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(AJC) — 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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