Unless the state legislature approves additional revenue, TOPS will suffer a 30% reduction, a cost that will be passed right back to students and their families. Higher ed is also on the block for a substantial reduction, and Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says even if the state approves the funds, we’re already losing some of our highest performers, who are tired of the uncertainty.

“Students may chose to attend other schools, in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, because those institutions are offering scholarships to the best and the brightest.”

That 30% reduction would result in the average LSU student with TOPS graduating nearly $14,000 more in debt than they would have, if the scholarship program was fully funded. Caillier says many working class students just could not bear that kind of increased cost.

“Students have borrowed a lot of money, and they are at the point where they can’t borrow any more. We have a 1.3 trillion dollar student loan deficient that exists at this point.”

Caillier says if we fail to sure up TOPS, the state will bleed its best talents, exacerbating the problems in our already sluggish economy.

“The bigger problem that exists is that 80 percent of the students who leave the state will not return. That’s not healthy for us to have a brain drain.”

More From News Talk 96.5 KPEL