Gov. Deal backs plan to expand HOPE grant - CBS46 News

Gov. Deal backs plan to expand HOPE grant

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Thousands of students who want to attend Georgia's technical colleges have new hope for getting the money they need to pay for tuition.

Gov. Nathan Deal says he is backing a plan to make it easier for them to get the HOPE grant.

The state had cut funding over the past few years and tightened the grade-point average requirement for the HOPE grant.

Right now, students must achieve a grade-point average of 3.0 to qualify for the grant.

The new plan would drop the requirement down to 2.0.

"We need more Georgians with college or technical college degrees in order to attract the jobs of tomorrow," Deal said.

Nearly 4,000 students from Georgia's technical colleges dropped out because they could not qualify for the HOPE grant.

Flanked by leaders from both parties, the governor on Thursday morning said he would support a new bipartisan plan to get those students back into class.

"We do think it will attract even more students who had decided they would not go to technical school to change their minds and head in that direction. We think this is an appropriate step for us to take," Deal said.

The Georgia Lottery funds the grant program.

Revenues are up nearly $32 million this year.

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams says the windfall will allow the state to lower the requirements and fund more students.

"Students in Georgia who go to technical colleges will not lose opportunities because their GPA is not 3.0," Abrams said.

The General Assembly must first approve the plan, which does not appear to be a problem since leaders from both parties and both houses agree on it.

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