- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging Louisiana’s public colleges against boosting tuition costs, after the schools largely escaped budget cuts in the financial year that begins Friday.

The governor made his request Wednesday to Louisiana’s top higher education governing board, the Board of Regents.

Edwards supported the 2016-17 budget passed by lawmakers, which gives the schools a less than 1 percent reduction from the money they received this year. That comes after years of state financing cuts that stripped hundreds of millions of dollars from campuses.

In exchange for the protection, Edwards requested “zero or minimal increases” in tuition.

But students and their families already may be paying more than they expected even without tuition increases, because the TOPS tuition program is taking a 30 percent cut.

Most colleges have authority to raise tuition under a law that allows certain price hikes if performance benchmarks are reached. It’s unclear which colleges will heed the governor’s request.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System announced last week it won’t increase tuition for students. Other college systems haven’t announced their plans.

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