A state legislative committee is considering tougher rules on which Louisiana high school students would qualify for the TOPS college scholarship.
According to a report by the New Orleans Advocate, current rules require students to have a 2.5 grade point average on their school’s core curriculum to qualify for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS).
Data supplied to the 10-member TOPS Task force shows that changing that requirement would have a significant impact on the number of students who receive the scholarship.
Raising the GPA requirement to 2.7 would reduce the number of eligible students by 19 percent. Raising that number to 3.0 would trim that list by 44 percent.
The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill earlier this year that would raise the minimum GPA required to receive TOPS to 2.75. That bill ultimately died in the Senate Education Committee because senators wanted a wide-ranging study of TOPS.
Other lawmakers point to possibly raising the minimum ACT score needed, instead of raising the minimum GPA, to receive TOPS.
The current minimum required ACT score to receive TOPS is 20 out of 36. Raising that requirement to 21 would remove 27 percent of eligible students. Raising the required test score to 22 would remove 55 percent of qualified students.
No change has been finalized yet. Senator Blade Morrish, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, plans to hold three more meetings to develop a consensus on future changes on TOPS.
The committee must make final recommendations by Feb. 15, just under a month before the 2018 regular legislative session.