BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Senate is considering whether to raise eligibility standards for the state's free college tuition program called TOPS.

The price tag for the program is growing to $250 million next year, and lawmakers are questioning whether the state needs to trim its costs. Louisiana has among the most generous tuition aid programs in the nation.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue is proposing to raise the minimum grade point average and ACT score required to get a TOPS award for future students.

The Senate is scheduled to debate the idea Monday afternoon.

Supporters say the bill could control costs, while encouraging students to reach higher standards. Opponents say the changes would disproportionately eliminate minority students from the program.

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