UGA has created 140 need-based scholarships for students from low-income families this year, with hundreds more on the way, President Jere Morehead announced at the quarterly cabinet meeting and media briefing Sept. 27.
Ninety members of this year’s freshman class were awarded newly created Georgia Commitment scholarships, which unlike HOPE and other merit-based scholarships are based on financial need rather than grades or test scores. Such need-based scholarships are a top priority for UGA’s ongoing $1 billion capital campaign, Morehead said, and he hopes to fund 400–600 of them eventually.
“You will continue to hear me talk a lot about this in the coming weeks and months,” he said.
Keeping UGA affordable has been a priority for Morehead since he was named president in 2013. He has kept student fees and dining-hall prices flat for two years, and tuition has gone up just 2 percent. The university recently started offering free meal plans to students who are at risk of going hungry. In addition, the new Double Dawg program allows students to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years.
“We have a lot of students with a gap between what they can afford and the cost of attending the University of Georgia,” Morehead said. The total cost of attendance—including tuition, room and board, books and other living expenses—is an estimated $26,404 per year for Georgia residents and $45,688 for out-of-state residents, according to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Most UGA students from Georgia receive HOPE, but it does not cover all of those costs.
Under Morehead, UGA has also made a concerted effort to attract more African-American students through support programs for black men and by bringing in students from targeted high schools for visits. (The university is currently 72 percent white, 10 percent Asian, 8 percent black, 6 percent Latino and 4 percent mixed-race.) More need-based scholarships will help in the effort to make UGA more diverse, Morehead said.