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Miss. House passes college financial aid change

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - -

A step toward helping poorer Mississippi students pay for college is moving ahead.

The House unanimously passed Senate Bill 2454 Thursday. It returns to the Senate for more work.

Now, only students from families making less than $36,500 a year are eligible for the Higher Education Legislative Plan.

That's the only state aid program aimed at poorer students. It awards the cost of tuition -- averaging $6,329 this year -- to students who score higher than 20 on the ACT college test and had a 2.5 GPA in high school. The state spent $3.2 million on HELP in 2012.

The income ceiling would rise to $39,500 on July 1, 2015, and $42,500 on July 1, 2016. Applications would be streamlined.

The changes would add $3 million to the program's cost.

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