Capping TOPS money rejected by committee
BATON ROUGE - A state senator's bid to cap the amount of money college students can receive through the free tuition program called TOPS was soundly rejected by the Senate Education Committee, a move expected to kill the proposal for the session.
The bill (Senate Bill 50) by Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, has been rejected repeatedly over the years. The TOPS program is politically popular, and opponents argue students have earned the free tuition and the state shouldn't take away what students have been promised.
The Senate committee rejected the measure without objection Thursday.
Gautreaux said he believes the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students is an important program, but he said the state needs to consider limits on the $130 million-plus program that grows annually, particularly because of ongoing state budget problems. He proposed limiting a TOPS award, beginning next year, to 90 percent of what a public college charges in the 201-12 school year.