BATON ROUGE – A House committee today gave favorable response to legislation which would require a higher grade point average and stronger performance in key classes to qualify for TOPS scholarships.

The House Education Committee voted 9-3 in favor of a bill by Baton Rouge Republican Rep. Franklin Foil which will hike the GPA to 2.75 on high school curriculum.

The bill will head to the House floor for full debate.

Students must earn a 2.5 GPA under the current requirements. The new requirements would take effect in 2021.

The requirements would only apply to the "Opportunity" award, the basic TOPS scholarship.

Foil originally sought a 3.0 GPA requirement, but scaled back the number before it reached committee.

The bill drew opposition from both Gov. John Bel Edwards and James Collier of the Taylor Foundation, which started the TOPS program.

The tougher qualification requirement would save the state between $12 million and $17 million, according to officials.

Approximately 52,000 students currently receive college tuition aid through the TOPS program, which the state first offered to incoming college students in 1997.

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