If you're a parent of a student currently enrolled or about to be enrolled in one of our stat's institutions of higher education you know about TOPS. You're probably noticing for this Spring term just how much the TOPS program isn't going to cover for your child.

It's a good program but there are some fatal flaws that have left the program without the funding it needs.

The Louisiana Board of Regents is currently discussing different options to increase funding for the program. Among those plans is a graduated system for payout. That might mean freshmen get 80% of their tuition paid. Sophomores would get 90% of their tuition paid. Juniors and Seniors, because of their actual commitment to higher education, could earn a 100% tuition grant.

That's a pretty good idea but it's not my favorite idea. I love the idea of selling naming rights to the TOPS program. You know what I mean by naming rights? The Superdome is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, that's because the car company pays a big chunk of change for us to call that building by that name.

The TOPS program could be known as Popeyes Fried Chicken TOPS program or the Ford F-150 TOPS program. Oh, My Gosh! The possibilities are endless! If advertisers were really wanting to target college kids there could be the TOPS Ramen program for students.

You think I am kidding about the naming rights thing, don't you? Here's what Lousiana Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo told the Louisiana Radio Network.

If businesses want to hire those students, maybe they want to support them. So I could foresee the TOPS scholarship brought to you by fill in the blank type of company and paying into TOPS to allow some additional revenue to come in.

So, they want to target business that will be hiring college graduates. How about for Liberal Arts Majors there could be the Dominos Pizza TOPS program. How about the Morris Bart TOPS program for student athletes? Political Science majors might have their tuition paid for by the Black Kow Organic Compost TOPS program.

I like the idea of each school or department having their own named sponsor for TOPS students. The possibilities are endless. The Prozac TOPS program for Psychology majors, the National Enquirer TOPS program for journalism majors, the Orville Redenbacher TOPS program for Theater majors. It just makes sense. Well about as much sense as the way the TOPS program is being administered now.

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