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Posted: February 7, 2013 2:58 p.m.

Gov. Deal: HOPE will be expanded for tech grants

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers have reached an agreement to lower the grade requirements to qualify for HOPE grants at Georgia technical schools.

The Republican governor was surrounded by legislators from both parties when he said Thursday that the threshold will be returned to a 2.0 grade point average. Lawmakers previously raised it to a 3.0 amid sagging lottery revenue projections, but Deal says an uptick in lottery proceeds allows for the flexibility.

Lower eligibility will increase HOPE spending by $5 million to $8 million annually, Deal said, and will benefit several thousand students. Enrollment in two-year technical programs has dropped since lawmakers raised the academic requirements.

The change will require a new act of the legislature, but officials at the Capitol say that is now a formality.

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