Students react to proposed drastic cuts to TOPS

Students react to proposed drastic cuts to TOPS

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The future of Louisiana's college scholarship program is on the minds of many students at the state's flagship university.

In an effort to address the state's looming $750 million dollar budget shortfall, Gov. John Bel Edwards has proposed drastic cuts to the TOPS program.

Nearly 34,000 students could lose their scholarships. Under the way it works now, the requirements change if there is not enough money to pay for TOPS. The ACT score needed automatically goes up to 26.

"I think it's unfair how we give scholarships to people who aren't even in the state just to expand our diversity of our school," said Ashley Larson. "That is something that bothers me personally because I think that those scholarships should be given to students who work very hard because I had a 4.0 graduating but that doesn't matter when it comes to TOPS as does the ACT score."

Both Larson and Mieklan Bortnick are freshman at LSU, majoring in biology. Bortnick said the cuts are unfair to those who have worked hard to earn the scholarships.

"It kind of upsets me, I know some kids that won't be able to afford to go to college if they don't have TOPS," Bortnick said. "Every college is expensive, having to pay for tuition, books and all of that stuff, the extra stuff like meal plans and things like that, just having that money provided for you that you worked hard for through elementary school all the way to high school. Taking that dream away from some kids is really hurtful and upsetting."

Lawmakers are still debating various bills aimed at saving TOPS. Many of them change the requirements needed to get the scholarship money.

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