State Board of Regents recommends cuts to TOPS

State Board of Regents recommends cuts to TOPS

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The State Board of Regents is recommending cuts to the TOPS program. The proposal would leave some college students picking up part of their tuition bill.

Sophia Knight relies on TOPS to go to UNO. If it's cut, she said she may have to move back home and attend a community college.

"I kind of understand if they wanted to make the GPA level higher or something, but I think it's kind of ridiculous because I know so many people that, like, are not going to be able to go to college at all because they are relying on TOPS," said the UNO freshman. "I just hope they don't go through with it because I, like, want to stay here. I like this school."

Under the Board of Regents proposal, freshman would pay 20 percent of their tuition and sophomores would pay 10 percent. Juniors and seniors would get full coverage.

"The benefits are we are recognizing once again that we have lost well over half of our budget over the past six years, and we can no longer assume that we are ever going to get money back, so we have to to use the current phrase 'right size,' you know, our budgeting issues against what we have," said Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo.

Students would also be required to take at least 30 hours a year.

"Since TOPS is a merit-based award, we are going to recommend that students take 30 credits a year rather than 24, which is the current case, and graduate in four years. This way TOPS covers four years, the student gets out in four years, they don't run out money before they run out of higher ed," said Rallo.

"It's kind of crazy because I'm only required to take 24 hours to get TOPS, but now I would be required to take six more hours. That's too much because it's too much stress on me as a student," said UNO freshman Camron Williams.

The recommendations will go before the Legislature. If they're accepted, the changes would go into effect for the 2018 freshman class.

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