The Zell Miller Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship program with specific academic and grade point average eligibility requirements available to students who have met the University System of Georgia and GSFC's residency requirements and are enrolled in an undergraduate degree seeking program. To be a Zell Miller Scholar a student must also have met all the eligibility requirements of a HOPE Scholar.
In all cases, students must:
- 1. Be a legal resident of Georgia for tuition purposes. Georgia Residency Requirements for Zell Miller:
A) A student entering the Zell Miller Scholarship Program who meets the Georgia Residency requirements of the Board of Regents at the time of high school graduation, or equivalent, must also meet such Georgia Residency requirements for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the Zell Miller scholarship is sought.
B) A student who graduated from high school, or equivalent who does not meet the Georgia Residency requirements of the Board of Regents at the time of high school graduation, must meet such Georgia Residency requirements for 24 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the Zell Miller Scholarship is sought.
C) A student, who was correctly determined to meet the Georgia Residency requirements for purposes of Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility and began receiving Zell Miller Scholarship payment, will continue to meet the Georgia Residency requirements for HOPE, unless the student has a break in enrollment of two or more consecutive semesters and resides outside of Georgia for 12 or more consecutive months.
- Be a U.S. citizen or national of the U.S. or a Permanent Resident Alien.
- Register with Selective Service (men only).
- Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Post secondary Education Act of 1990.
- Not be in default or owe a refund on a federal or state financial aid program.
- Not have a bachelor's degree or higher.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
High School Academic Requirements
- Graduated from an Eligible High School in 2011 or later:
Beginning with the High School Graduating Class of 2011, in order to meet the academic requirements of the Zell Miller Scholarship at the First-Tier a student must:
Graduate from an Eligible High School as the Valedictorian or the Salutatorian as reported to GSFC.
Graduate from an Eligible High School with a minimum of 3.70 Cumulative Grade Point Average on a 4.00 scale as calculated by GSFC.
Receive a minimum score of 1200 combined critical reading and math on a single administration of the SAT on a test administration at the time of high school graduation.
Receive a composite scale score of 26 on a single administration of the ACT on a test administration at the time of high school graduation.
Must earn a minimum of four full credits from an academic rigor course.
- Graduated from Eligible High School prior to 2011:
A student currently receiving the HOPE Scholarship, who first entered college in 2007 or later and was Academically Eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship, at the time of his or her high school graduation, may gain Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility if the student had a minimum 3.30 GPA at his or her most recent Checkpoint and meets all other eligibility requirements. The student must request an eligibility determination by submitting a request and supporting documentation to GSFC prior to the last day of the term.
- Graduated from an Ineligible High School or were Home-Schooled:
A student who, in 2004 or later, graduated from a high school that is not an Eligible High School or completed a Home Study program that is not an Eligible High School, may receive Zell Miller Scholarship payment retroactively after attempting 30 credits of postsecondary undergraduate coursework, earns a 3.30 GPA and meets all other Zell Miller Scholarship requirements.
In order for such student to be eligible for Zell Miller Scholarship at the First-Tier the student must have met Georgia Residency requirements at the time he or she completed the Home Study requirements or graduated from the Ineligible High School.
a. received a minimum score of 1200 combined critical reading and math score, on a single administration of the SAT at the time of graduation from an Ineligible High School or Home School completion.
b. received an ACT composite score of 26 on a single administration test administration at the time of graduation from an Ineligible High School or Home School completion.
- Graduated from Eligible High School but not Academically eligible:
If a student did not or does not graduate from high school Academically Eligible for Zell Miller, then the student can never earn Zell Miller eligibility at any eligibility checkpoint.
In order to be considered for HOPE Scholarship, a student must complete the following application forms:
- Current year FAFSA - A student who applies for HOPE Scholarship by completing and submitting a FAFSA must complete and submit a new FAFSA for each Award Year.
Students must be enrolled in a degree-seeking undergraduate program. Full-time enrollment is not required. If a student already has a bachelor's degree or higher, then he or she is not eligible for this award.
For 2020-2021, The Zell Miller Scholarship pays 100% of the total cost of in-state tuition charged. This is a maximum of $10,258 for two semesters of enrollment in 12 Zell Miller eligible credits per term.
For students who are enrolled for the summer semester, the Zell Miller Scholarship will pay per credit hour in conjunction with summer tuition cost in addition to the maximum mentioned above.
