Jindal Veto Will Keep TOPS The Same
There is a bitter irony that happens anytime politicians and money get together. Well I should say, it happens when politicians and our money get together. They sometimes forget all the campaign promises they made so they would earn our votes.
As a parent with one kid in college and another just a year away I was very concerned about how the current legislative session would affect the TOPS program.
The legislature proposed putting a cap on TOPS. That meant that students would still have the opportunity to earn a stipend from the state government that would pay for their college education if they maintained their grades. However if tuition increased, and it will increase, that stipend would not cover the increase in cost.
The bill would allow students using TOPS, the Taylor Opportunity Scholarship Program, this upcoming school year 100% coverage. After that the program would only cover a portion of the tuition costs. Those who believe in this measure say this is the only way to insure that the TOPS program will be around for the future.
Many citizens of Louisiana and Governor Jindal disagree. Therefore the Governor has vetoed that item in the budget. Paraphrasing a statement from the Governor's office, this legislation violates a promise made to the students and parents of Louisiana. That promise was that TOPS would cover the cost of their tuition if they earned it.
So here is our sticky wicket as they might say in England. That's great that my kids might get their education paid for but what about those kids ten years down the road? Maybe even five years down the road? I believe in a educational opportunities for everyone but I don't think they should bankrupt the state.
So, was Governor Jindal right to veto this measure? Should TOPS only pay for what it can afford to pay for? Should the state government even be involved in paying for tuition? These are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves if in fact we are going to build an educated future for our state.