The idea of keeping Louisiana's best and brightest students in state for their higher education experience was a driving force in the creation of TOPS. The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students was supposed to give all deserving students a chance to earn a degree at a state university or college provided they did the work and maintained a certain grade point average.

The problem with the TOPS program is it has worked too well. There have been more and more students taking advantage of TOPS. For some it meant a degree for others it meant a free semester of partying on the state's nickel.

Governor John Bel Edwards has explained many times that if our state is going to become fiscally solvent within the next budget year there would have to be changes made to the TOPS program. Those changes have been passed by both the House and Senate and they now await the Governor's signature.

Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry told the Louisiana Radio Network the changes in TOPS are tied to tuition. Should that rate increase it won't mean an increase in TOPS funding.

If there is a tuition increase, it won't be automatic, the legislature has to say ok yes, we'll match it, we're okay with that or we can simply say we cannot afford to.

Representative Robbie Carter in the same LRN story suggest that these changes in TOPS represent a broken promise between the state and its citizens.

I don't like the idea of broken promises we made to those freshman and sophomores who started their university careers and now we may not be fulfilling a contract we made with them when they started.

Just to be clear the TOPS program currently costs our state nearly $300 million to fund. If you haven't heard Louisiana doesn't have that kind of money anymore.