TOPS

Wallis Watkins

The legislative task force charged with re-examining the TOPS scholarship program in Louisiana approved a package of changes Wednesday. 

Martin via Flickr / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

After about six months of work, the TOPS task force is set to vote on potential changes to the popular state scholarship program Wednesday. 

Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance

The task force charged with reviewing the TOPS scholarship program held its first meeting Wednesday at the Capitol. 


TOPS Task Force Named

Aug 4, 2017
Mark Carroll

What to do about TOPS? The popular college scholarship program has grown from $50-million in 1999, to a cost of nearly $300-million this year, and Louisiana is facing a $1.2-billion drop in revenues next year.

“Doing nothing is not an option moving forward,” says Representative Franklin Foil of Baton Rouge.


Sue Lincoln

“I was just looking at the definition of ‘austere’: ‘a situation in which there is not much money and it is spent only on things that are necessary’,” Senate Finance chairman Eric LaFleur remarked, as he unveiled his committee’s proposed changes to the House budget bill.

courtesty: LOSFA

A bill to increase the grade-point average to qualify for a four-year TOPS award is headed to the Senate – but not without some controversy along the way.


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“We’re trying to get away from having consistent midyear cuts, which, as of right now, the only way I can think of doing it is not appropriating all of the money,” House Appropriations chair Cameron Henry said, as he called for his committee to approve what he referred to as a “standstill” budget, spending just 97.5% of the revenue forecast for the next fiscal year.


Wallis Watkins

University of Louisiana System Day at the Capitol Wednesday treated lawmakers and visitors alike to a performance by the Grambling State University band. But inside the building, officials and students from the nine-school system had serious concerns for the House Appropriations Committee. 


Sue Lincoln

Earlier this week, at the Board of Regents Summit, House Speaker Taylor Barras and Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger talked funding for higher education in the upcoming session, starting with full funding for TOPS.


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The Revenue Estimating Conference meets Friday to put an official number on the mid-year budget shortfall and start the wheels moving on cuts – which are expected to exceed $300-million. Where will the axe fall?

“Because Higher Ed and parts of health care are not protected, I believe that once again, sadly, we’re going to take a large part of the burden," says Louisiana Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo.

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