Lawmakers are once again proposing more changes to the TOPS scholarship program as budget problems continue to plague the state.

State representative Franklin Foil says raising the requirements for TOPS could make the program more affordable. The GPA requirement is currently a 2.5, but he says it should be increased to a 3.0 over the next three years.

“I think that will help protect the solvency of the TOPS program so we can fully fund it, and I also think it would keep the intent of the program in place, which is to keep the best and brightest kids in the state,” Foil said.

The Baton Rouge Republican plans to file a bill for the regular legislative session to raise the GPA requirement for TOPS students. Foil says all options need to be considered, so lawmakers can keep the program intact for the future. He says his proposal would make the program more of a merit-based scholarship, like it was intended to be.

“Where we reward kids who have performed well in high school by giving them an affordable college education,” Foil said.

Last year the state failed to fully fund the popular scholarship program and TOPS students at most public schools are paying a majority of their tuition this semester. Foil says raising the GPA will encourage high school students to perform better and make the program more cost effective for the state.

“Obviously, less people would qualify so the program would not cost as much for the state, and it’s a better opportunity for the state to fully fund it for the kids who do qualify and do make the good grades,” Foil said.

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