Dear Mr. or Madam president:
Why is TOPS being taken away from high school students?
What is TOPS? TOPS stands for "Louisiana's Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, is a comprehensive program of state scholarship and one of the most innovative and progressive student assistance programs in the nation." (osfa.state.la.us)
How long has TOPS been around? TOPS started in 1989, the original Louisiana Taylor Plan became law as a result of Mr. Patrick F. Taylor’s educational initiatives.
What does TOPS do for high school students? TOPS help students get a good foot in the door with college, by helping fund them getting into college.
Who all qualifies for TOPS? High school students who have a high enough GPA and the right ACT score can qualify for TOPS.
What is the issue that caused a stop to TOPS? Louisiana is facing a huge budget cut, because they have given out more money than the have to give. "The decisions about the budget and about cuts to higher education and TOPS will be made in the upcoming legislative sessions this spring. Everyone who values higher education should contact the Louisiana Legislatures today."(theodysseyonline.com).
The government could do a lot to aid students like me and their parents when they're trying to make their way through college. The government could also make college more affordable in both in state and out of state colleges. The government could raise the Pell Grant award, and they could make a tax credit to help families pay for college. They could lower the tuition for college, and lower student loans so that students aren't paying back their loan for twelve plus years. According to whitehouse.gov some of these suggestions are already being looked into or have been done, like raising the Pell Grant award,"The President has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,730 for the 2014-15 award year — a nearly $1,000 increase since 2008" and also making a tax credit to help families pay for college for themselves or there loved ones, "President Obama established the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009 to assist families with the costs of college, providing up to $10,000 for four years of college tuition for families earning up to $180,000. 11.5 million families are expected to now benefit from the American Opportunity Tax Credit" (whitehouse.gov).
Over the past three decades a public four year college tuition has almost quadrupled. So how has this affected students? Now more than ever students are relying on student loans to help them through college, and most students are going in debt because of how high their loans are and how long it takes them to pay their loans off. If Louisiana could afford to have TOPS again, it would really help struggling students, or even if Louisiana could lower in-state and out-of-state tuitions it would help parents and students tremendously.
In conclusion, I feel like if our government could find a way to get TOPS back for Louisiana, that it would help tens of thousands of high school students whom are working very hard and doing their very best to keep their GPA up and have a decent ACT score so that they make get into a good college.