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Posted: 9:40 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016

Man to fulfill dream of going to college after winning $500K lottery prize

By Theresa Seiger

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

CREST HILL, Ill. —

An Illinois man spent $10 on a lottery ticket that turned out to be worth a half-million dollars, and he plans to put that cash toward a college degree.

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"I always wanted to go to college, and now that I won this prize, I can," Illinois Lottery winner Michael MacAuley said.

MacAuley won an instant prize of $500,000 after scratching a "$500,000 Jackpot" ticket at his home in Crest Hill.

"I started to shake when I realized I was holding a ticket worth half a million dollars," he said Monday in a news release from the Illinois Lottery.

He told lottery officials that he typically buys one or two instant lottery tickets each week "because you just never know." He bought his ticket from a self-service lottery machine in Crest Hill. The retailer, U.S. Tobacco, got 1 percent of the prize amount, or $5,000, for selling the winning ticket.

The "$500,000 Jackpot" scratch-off game was launched in September.

The Illinois Lottery was founded in 1974 and has since raised more than $19 billion for the state's Common School Fund, aimed at supporting public schools.