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Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 7:59am

HOPE Bill Moving Under Gold Dome

A sweeping overhaul of the state's lottery-funded HOPE scholarship has rapidly cleared two hurdles in the Georgia Legislature.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill 60-2 Thursday morning soon after the higher education subcomittee signed off on it.

Pushed by new Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the bill makes deep cuts to the cash-strapped HOPE scholarship.

Under the plan, only high school students with a 3.7 grade point average and a 1200 on their SATs would continue to qualify for free public college tuition. Those with a 3.0 GPA would see a portion of their tuition covered, 90 percent next year.

The House placed more restrictions on bonuses for lottery employees and boosted the amount retailers receive for selling winning tickets.

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