TOPS again a target in Louisiana session, budget negotiation
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers, struggling with budget shortfalls, are again looking to restructure the TOPS college tuition program to lessen costs.
Proposals include boosting the grade point average required to get the award or steering more of the money to needy students. Another measure would require students who receive TOPS to work in Louisiana after college or repay some money spent on their tuition.
This year, for the first time, lawmakers didn't fully fund TOPS, instead covering only 70 percent of tuition costs for eligible students. Next year's budget proposal starts off with the same financing plan.
Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to add money to TOPS and is proposing tax increases to fill the $82 million gap in the program for the 2017-18 year. But the tax package faces significant opposition.