Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit
- Tax-Credit Scholarship
- Enacted 2008
- Launched 2008
Georgia offers tax credits to corporate and individual donors supporting student scholarship organizations (SSOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to students in need. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history and more.
We do not administer this program.
Scholarships Awarded (2019)
of Students Eligible Statewide
Scholarship Organizations Awarding Scholarships (2019)
Average Scholarship Value (2019)
Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending
Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit Participation
Scholarship amounts are determined by SSOs, capped only by the average state and local expenditures per child for public elementary and secondary education in the entire state. For 2020, scholarships were capped at $10,957.
All Georgia public school students are eligible if they attended a public school for at least six weeks immediately prior to receiving a scholarship, as are students who are enrolling in prekindergarten, kindergarten or first grade. Eligibility continues until a student graduates high school, reaches age 20 or returns to public school. SSOs may set their own additional eligibility guidelines.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship program helps more than sixteen thousand students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.
All students are eligible to receive a tax-credit scholarship, making this among the most expansive educational choice programs in the nation. Statewide, 1 percent of students participate in one of Georgia’s private educational choice options (including the Special Needs Scholarship Program).
The average scholarship size is about $4,500, which is less than half of the average expenditure per student at Georgia’s district schools, but the cap on scholarship values is somewhat higher (about $11,000). Tax credits are worth 100 percent of the value of the contributions to scholarship organizations, but only $100 million in tax credits are available annually, which is equivalent to only 0.47 percent of Georgia’s total K–12 revenue.
In order to expand access to educational choice, Georgia policymakers should dramatically increase the amount of available tax credits so that every Georgia child is able to receive a scholarship. The program could also be converted into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education.
Georgia’s voucher program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.
Rules and Regulations
- Income Limit: None
- Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: None
- Scholarship Cap: $10,957 (2020)
- Testing Mandates: None
- Credit Value: 100 percent
- Per Donor Credit Cap: $1,000 for individuals, $2,500 for married couples ($1,250 for married filing separately), 75 percent of state liability for businesses
- Budget Cap: $100 million
- Use at least 92 percent of contributions for scholarships
- Make scholarships available for more than one school
- Have an independent board of directors
- Ensure donors cannot designate their donation to any particular student
- Not also function as or be affiliated with an accrediting agency
- Submit annually to the state:
- Data on accepted contributions and tax credits approved
- Independent review of financial statements by a certified public accountant
- Total number of students and total dollar value of scholarships awarded each year
- Average scholarship amount by Federal Poverty Level brackets
- Publicly disclose annually:
- Total number of scholarships approved
- Total number and amount of donations received
- Average household income of scholarship recipients
On June 26, 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship program and ruled that plaintiffs had no standing to sue. Georgia Department of Revenue, 802 S.E.2d 225 (2017)
The original complaint, Gaddy v. Georgia Department of Revenue, No. 2014 CV 2445538 (Fulton County Super. Ct. Feb. 5, 2016), brought by four Georgia residents backed by the Southern Education Foundation, alleged that the tax-credit scholarship program violated the state constitution’s ban on providing public support to religious institutions, and several other constitutional provisions. The trial court affirmed the program’s constitutionality, observing that the tax credit would not “increase their taxes or drain the state treasury” and that “the Program may actually save the State money.”
Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit State Groups
That Support School Choice
The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s mission is to remove barriers to ensure that every person—no matter their race, past mistakes, or the circumstances of their birth—has access to a quality education.