Go Grants Program Needs More Funding

Go Grants Program Needs More Funding

A new study commissioned by the Louisiana Board of Regents provides evidence that Go Grants work by improving retention rates for low-income students. The study adds further support to a report by Louisiana Budget Project that argued for increased spending on need-based student aid.

The Go Grants program provides state financial assistance to low-income college students and has been chronically underfunded, unlike TOPS, which receives full Legislative support. The Go Grants program was originally designed to bridge the gap between federal Pell Grants and a student’s cost to attend college. Even students who receive the maximum amount of Pell and Go Grants have considerable unmet financial need which Go Grants are designed to address.

In addition to Federal Pell Grants, Go Grants improved retention for at-risk students by 14 percent. The study recommends increasing Go Grants from $2,000 to $4,000 per year. Although awards were originally set at $2,000 per year, they have been rationed in previous years due to appropriated funds for more students (see table below). The new study recommends increasing Go Grants back to the original amount and providing more for students with additional need.

“Increasing Go Grants is an important step in the right direction,” said Edward Ashworth, Director of the Louisiana Budget Project. “Louisiana needs to shift its scarce resources from TOPS which benefits students from wealthy families, to Go Grants.”

The Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Budget Project provides independent research and analysis of Louisiana fiscal issues and their impact on low and moderate income residents.

For the Louisiana Board of Regents study and LBP’s TOPS and Go Grants report visit www.labudget.org.