(The Center Square) — A new Georgia program to grant academic eligibility for direct admission to Georgia’s 22 technical colleges is a “win for Georgia,” a leading business group said.
On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, and state leaders announced GEORGIA MATCH, which they touted as “one of the largest state-run direct admissions initiatives.”
Under the program, Georgia’s more than 120,000 high school seniors will receive a letter detailing the state institutions holding a spot for them for the fall 2024 semester and how they can claim a spot. In November, participating institutions will waive application fees for students who apply through GEORGIA MATCH.
Students with higher GPAs will also see options for up to 23 University System of Georgia institutions. According to a news release, the three USG institutions not participating use a different “holistic admissions process.”
“We’re excited for this initiative,” National Federation of Independent Business State Director Hunter Loggins told The Center Square. “We believe, especially at NFIB, that good, hard-working Georgians start at the grade school level, and then when you get a chance to go to a school, automatically accepted, especially a technical school like the good ones we have in Georgia, that is an amazing initiative.”
Loggins noted that students could make $80,000 or more annually out of college without any school debt.
“This new initiative will help students graduating from high school to better understand their post high school options,” Buzz Brockway, vice president of policy for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement to The Center Square.
“With the changes taking place in the job market, it’s more important than ever that students obtain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed,” Brockway added. “We applaud Governor Kemp and the other leaders for working hard to get this started.”
A spokesman for Kemp said the fiscal 2024 budget included $1.3 million for implementation.
This off-session, state lawmakers are looking for solutions to the state’s worker shortage and how roughly 170,000 unemployed Georgians will fill 350,000 job postings. The state’s labor force participation rate shows that nearly 40% of Georgians aren’t working.
“This isn’t just a step; this is a giant leap, and we applaud the governor for taking this initiative and going forward,” Loggins said of the new program. “There’s still opportunity for [recommendations] to come out of the study committees — especially what other states are doing in terms of trying to fill the need for labor.”