A task force’s recommendations to alter the TOPS scholarship
is taking fire from advocates for lower income students. Jennings Senator Blade
Morrish’s proposal would cap payments to lower performing high school students.
Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says Morrish’s proposal
disproportionality targets poor students.
“They will have their funds reduced and it will make it much more difficult for them to go to school. 54 percent of the kids in general will have their funds reduced, and they’re the ones at the bottom.”
Morrish’s proposed cap is 4,000 dollars a year for TOPS Opportunity students, which is 1,600 dollars below the average yearly cost of attending a four-year Louisiana school.
Caillier says the proposal takes money from poor families to line rich student’s pockets.
“We need to put more money at the bottom, not at the top, and this proposal takes from the bottom and gives to the top, it’s a redistribution of funds.”
Another proposal would force students to take a minimum 15 credit hours a semester to keep their scholarship, three more than required now. Caillier says students from poor families have bills that their rich classmates don’t…
“They have to work, they can’t afford to take 15 hours. Many of them have other problems. You cannot legislate academic behavior.”
The TOPS task force will vote on adopting their proposals February 7th, and then those recommendations would need legislative approval later this year.