BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is urging state lawmakers to increase the standards for students to get free college tuition through Louisiana's TOPS program.

Lawmakers will consider TOPS changes in the legislative session that begins March 10.

BRAC said Thursday that increasing eligibility requirements would align TOPS to similar programs in Georgia and Florida.

For the basic TOPS award, a graduating high school student must reach a 2.5 grade point average in core courses and a 20 on the ACT college entrance test. BRAC recommends changing the requirements to a 3.0 GPA and a 26 ACT score.

The organization proposes phasing in the changes over several years and increasing need-based aid for college students through a separate tuition assistance program.

Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes efforts to raise TOPS eligibility standards.

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