Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HOPE, pre-k funds face cuts in new legislative session

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

4:53 a.m. Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One sure bet this legislative session: Changes are coming that will affect the bottom line for participants in the popular lottery-funded HOPE and pre-kindergarten programs.

Lawmakers have been warned that the programs -- collectively serving about 200,000 college students and about 82,000 preschoolers -- have to be scaled back, given forecasts of a $320 million deficit in lottery money to cover the programs' expenses for fiscal year 2012.

A variety of potential changes have been suggested -- including raising the GPA requirement for HOPE eligibility. The ideas tossed around for pre-k include making it income-based or charging an annual fee of $500 to $1,000 a year. The program is currently free and open to all 4-year-olds.

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