- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A new report for the Board of Regents and state lawmakers provides an analysis of who receives free college tuition from Louisiana’s TOPS program. Among the findings of the report, which looked at TOPS awards given to about 180,000 students from 2003 to 2014:

-79 percent of TOPS recipients were white, 15 percent were black. In Louisiana, 64 percent of residents are white, and 32 percent are black.

-58 percent of TOPS recipients were women. In Louisiana, about 51 percent of residents are female.

-TOPS recipients on average come from households with incomes ranging from $70,000 to $99,999. Louisiana’s median household income is $44,164.

-33 percent of recipients lost their TOPS award because they didn’t continue to meet the academic criteria required in college.

-The average ACT score for TOPS recipients was 23.2, while the average high school grade point average was 3.3. The average ACT score for recipients who lost their award was 22.9, while their average high school GPA was 3.13.

-62 percent of TOPS recipients get a baccalaureate degree within six years, compared to 32 percent of non-TOPS students.

-The average TOPS award cost $2,286 in the 1998-99 school year and $4,530 by the 2013-14 school year.

-52.9 percent of TOPS recipients last year went to colleges in the University of Louisiana System, 33.2 percent to LSU System campuses, 4.7 percent to schools in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, 1.4 percent to campuses in the Southern University System and 7.5 percent to private institutions in Louisiana.

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