Measure toughening TOPS requirements shelved by Board of Regents

Measure toughening TOPS requirements shelved by Board of Regents

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Board of Regents shelved a proposal toughening TOPS requirements for at least the time being.

The proposed rules would have increased the yearly credit requirements for TOPS students. In order to keep their scholarships, students would need to take 30 credit hours a year, up from the current 24.

"Rather than saying something that may not be right, I think it is very wise for us to do a little more study on the issue," said Edward Markle, a board member.

The board of regents decided to remove the idea from a list of proposals the members were sending to the legislature, saying during the meeting that they need more time.

That was a relief for some students, including Zack Faircloth, LSU's student government president. Faircloth said the rule change would have put limitations on his peers at the university, making things difficult for those who have a job or choose to travel.

"There's a lot of great people in Louisiana and the minute you start putting restrictions on really smart people, there's going to be an exodus from the state," Faircloth said.

Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo supported the 30-hour measure, saying it would keep students on track to graduate in four years.

However, with TOPS in financial limbo once again, he said it may be wise to hold off on any changes. Just Thursday, the governor introduced a budget plan that would keep the scholarship funded at just 70 percent again next year.

"Thirty credits is the way to go," Rallo said. "We don't know quite honestly what is going to happen. I think the board was wise to say, 'Let's make sure we get it right.' There's no need to move quickly on this thing."

The rule change could be reconsidered at a later meeting.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.