Don’t touch TOPS: Edwards wants free tuition program ‘as is’

Louisiana tops free tuition program
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers may be considering ways to trim the costs of Louisiana’s free college tuition program, but Gov. John Bel Edwards isn’t interested in tweaking TOPS.

The governor said Monday he doesn’t favor making any changes to the much-beloved program in Louisiana. He said: “I would prefer that we keep TOPS as is.”

TOPS improved high school performance

TOPS is credited with improving high school performance and college graduation rates in Louisiana. But costs have shot up to an estimated $291 million this school year, as more students reached the eligibility standards and as tuition on college campuses rose.

Louisiana tops free tuition program

The price tag is alarming some lawmakers as the state continues to grapple with budget shortfalls.

Lawmakers convened a study group to make recommendations for changes to TOPS. That group is scheduled to start discussing proposals Thursday.