Please help: Zell Miller (GA) and In-state Residency

Going out on a limb here, but has anyone dealt with a residency issue regarding the state of Georgia’s Zell Miller scholarship? I could really use some insight because I’m getting conflicting responses.

We moved to GA in June 2020. D goes to a public HS in GA and will graduate this May. She meets the academic requirements as shown on the GA Futures website. As far as residency, the Zell Miller eligibility requirements just state that the student must be a GA resident. I cannot find a definition of “resident” on the GA Futures site. For purposes of in-state tuition, the University of Georgia system states that a student must have been a GA resident for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes for the term for which she is enrolling. We have that: she will have been a GA resident for 12 months by this June (we have lots of residency proofs such as taxes, home ownership, jobs, voter registration, licenses, etc.), and the term starts in August.

However…the Financial Aid office at one of the GA public universities is telling us that we must have paid state taxes here for 24 MONTHS before she can get Zell Miller. I can’t find that requirement anywhere. Has anyone else run into this? The university told me to contact GA Futures, who told me that they just report the academic stats and the college determines residency. So I called the university back, and they said that the GA Dept of Education reports eligibility to them. The HS guidance counselor has so far not been helpful. Ugh. If it’s a 24 month rule, so be it but I would like to see where that is listed.

The way it’s worded is you must be a GA resident at the time of graduation or the 24 month rule applies.

That’s what I thought, too. She will be a GA resident at the time of HS graduation so the 24 month rule shouldn’t apply.

The give a specific example of a family where the student graduated HS in TX and moved to GA. That student would have to wait 24 months. Maybe I have interpreted it wrong or the school you contacted has. GA HS’s graduate in May for the most part and I would hope they wouldn’t take this away over a few weeks of time since you moved in June. I’m guessing they are wrong since they will have done a full year at a GA HS which they graduated from, and college will begin in August which is over 12 months time.

If they graduate from an eligible GA HS it should be a non-issue.

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