Students holding on to Hope after Mega million jackpot hits high

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)- It's been four years since the Mega Millions cash prize reached anywhere near tonight's whopping 355 million dollar prize.

"We'll first thing I believe I would do is just buy me a big old Cadillac and retire again."

And it has brought hundreds of people out today to beat the odds and become a winner.

"If I do win I'm calling work and say I'm calling out because I'm rich," Angela Snipes said.

At Ray's Food mart heavy foot traffic started yesterday and continued into today.

"Some people they play before too yesterday, we have more people play and today more new faces come in to play," Nancy Ngyun said.

While not everyone can be a winner, just playing the lottery here in Georgia goes towards benefiting thousands of students each year.

"The profit not only from the mega millions game but for all the games that the Georgia lottery sales, the profit goes to support the program that we help fund which is the hope scholarship and the pre-kindergarten program," said Margaret DeFrancisco president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Cooperation

The Mega Millions jackpot couldn't have come a better time. Governor Elect Nathan Deal and other Georgia Law makers announced last month that the Hope scholarship program could experience significant cuts.

The first approved cut is a decrease in the amount students will receive for books, 300 dollars to 150 dollars and starting in July 2013, students won't receive any money for mandatory fees.

Margaret DeFrancisco says that the increase in Lottery sales from this Jackpot will hopefully help sustain the Pre-K program and Hope.

"Every dollar that comes in from a big jackpot like this absolutely does help the hope and pre-kindergarten program," DeFrancisco said.

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