NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - While speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, LSU President F. King Alexander said some of the state's smartest students are being recruited by out of state universities that have greater financial certainty and more scholarship dollars to offer.
"Particularly for our 28's and above ACT's and 30's and above, they're coming after them with a lot of money, a lot of scholarship support because their budgets are much more stable and they have predictability with their budget, we're just asking for the same thing," Alexander told Hometown Productions.
Alexander is concerned that lawmakers have yet to address the state's budget deficit of nearly 1-billion dollars and what budget cuts could mean for the popular TOPS scholarship program.
"Dragging this out and holding higher education and holding students and parents hostage with their TOPS and their TOPS scholarships is not beneficial for this state and that's what we're hoping in the first special session to get this issue addressed but right now it still hasn't been addressed and we do worry about the prolonged nature of this and the unpredictability of what may come out," said Alexander.
Many parents like Jean Fischer rely on TOPS scholarship money to send their children to college. Now, she's concerned about her son who is a junior at Ben Franklin High School.
"Well, I have someone who has wanted to go to LSU his whole life basically and we would definitely need TOPS to go with any other financial aid so, it's terrible," said Fischer.
If the program is cut, "he'll have to take out more loans basically and you know how much those are and how bad that is," said Fischer.
And, when it comes to TOPS, Alexander has a message for the state. "Our message is for the state to give us a stable budget and just let us do our jobs at attracting, retaining and bringing in some of the most talented people," said Alexander.