Two bills by Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey that would raise the minimum requirements to receive, and keep TOPS were passed out of the House Education Committee. One bill, would send students who score 2.5-2.75 GPAs and a 20 ACT to a two-year college instead of a four-year university. Ivey says community colleges are a better place for those students.

“A lot has changed at the technical college community college level. They’re doing tremendous things, amazing things.”

Ivey says the bill is a pilot program for a potential push to expand the use of two year colleges.

But Patrick Taylor Foundation Executive Director James Callier says it’s not right to keep those students, who are disproportionately minorities, out of a four year college program.

“These students who make a 20 (ACT) or above are ready for universities, by the national assessment.”

The other bill would raise the standards needed to keep TOPS once awarded. Incoming freshman would need to keep a 2.75 GPA after 48 hours of classes, up from the current 2.5. Currently students can carry a 2.3 for their first three semesters, and Ivey says that’s just too low of a bar for aid.

“If a 2.3 is high achieving then I question if we’ve lowered the bar on what high achieving is.”

But Callier says Ivey’s legislation isn’t going to inspire higher achievement, it’s just going to throw thousands of students out of college.

“This bill eliminates students, there’s no reason for it, other than to deny students the opportunity to go to school.”

The bills head to the House floor