Budget concerns cause state to temporarily suspend TOPS payments
BATON ROUGE - The State Office of Student Financial Assistance has alerted Louisiana colleges Thursday that they’re suspending TOPS scholarship payments immediately due to looming potential budget cuts.
TOPS eligible institutions received an email Thursday alerting schools that all TOPS payments would be halted without further notice. A spokesperson for TOPS told WBRZ more details about the hold would be released as information becomes available.
LOSFA said the email was sent out as a precautionary measure until more is learned about the implications of budget uncertainty.
TOPS has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last two decades to full time students from Louisiana seeking a four-year degree. TOPS usually pays tuition for students directly to institutions on the 14th day of the semester.
Universities contacted by WBRZ Thursday evening said it was too early to tell how the funding hold would impact students' education bills and budgets.
"We received the email today from LOSFA and are unsure of the implications at this time," LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard said. "We should know more through the special session."
The UL System agreed. In a statement, the system said: "We don't know enough about the TOPS situation right now to assess how it will directly impact our students or universities. However we know any reduction in TOPS funding will have a hugely negative impact on our students and our universities."