LA Senate Backs Cost Containment For TOPS Tuition Program

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A proposal to restrict the growth of Louisiana's TOPS free college tuition program has sailed through the Senate.

         The measure by Sen. Jack Donahue, a Mandeville Republican, would lock in the TOPS payment rate at next year's tuition level, unless lawmakers vote to raise payments.

         That could cost students more if tuition grows larger but lawmakers don't boost TOPS payments.

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         Senators voted 36-0 Wednesday for the bill without debate. The Legislature passed the same measure last year, but then-Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed it. Gov. John Bel Edwards supports it.

         Donahue's proposal goes to the House for consideration.

         TOPS is estimated to cost nearly $300 million in the upcoming school year. But it's unclear if the program will get full funding because of state budget problems.

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