The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students was one of the most brilliant ideas I had ever heard come out of the Louisiana legislature. The program would provide tuition awards for Louisiana's brightest and best students in hopes of keeping these incredible young minds in our state. Leave it the legislature to poop on the people one more time.

It is more than my opinion that our state's leaders have defrauded and been dishonest with their constituency. Granted no laws were broken but a whole lot of promises about the TOPS program have been broken. The reason?  Our elected officials can't do math,don't value our state's future, and are afraid of their own shadows.

Now the students affected by this gross mismanagement of our state's funding for higher education are speaking out.

We wanted to propose that the Board of Regents look at things that would make us a national competitor so we're not constantly having our best and brightest students poached by Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama. It just doesn't make any sense.

Those are the words of LSU Student Government President Zack Faircloth as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.

In particular, Faircloth was commenting on the latest round of changes proposed by the Board of Regents. Among the changes, requiring students to take 30 credit hours a year in order to keep the scholarship.

Other changes suggested by the Board of Regents include changes to the way the TOPS awards are distributed  Freshman on TOPS would only have 80% of their tuition paid for by the state. Sophomores would be allowed a stipend of 90%, and juniors and seniors would be eligible to receive 100% of their TOPS award.

While the Board of Regents is asking for public input on the proposed changes they are leaving out one important group in their planning discussions.

One of the big draw backs is that students are funding over 50% of higher education right now yet we don't have a seat at the table. We're going to do everything we can to make sure the student voice is heard and hopefully this is a good first step.

The Board of Regents is expected to make their final recommendations on changes to the TOPS program later this month.

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