Louisiana Senate plans to keep TOPS whole, Alario says
The state’s popular TOPS program will likely remain fully funded even after the state Senate tweaks its version of next year’s budget. But the chamber isn’t keen on changing qualifications for the scholarship program, Senate President John Alario tells the USA Today Network of Louisiana.
“We’re going to do our best to leave TOPS intact; that’s the sentiment here, and I think it will happen,” says Alario, R-Westwego.
The Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, is conducting hearings on the budget now. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ initial budget proposal funded about 70% of TOPS, similar to what students received this year, but the House shifted money from healthcare to boost the scholarship program.
Although Alario is confident the Senate will keep TOPS funding in tact, he predicts senators will reject a bill that would raise the TOPS grade point average qualification from 2.5 to 2.75, if it’s approved by the full House next week. That’s no sure thing.
“I don’t think any changes to the qualifications for TOPS will be successful in the Senate,” he says.