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Ga. Lottery posts educational transfers totaling $15B

Ga. Lottery posts educational transfers totaling $15B

ATLANTA – As the Georgia Lottery Corp. celebrates its 20th anniversary, lottery officials today announced record proceeds to education for the first half of fiscal year 2014. The Georgia Lottery’s first-half transfers to the Lottery for Education Account will bring the total raised for educational programs in the state to $15 billion since the lottery’s inception in 1993.

Georgia Lottery returns to education for the first half of fiscal year 2014 totaled $462.1 million, more than $11.6 million ahead of the same period last year.

“More dollars will go to fund educational programs in Georgia than ever before as a result of our strong start to the fiscal year,” said Georgia Lottery President and CEO Debbie D. Alford. “We are proud of our accomplishments and remain committed to maximizing revenues to benefit Georgia’s students.”

The first half of the fiscal year spanned from July 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013.

Path2College launches savings sweepstakes

Path2College launches savings sweepstakes

(WXIA) -- Path2College, Georgia's 529 savings plan, has kicked off this year's $25,000 Reasons to Save Sweepstakes.

The promotion is designed to get parents thinking about saving for college while their children are still young.

Through the sweepstakes, one lucky child will be awarded $15,000 for his or her college education. The winner's school will receive $10,000.

"All you have to do is go online and enter for a chance to win," Path2College exeuctive director Mitch Seabaugh said. "There's nothing to lose by entering, and both a child and his or her school have a lot to gain."

To enter, visit path2college529.com. The sweepstakes is open to current Path2College 529 Plan account owners or non-account owners who live in Georgia and are at least 21 years old.

The contest closes on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Scholarships available to high school and college students

Scholarships available to high school and college students

(WXIA) -- The Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia is offering three scholarships to Georgia's college students and high school seniors.

To qualify for the COAG Scholarship, a student must be a high school senior or GED candidate and a Georgia citizen, and should be scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2014.

Current students at accredited Georgia colleges and universities are also welcome to apply. The scholarship is available to students majoring in government or law enforcement; political science; accounting or finance; business; or pre-law.

COAG is offering scholarships in three amounts -- $500, $1,000 and $1,500. Applicants must write a 1,000-word essay that answers the question "Who are the locally elected constitutional officers and what differentiates them from other county offices?"

Regents to discuss smoking ban at Ga. colleges

Regents to discuss smoking ban at Ga. colleges

ATHENS, Ga. -- The board that governs Georgia's public colleges and universities is taking a close look at banning tobacco from campuses statewide.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the proposed tobacco ban at its meeting Wednesday in Atlanta. The ban would prohibit faculty, students, staff and even spectators at sporting events from smoking or using smokeless tobacco in both indoor and outdoor parts of college campuses.

The policy would tighten anti-smoking policies at campuses such as the University of Georgia, which since 2011 has prohibited lighting up within 35 feet of building entrances.

If adopted by the Board of Regents, the tobacco ban would affect all 31 campuses in the University System of Georgia.

Georgia Joker wins spot in Fan Hall of Fame

Georgia Joker wins spot in Fan Hall of Fame

ATHENS, Ga. -- In a sea of red and black, he's the one in the bright green wig. Now, the Georgia Joker will have a spot in ESPN's Fan Hall of Fame.

PHOTOS | See the Georgia Joker in action

Pierce Wallace is only a freshman at the University of Georgia, "But I've been a fan my whole life," he told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe. "I knew this was the school I was going to attend. So, when I got accepted to Georgia, I wanted to give back."

He joined the Spike Squad, a group of intense fans that attend all UGA sporting events. They are most visible in section 109 of Sanford Stadium during football games. Wallace said the Georgia Joker character gained instant attention. "I was dressed like the joker for the first game against South Carolina. ESPN took a photo and tweeted it, and that's where it started."

Ga. high school graduation rate increases in 2013

Ga. high school graduation rate increases in 2013

(WXIA) -- The public school graduation rate in Georgia continues to climb.

The Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday that the state's graduation rate was 71.5 percent in 2013 -- almost two points higher than in 2012 and four points above 2011's rate.

Every state uses a U.S. Department of Education-mandated four-year adjusted cohort rate to calculate graduations. It tracks the number of students who graduate from high school within the standard four years.

State superintendent Dr. John Barge said the more rigorous calculation method still shows an increase in Georgia's graduation rate.

"Despite the economic challenges our districts are facing, we have more high school students graduating today than we have had in several years, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers," Barge said in a statement.

Clarke County's 2013 four-year graduation rate was 69.5 percent.

GED registration begins on new website

GED registration begins on new website

(WXIA) -- Registration for the 2014 General Educational Development tests is now open on the new MyGED website.

The site, located at ged.com, offers study plans, skills assessments and other resources to help adults receive the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The 2014 GED program launches on Jan. 2. It was overhauled to better prepare GED candidates for higher education and the working world, and ultimately allow them to find jobs with higher pay.

The website also features a list of GED testing centers across metro Atlanta.