Students at UL are not happy after the governor called for suspension of TOPS scholarship as a way to help fix the state’s budget deficit.
“I think it was the worst decision our governor could have made honestly.” said Chelsea Constantine, Senior.
“I was really upset about it. I went into panic mode because there is still tuition that I owe that TOPS was going to pay for.” said Kyle Daigle, Sophomore.
Roughly a third of the UL students use TOPS to pay for college.
Freshman Madison Burns believes it would be unfair to lose out on TOPS after working so hard for it in high school.
“If TOPS were taken away from I would have to get more money from a loan to cover that and that would twice as much money that I would have to pay back.” Burns explained.
Students like Senior Chelsea Constantine also say TOPS is the reason they were able to succeed in college.
“It’s actually motivated me to keep my grades up so I could keep coming to college because without TOPS I wouldn’t be able to come here.” said Constantine.
Students are asking state lawmakers and the governor to please save the scholarship program.
They say it helps so many Louisiana students get a college education.
“Education is an investment not an expense. It’s just something that you have to invest your money in if you want the economy to get better in the future.” said Daigle.
The good news is that TOPS will still be paid for the spring 2016 semester.
However, the future of the scholarship is uncertain.
“I’m just really nervous for the future of everybody that does attend a public college or university in Louisiana.” said Briyani Pinkney, Junior.
The state legislature will soon be going into special session that should provide more answers into the scholarship’s future.
UL President Dr. Joseph Savoie issued the following statement pledging that the university is working to mitigate the impact for the loss of TOPS.
The university will also fulfill its commitment to students for TOPS funding this semester.
However, they are working with state lawmakers to come up with a long-term solution.
Most importantly, no matter what happens, students should focus on their classes.