12,001 Georgia taxpayers contributed a total of $36,313,795 to GOAL. Of the 2020 contributions, 54% came from individuals, 37% came from individual owners of pass-through businesses, and 9% came from corporations.
From the inception of the program in 2008 through November 1, 2020, GOAL has received $229,974,641 in tax credit contributions, which represents an estimated 40% of the total amount contributed statewide under the K-12 tuition tax credit program.
Through November 1, 2020, GOAL has awarded 47,219 scholarships worth $189.8 million to 19,112 students. The average value of the scholarship awarded to each student has been $4,020, with the balance of tuition costs being paid by scholarship families together with other financial aid provided by the participating private schools.
Since inception, the average adjusted gross income ("AGI") of the scholarship recipient families (as adjusted for family size) has been $28,035. GOAL has awarded approximately 50% of its scholarships to families with an AGI of less than $24,000 and 87% of its scholarships to families with an AGI of less than $48,000. 46.04% of GOAL scholarship awards have been provided to minority recipients.
GOAL has awarded 5,230 scholarships in north Georgia; 19,397 scholarships in metro Atlanta; 10,935 scholarships in middle Georgia; and 11,657 scholarships in south Georgia.