Survey shows voters want TOPS program to stay as is
Posted on 5/15/2015 10:53:00 AM.
High School graduation season is underway and a recent statewide survey shows almost two-thirds of voters favor the TOPS scholarship program to remain fully funded despite lawmakers efforts to put a cap on the awards.  A bill that would put limits on TOPS scholarship awards has passed the Senate and will be considered in the House.  

Pollster Bernie Pinsonat, with Southern Media and Opinion Research, says the poll shows 64-percent of voters want TOPS to be left as is.
"It's a very popular program with voters in Louisiana.  Whether there's a budget deficit or not, most voters in this survey do not believe we don't have enough money to pay for TOPS."

The poll shows only 28-percent of Louisiana voters approve of limiting the scholarship awards.  Legislators are currently considering putting a cap on the program in an effort to address the state's $1.6 billion budget deficit.  Pinsonat admits there is an inherent problem with TOPS.

"Every time we raise tuition, it costs the budget more and more money."

Supporters of the measure argue that the program is unsustainable because rising tuitions cause the amount of money the state spends each year on TOPS to rise.  Pinsonat says this survey shows voters overwhelmingly reject that argument.

"Two-thirds disagree with that.  I guess they're saying go find the money, we like TOPS.  Whatever you have to do, fund it." 
Louisiana, TOPS, scholarships, budget crisis, survey, Bernie Pinsonat

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