TOPS task force meets to chart scholarship program's future

TOPS task force meets Wednesday

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A TOPS task force meets for the first time today to discuss ways to fund and save the scholarship program.

As the cost of college has gone up, so has the number of students applying for the TOPS scholarship program.

This year, nearly 51,000 students are receiving help from the program to pay for their college education.

But that increased popularity has led to increased costs in the face of the state's financial trouble.

This year, the TOPS scholarship program is operating with a $187 million deficit, making it a target for elimination for some.

The TOPS task force will meet Wednesday to discuss changes to the program designed to save it.

Right now, students with a 2.5-grade point average and a score of 20 on their ACT are eligible for the program.

Some lawmakers have discussed increasing those benchmarks for eligibility.

But Tulane University recently published a study showing even a small change could have an impact.
Increasing the ACT score requirement by one percentage point from 20 to 21 would make 28 percent of students statewide ineligible.

Some are also suggesting making financial need a factor in determining eligibility for TOPS.

The Tulane study found 41 percent of students receiving TOPS money come from families making more than $100,000 a year.

The Wednesday meeting marks the first for the task force.

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