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Students can apply to new loan program

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

ATLANTA -- Georgia students can now apply for low-interest loans aimed to help families that need extra help paying for college.

State lawmakers set aside $20 million this year for the program as part of an overhaul to the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship that cut back the awards for most students. Only the highest-performing students will get full HOPE awards, and the program will no longer pay for books and fees.

The average loan award will be $3,500 with a maximum award of $10,000 per year and $40,000 in their lifetime. If requests exceed the money available, a computer will randomly select who gets loans.

Loans will have a 1 percent interest rate, and borrowers will be required to pay interest while in school. To qualify, students must graduate high school with a 2.5 GPA and maintain at least a 2.0 in college.

Students must be able to demonstrate they have exhausted all other financial aid sources and must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Students may apply online at www.GAcollege411.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.