BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The full Senate will debate whether to make changes to Louisiana's free college tuition program known as TOPS, after years of complaints it has grown too expensive.

The Senate Education Committee on Thursday agreed without objection to a rewritten version of Sen. Jack Donahue's bill to raise the minimum grade point average and ACT score required to get a TOPS award.

Currently, to get the basic TOPS scholarship, a student must have a 2.5 GPA on core curriculum and a 20 ACT score. Donahue's bill would change that to a 2.75 GPA and a 21 ACT.

The changes would begin in four years.

Supporters say that could help control the cost of TOPS, while encouraging students to reach higher standards. Critics say it would disproportionately hit poor and minority students.

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