House Approves TOPS Limits
Paying for college, that's what the Taylor Opportunity Scholarship Program or TOPS was created. The program allowed deserving Louisiana students and their families money that would help them afford a higher education at a state university. Like almost everything that has to do with higher education, the money for that program has been questioned.
Yesterday the Louisiana House voted to put a cap or limits on TOPS awards. While that may not sound like it's a good thing. It may be the one thing that saves the program for future generations of students.
Right now the TOPS funding is a burden to the state. There are so many students taking advantage of the program it simply can't keep up. The awards for TOPS are based on tuition. Any parent with a student in college will tell you that tuition goes up every year. In the current financial framework of TOPS so would the TOPS award.
That automatic increase is what prompted the legislature to reevaluate the way TOPS is funded. No longer will the program be influenced by rising tuition costs. There is a maximum amount the awards can go up every year. That is unless the legislature approves a larger increase by a two-thirds majority.
The bill has already been passed by the Senate but must return there to be voted on again after the House membership made some technical changes to the language and structure of the bill. Those who support this legislation say that it's the only way to keep the program alive. I certainly hope a program for deserving students would be worth hanging on to.