08/17 - Studying TOPS | Louisiana Public Square | LPB
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08/17 - Studying TOPS

Is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break?

Louisiana’s TOPS program provides free in-state college tuition for qualifying students. Up until recently, TOPS has covered the full amount so as tuition rose, so did the award. The state’s cost of funding the program has nearly tripled over the last ten years.

Students entering their senior year of high school this fall will face new regulations. TOPS awards will no longer automatically rise as tuition increases. That means TOPS recipients and their families will pay for the difference unless the Legislature specifically votes to raise TOPS again.

A legislative task force will study how to sustain the program this fall. So, is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break? Should TOPS be based on financial need? Should GPA standards be raised for recipients? Should TOPS graduates be required to stay in the state or pay back the award? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Studying TOPS” Wednesday, August 23 at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, August 22)

Our Panelists:


Tops has become too political.  It is a scholarship award that should be merit based.
GPA should be raised to a 3.0.  There should an incentive to earning a scholarship.  The taxpayers of Louisiana should not have to pay for students that are not serious about pursuing a line of study that is not beneficial. Students should have to maintain a B average and get a degree in 4 years. 

If a student fails or quits they should have to pay back either monetarialy or by community service

Posted by Lynn Tucker  on  08/11  at  12:29 AM

Most 4 year programs are 4 years if the the courses are available within a 4 year period. Most programs have problems filling out the upper classes with enough students to complete the program of study: thus, the Colleges have to hold off on upper division classes long enough to build demand to class size. This causes the student to stay around 6 years meet course work or go to another College out of State to earn a degree. The community colleges have the same problem. Many of the larger States incorporate internships into their completion of certification in professional programs.  This leaves students trapped in one program or forced to start again in another College in a State not of their choosing. You punish punish major corporations for taking the tax breaks and money you throw at them to stick around who suddenly leave and break their promise to stay and employ people. You throw more money at them and hope they spend it in Louisiana.  Most Tops Students who are given the chance to complete their college training give back to the State at a higher return.  2.5 GPA and 21 ACT students can work harder to prove that their grades do not represent the totality of who they and how successful they will become in college programs. The three richest men in the country today can tell you that.

Posted by Jesus Rodriguez  on  08/25  at  08:44 PM
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     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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