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Possible cap on TOPS Scholarship

4 years 2 months 2 weeks ago April 04, 2013 Apr 4, 2013 Thursday, April 04 2013 April 04, 2013 5:17 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Adrian Pittman

BATON ROUGE - While college students are enjoying Spring Break, state lawmakers are crunching numbers for the upcoming school year, thinking of ways to help the higher education institutions become financially independent.

"Currently Louisiana is one of only three states where you have to come to the state legislature to get approval for higher education to raise their tuition," said House Speaker Chuck Kleckley.

Monday he introduced House Bill 194. It would take tuition increases out of the hands of legislatures and give the institutions the authority to change tuition and the Board of Regents final approval power.

"Higher ed shouldn't have to come to the legislature. They can go straight to the regents," said Kleckley.

If universities increase their tuition, more money would be needed to fund the state's TOPS Scholarship Program.

"We have to find a better way to manage TOPS, and make sure that the money is there."

With tuition going up, there's talks of putting a cap on TOPS. For the upcoming school year, tops will cost the state about $204 million.

"It's grown, and it's taken a lot of money from the state general funds."

The Board of Regents says the time is now to look into the problem.

"TOPS has pretty much doubled over the last years, so it is something that is going into the state budget and the question is how do you address that," said Commissioner of Higher Education, James Purcell.

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