Louisiana college students face uncertainty about TOPS money
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's budget problems are creating uncertainty for thousands of college students who rely on the state's TOPS free tuition program.
With a shortfall estimated at $750 million for next year's budget, it's not clear how much money the highly-popular program will receive in the financial year that begins July 1.
It would take nearly $294 million to pay for all the students who are estimated to be eligible. Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders suggest the state won't have enough money to cover that full amount.
Lawmakers on a House budget committee were told Tuesday that current law calls for paying tuition first for those with the highest ACT scores. Who will get a TOPS award likely won't be known until June when a final budget is crafted.