A state lawmaker is proposing to change TOPS scholarship amounts. Students who meet the minimum eligibility would receive a $4,000 payment for the year, but students who achieve a very high ACT and GPA get a full scholarship, plus a stipend. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says $4,000 may seem low, but it’s still the most lucrative college tuition program in the U.S.
"These are students who are good students, but certainly not the best or the brightest. They're also not being offered scholarships by out of state universities."
Morrish says a new structured plan would still benefit students with lower GPAs, but encourage very smart students to continue their education in Louisiana. His proposal would create a new “Honors Plus” program that would give out the best incentives to students.
"These are the students that are being siphoned off because we haven't been able to keep up with out institutional aid and with our TOPS program. This would give them tuition plus $2,500.
Morrish is leading a task force that’s been examining the taxpayer funded program, which has become more difficult for the state to afford because of a variety of factors including higher tuition. He says his plan would save the state 20-million-dollars annually and modernize how the scholarship money should be doled out.
"If we go back to 1998, when TOPS was created, it certainly has served the citizens of Louisiana very well, but it's also a 20 year old model."