Maintaining the Zell Miller Scholarship
Students are evaluated for their continued eligibility in the Zell Miller Scholarship program at various checkpoints throughout their academic career. At each checkpoint a cumulative 3.30 GPA must be earned, or the award will be lost. If a student loses the Zell Miller Scholarship at any checkpoint, the student can still get the HOPE Scholarship, assuming all requirements, including the 3.0 GPA are met.
Students will be checked at the end of every Spring term, even if they were not enrolled in classes that term. Zell Miller can’t be regained at this checkpoint unless it is also a 30th/60th/90th attempted hour checkpoint.
EXCEPTION: Freshmen who enroll in less than 12 credits for their first three semesters will not be checked until the end of their third enrolled term.
30th/60th/90th Credit Hour Checkpoints
Students will be checked at the end of the term in which they attempt 30th/ 60th/90th credits (respectively). Zell Mill can be lost or regained at these checkpoints.
Regaining Eligibility for the Zell Miller Scholarship
Students who lose eligibility to receive the Zell Miller Scholarship will be re-evaluated at the next 30th/ 60th/90th credit hour checkpoint. After a student has attempted 90 credits, he or she cannot be re-evaluated. Effective Fall 2011, Zell Miller can be regained just once.
- No gains or losses prior to Fall 2011 count.
- Not having the scholarship and then earning it for the first time does not count as starting with a loss.
- Gains and losses start after a student earns Zell Miller for the first time.
- If a student loses the Zell Miller Scholarship a second time they can never regain Zell, but the student can still be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship if all HOPE Scholarship requirements are met including the 3.0 GPA.
- A student who has lost Zell Miller Scholarship Eligibility at two Checkpoints cannot regain Eligibility.
Courses Included in the Zell Miller Calculations
All credit hours attempted after high school graduation are calculated when determining Zell Miller eligibility. This includes credit hours not accepted by Georgia Tech, credits hours not paid for by Zell Miller or credit hours taken outside the state of Georgia. Likewise, courses forgiven by the institution are included in the calculations. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that Georgia Tech has transcripts from all institutes of higher learning (post high school graduation) in order for OSFA to accurately determine the student's Zell Miller eligibility.
- Pass/Fail credits are included in the attempted hours.
- Courses withdrawn (W) are included in the total attempted hours, but they are not included in the GPA calculations.
- Courses withdrawn while failing (WF) count as a grade of "F" in the cumulative GPA. Therefore, they are included in the attempted hours and cumulative GPA.
- Learning support credits earned through Summer 2011 are included in the attempted hours and cumulative GPA.
Courses Excluded from the Zell Miller Calculations
- Audited / CO-OP courses are not included in the Zell Miller attempted hours or Zell Miller GPA.
- Learning Support courses are not included in the Zell Miller attempted hours or Zell Miller GPA.
- AP, IB, and CLEP courses are not included in the Zell Miller attempted hours or Zell Miller GPA.
- Courses dropped during the Drop / Add period are not included in the Zell Miller attempted hours or Zell Miller GPA because they are erased from student records.
- Courses withdrawn due to serious medical issues may be forgiven and exempt from consideration in the Zell Miller calculations. An appeal must be sent to the Georgia Student Finance Commission (www.gafutures.org).
- Courses withdrawn due to military activation are forgiven and are not included in the Zell Miller calculations.
Length of Scholarship
Eligibility ends when a student attempts 127 credit hours, even if HOPE funds did not pay for those credits.
Effective Fall 2011, there are no exceptions covering extra hours needed for majors requiring additional hours, for dual-degree programs, or for second majors.
Combined Paid-Hours Limit
Eligibility ends when a student receives 127 credits of payment from any combination of the HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE Grant (effective Summer 2003), and ACCEL funds (paid Fall 2004 – Summer 2011).
Seven Year Limit
Effective beginning with Fall 2011
- A student who has not received HOPE Scholarship payment prior to Summer 2011, and meets all other eligibility requirements may receive the HOPE Scholarship until June 30th following the completion of the seventh full year after high school graduation, home study completion of successful GED test.
- A student that served on active duty in the military following his or her date of high school graduation, or equivalent, may request that such active duty service time be added back to his or her 7 years of eligibility.
- A student who received a HOPE Scholarship award prior to Summer term 2011 is not subject to the Seven Year Limit.
Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information on the HOPE Scholarship, or to view the HOPE regulations, please contact the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC): (770) 724-9000 or (800) 505-GSFC (4732)
Page last reviewed/updated 09/30/20