REC action ends fiscal cliff drama
Posted on 6/26/2018 11:41:00 AM.

The fiscal cliff is officially gone as the Revenue Estimating Conference recognized 500-million dollars in revenue that will be used to shield TOPS, public colleges and most state agencies from cuts after July 1st. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne led the meeting, one day after the governor signed a new sales tax bill into law.
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Fiscal cliff, TOPS, higher education, Revenue Estimating Conference

Student rally at State Capitol to support TOPS and higher education funding
Posted on 6/20/2018 5:16:00 AM.

LSU Student Government hosts a rally at the State Capitol today to call for full funding of TOPS and higher education. If lawmakers do not act before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, then students will face a 30% cut to TOPS and a $21 million dollar reduction in funding for LSU.

LSU Student Government President Stewart Lockett says they want to give students a voice about their future.
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student rally, state capitol, TOPS, higher education

Proposed cuts to TOPS sending students out of state
Posted on 6/13/2018 4:58:00 AM.

Unless the state legislature approves additional revenue, TOPS will suffer a 30% reduction, a cost that will be passed right back to students and their families. Higher ed is also on the block for a substantial reduction, and Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says even if the state approves the funds, we’re already losing some of our highest performers, who are tired of the uncertainty.
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TOPS, scholarships, Louisiana, Higher Education, special session, fiscal cliff, 2018

TOPS and higher education may benefit from new revenue projection says Speaker Barras
Posted on 4/12/2018 11:35:00 AM.
The revenue shortfall the state is facing has declined from 994-million-dollars to 648-million-dollars, as a result of the state collecting more income taxes due to the federal tax overhaul.  House Speaker Taylor Barras says the extra money would likely go for higher education and the TOPS program.
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state budget, Taylor Barras, TOPS, higher education

Bill to increase TOPS requirements passes committee
Posted on 4/5/2018 11:29:00 PM.

Two bills by Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey that would raise the minimum requirements to receive, and keep TOPS were passed out of the House Education Committee. One bill, would send students who score 2.5-2.75 GPAs and a 20 ACT to a two-year college instead of a four-year university. Ivey says community colleges are a better place for those students.
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TOPS, scholarships, Louisiana, Higher Education, Barry Ivey, regular session

Bill to force TOPS repayments makes it out of committee
Posted on 4/5/2018 1:49:00 PM.

A bill that would force TOPS students who drop out or lose eligibility to repay the value of the scholarship passed the House Education committee on an 8-5 vote. The bill's author, Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo, says TOPS costs the state 290-million dollars and it's becoming more difficult for the state to find money to pay for the taxpayer funded program.
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TOPS, scholarships, Louisiana, Higher Education, Ray Garofalo

The future of TOPS is uncertain after special session ends without a budget compromise
Posted on 3/6/2018 10:56:00 AM.
Now that the special session concluded without a solution to fill a one-billion-dollar budget shortfall in July, TOPS funding could be cut by 80-percent. Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says many parents can’t afford to send their kids to college without some financial help. Those college prospects are looking elsewhere to get their education.
 
"Students who have a 30, 31, 32 ACTs, they're already being courted by Alabama and Texas and Arkansas schools saying 'we'll match your TOPS, we'll guarantee your TOPS' and we're already seeing students leaving."
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TOPS, Joe Rallo, higher education

Rallo: Positive discussions during first LaSTEM meeting
Posted on 9/14/2017 3:18:00 AM.

Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs.
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Joe Rallo, STEM, Higher Education, LaSTEM Advisory Council

TOPS Task Force holds first meeting
Posted on 9/6/2017 11:47:00 AM.

Today the TOPS Task Force meets for the first time, as state leaders take a closer look at the scholarship program. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish authored the legislation that created the task force. He says almost no changes have been made to TOPS in the past 20 years, but a lot has changed in higher education in the last two decades.
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Blade Morrish, TOPS, task force, higher education

Some LSU faculty, staff to receive first pay raise in years
Posted on 8/8/2017 5:17:00 AM.

Some faculty and staff at LSU will get a pay raise. According to LSU President F. King Alexander, each department will receive a three percent merit raise pool, and department heads will determine how to dole out the funds.
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Kevin Cope, LSU, higher education

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