Higher education is celebrating the passage of the budget and tax plan that saves universities and TOPS from further budget cuts. Without the passage of the 4.45% sales tax bill, TOPS was on the block for a 30% cut and higher education was looking at tens of millions of dollars in cuts. Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Kim Hunter Reed credits the students who let their voices to be heard.

“The students did a phenomenal job of sharing their TOPS stories. The SGA leaders rallied, LSU and Southern students worked their phone banks.

Reed foresees TOPS being fully funded for the next several years.

“It is the right problem to have, but it has been very clear that the TOPS program has incentivized students to increase their academic preparation.”

Reed says now that the system has stabilized funding, they can get to work building on their recent success and increase the quality of education in the state.

“We have work to do. We are a state that has underfunded and undervalued higher education.”