For Louisiana to grow and prosper, we need more people to attain the skills needed to participate in a competitive economy. Those skills generally require some form of a postsecondary education, whether at a technical college, community college, or a four-year university. Unfortunately, many Louisiana students cannot afford the cost of tuition at these institutions without some form of state support.
Through its TOPS program, Louisiana has been a leader in providing financial aid to higher-education students. However, due to policy changes in 1998, TOPS was transformed from a need-based program to a merit-based program, with much of the money going to those who need it least. Spending on need-based aid is considerably out of line with that of other states. The recently enacted Go Grant program, designed to provide more need-based assistance, has been chronically underfunded.