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Senator proposes award redesign for Louisiana TOPS program

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana lawmaker leading a study of the state’s TOPS free college tuition program is recommending a rewrite of how awards are doled out to students.

Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, a Jennings Republican, wants to lessen the amount of tuition covered for students who reach the basic award for a four-year college, to give them a flat $4,000 payment for the year.

He’s proposing to increase payments to higher-performing students.

Morrish offered the idea Thursday to a legislative task force reviewing the TOPS program amid cost concerns. The task force will determine at another meeting whether to recommend Morrish’s proposal to state lawmakers.

The suggestion would require a change in state law, and it wouldn’t impact students currently receiving TOPS awards. It’s estimated to save about $20 million a year.

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