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Thus-far this year we've had two Online Town Hall meetings. You can watch the video for the second meeting here. You can also watch video from the 1/08/13 Town Hall here. We'll have another Online Town Hall meeting toward the end of February.
Thursday Governor Deal announced changes to the HOPE Grant, the program funded by the Lottery which help people attend Technical Colleges. The proposal would allow Technical College students who maintain a 2.0 GPA to access the HOPE Grant. This was the standard until 2011 when the GPA requirements were raised to 3.0 to deal with a shortfall in all lottery funded programs.
Deal’s plan would cost between $5 million and $8 million a year. He said the state can afford it because lottery deposits were up $32 million in the first six months of this fiscal year, a 7.6 percent increase over the same period last year.
The governor also stressed the important role technical college graduates play in the state’s economy. Deal repeated statistics that show about 60 percent of all jobs by 2020 will require a certificate or degree beyond a high school diploma. Technical colleges need to graduate more students for the state to reach this level.
On Friday the Legislature approved the Amended FY2013 Budget. Overall, we trimmed another $26.3 million from the budget. Most State Agencies were cut so that money could be shifted toward K-12 Education and Medicaid. Unfortunately, as things stand now Georgia Gwinnett College faces a $2.2 million cut over and above the 3% cut other Colleges and Universities are facing. I and other members of the Gwinnett Delegation will continue to work to soften these cuts as the Amended FY2013 Budget moves to the Senate for consideration.
The House will be back in Session at 1 PM Monday and will meet each daily through Thursday. I will send out another of these weekly emails next weekend.
Please feel free to contact me anytime if I can be of assistance. I'm honored to serve you at the Capitol and covet your prayers and support.