Kleckley talks of capping state's TOPS program

BATON ROUGE (AP) — House Speaker Chuck Kleckley says lawmakers need to find a way to control the costs of the state's free

college tuition program known as TOPS.

Kleckley says colleges need to be able to raise their tuition rates, but he says the state can't afford to continue increasing

TOPS program costs, which are estimated to reach $204 million next year.

Kleckley said Wednesday that lawmakers have to consider capping the popular free tuition program, while also continuing to

provide an incentive for people to go to college.

The Republican House speaker is pushing a bill to shift decision-making from the Legislature to the Board of Regents on whether

to raise tuition costs to regional averages. Kleckley says cost controls for TOPS will be part of that discussion.