BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A group of higher education leaders is starting Louisiana's latest study on the tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges and universities.

The Tuition Task Force was created by lawmakers earlier this year in a resolution by Carencro Rep. Stephen Ortego.

The task force holds its first meeting Thursday.

The study panel was asked to look at: the impact of increased tuition rates on the state's free college tuition program called TOPS; strategies for increasing college access and affordability; and new ways of charging tuition to generate additional money for campuses.

Louisiana is the only state in the nation that requires a two-thirds vote of state lawmakers to raise tuition. Higher education leaders have tried unsuccessfully for years to remove that requirement.

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