For a number of years, Louisiana has been somewhat able to compete at "the big boys table" when it comes to higher education, through the TOPS program.

To more understand what TOPS has been able to provide, we looking directly at the website for the Taylor Opportunity Program For Students where we see that this:

is a program of state scholarships for Louisiana residents who attend either one of the Louisiana Public Colleges and Universities, schools that are a part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System or institutions that are a part of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

We actually help to offset expenses for college students and have been able to keep some of our brightest minds from leaving the state.  However, recent changes to the program are leaving Louisiana vulnerable and according to the Louisiana Radio Network, some college students are speaking out on the proposed changes.

President of the Louisiana Student Government, Zack Faircloth, says one proposed change by the board is to require students to take 30 credit hours a year in order to keep the scholarship.

Faircloth continues, "Our goal was to simply point out some of the fallacies that we saw. We didn't want to see these get adopted and nobody say anything about it."

Faircloth says they’ve written a two-page letter with their concerns to the board that oversees public colleges. The Board of Regents also proposed that freshman on TOPS should only have 80% of their tuition paid for by the state, while sophomores receive 90%, and juniors and seniors receive 100%. Faircloth says these are regressive ideas.

"We wanted to propose that the Board of Regents look at things that would make us a national competitor so we're not constantly having our best and brightest students poached by Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. It just doesn't make any sense."

The article from the Louisiana Radio Network also notes:

The Board of Regents have asked for public input on their plan addressing TOPS spending and they’ll make a final recommendation later this month. Faircloth says Louisiana should be doing all it can to make sure our best students stay in the Bayou State.

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