The Senate Education Committee Thursday agreed on an amended version of Sen. Jack Donahue's bill that would change the minimum grade-point average and ACT score required to get a TOPS award.

Donahue said he sees these changes as positives.

"I think it will be great for the kids to let them compete for the scholarships that are available," Donahue said. "I think, also, it will put some downward pressure on the amount of money that we spend in TOPS, which I think is a good thing also."

Donahue's bill would raise the minimum GPA to qualify for TOPS from 2.5 to 2.75.  The minimum ACT score would go up to 21 from 20. Donahue said he feels TOPS is a great program, but financially, something needs to change.

"By FY 19, the cost will be $358 million, which is almost triple what it was in 2008," Donahue said.

Opponents of the bill are concerned that a large number students will be cut from the program.

Donahue said his bill contains provisions that would take 10 percent of the savings earned from upping the TOPS standards and put them toward Louisiana GO Grants. That program awards scholarships to low- to middle-income students.

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