Grant Blankenship | GPB

The cafeteria at Bibb County’s Rutland High school in 2017.

House Bill 607 successfully passed in the 2023 Legislative Session after a Senate vote of 50-2. The legislation would “revise the definition of Zell Miller Scholarship Scholar by changing ACT score requirement for certain students,” per the bill.

The bill aligns the ACT score requirement for the Zell Miller scholarship with the SAT requirement.

According to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, Zell Miller scholars are required to graduate high school with a minimum 3.7 GPA and have a minimum score of 1200 on the SAT or minimum ACT score of 26.

Sponsor Republican Rep. Clay Pirkle of District 169 in Ashburn told the Senate Committee on Higher Education the problem is that, on occasion, the College Board alters the SAT’s format, making it not equivalent to the ACT.

“For the past several years, the students that have taken the ACT exclusively are at somewhat of a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “The way the SAT is scored right now, the 1200 is in the 75th percentile whereas the 26 that is encode for the Zell Miller is now equivalent to the 82nd percentile.”

Under HB 607, the Georgia Student Finance Commission will determine the “equivalent ACT composite scale score” to Zell Miller’s SAT requirement. The determination is set for Jan. 1 annually and will be based on “nationally recognized standards, such as the College Board and ACT concordance tables.”

The 2022 ACT Profile Report outlines that 35,284 Georgia students took the ACT for the 2021-22 academic year.

Pirkle called for the equal requirements for both tests so that “it makes it apples to apples equivalent” for students taking the ACT in the future.

This story comes to The Macon Newsroom through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.