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Posted: Friday, 02 May 2014 7:18AM

Bill to change TOPS requirements passes committee

The Senate Education Committee Thursday agreed on an amended version of Senator Jack Donahue's bill that would change the minimum grade point average and ACT score required to get a TOPS award. 

Donahue sees these changes as positives.
"I think it will be great for the kids, to let them compete for the scholarships that are available.  I think, also, it will put some downward pressure on the amount of money that we spend in TOPS, which I think is a good thing also," he explained.
Donahue's bill would raise the minimum GPA to qualify for TOPS from 2.5 to 2.75.  The minimum ACT score would go up to 21 from 20.  Donahue feels that TOPS is a great program, but financially something needs to change.

"By FY 19, the cost will be $358 million which is almost triple what it was in 2008," the senator insisted.
Opponents of the bill are concerned that a large number students will be cut from the program.  Donahue says there are provisions in the bill to help those students.
"We also took ten percent of whatever savings are going to occur and use that to fund the Go Grants so to help those students, that perhaps make the grade with TOPS, have a Go Grant available to them."

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