BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's  state senators have agreed to let public colleges raise their own tuition rates without needing legislative approval.

But that authority only would come if a separate proposal to put cost controls on the TOPS free college tuition program also gains passage.

The Senate voted 33-4 Monday for the constitutional amendment by Sen. Jack Donahue, a Mandeville Republican, that would take the Legislature out of the tuition-setting business. Instead, those decisions would rest with college system management boards.

The proposal is linked to another Senate-approved measure by Donahue that would put limits on tuition awards allowed under the TOPS program. Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes the TOPS cost-control bill.

The tuition-setting proposal heads to the House for consideration, where the TOPS bill also awaits a hearing.

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