AP Wire

Modest changes proposed for TOPS

by Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers looking for ways to control the ballooning price tag of Louisiana's TOPS free college tuition program are advancing modest cost-containment proposals. They have shelved, at least for now, more sweeping proposals to change who can receive the tuition aid.

The Senate Education Committee on Thursday backed a bill that would lock in the TOPS tuition payment rate at next year's level, unless lawmakers vote to raise payments when tuition rises.

The committee also supported a measure to raise the minimum academic standard to get add-on TOPS stipends for higher-performing students.

A proposal to end TOPS awards for students to attend private colleges was scrapped.

A day earlier, the House Education Committee stalled bills seeking to modify TOPS criteria and require repayment when a student fails to maintain academic standards.