TOPS Scholarship redesign could mean less funding for students
BATON ROUGE- The TOPS Task Force is meeting today to discuss some major changes to the state's popular college scholarship.
The proposed cuts would save the state almost $20 million per year. But, in a state where some students depend on TOPS to stay in school, that cut could be costly.
It looks like lower-end state scholarship recipients could be on the losing end of this proposed redesign of the TOPS program. Less money could be on the way for those who qualify for the Basic Award. If passed, the award would start at a base of $4,000 toward college tuition a semester. That is $1,600 less than the average annual tuition rate across the state.
Senator Dan Morrish of Jennings is the chairman of the task force and the man suggesting the TOPS cut. He says his goal is not to lower TOPS' costs, but to encourage students to work harder by offering more tuition money and stipends as a reward.
Currently, the program covers tuition at any four-year school for students who obtained a 2.5 GPA and a 20 on their ACT.
The state faces a $1 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year and TOPS is at the top of the list to be cut.