BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s budget problems are creating uncertainty for thousands of college students who rely on the state’s TOPS free tuition program.

With a shortfall estimated at $750 million for next year’s budget, it’s not clear how much money the highly popular program will receive in the financial year that begins July 1.

It would take nearly $294 million to pay for all the students who are estimated to be eligible. Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders suggest the state won’t have enough money to cover that full amount.

Lawmakers on a House Appropriations subcommittee were told Tuesday that current law

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