BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal, state senators have agreed to put cost controls on Louisiana's TOPS free college tuition program.

The Senate voted 27-9 Wednesday for the bill by Republican Sen. Jack Donahue, of Mandeville, which has the backing of higher education leaders.

Under the proposal, the TOPS tuition payment rate would be locked in at the 2015-16 level. Rather than automatic increases whenever college tuition rises, increases to TOPS payments in the 2016-17 year and beyond would have to get separate approval from lawmakers.

The measure, heading to the House for debate, could make students pay more out-of-pocket for college.

But Donahue says TOPS, slated to cost $284 million next year, is threatened without ways to limit its growth.


Senate Bill 48 can be found at


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