The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students was originally proposed to keep Louisiana's best and brightest students in state. The thinking was that students who go to school in Louisiana would stay in Louisiana, thus created a better educated workforce. The plan also made college affordable for those who could not afford the cost of higher education.

Changes in Louisiana's budget and the current budget crisis are very likely to bring about significant changes in the Louisiana TOPS program. The Tulane University Cowen Institute has conducted a study of the TOPS program and how changes in that program might affect the number of students eligible for TOPS assistance.

If you raise the ACT score by just one point for the requirement, we found it would reduce the eligibility based on 2015 numbers, by 28% of students statewide.

Vince Rossmeier Policy Director told the Louisiana Radio Network that another aspect of the TOPS program where money could be saved is making the program more need based. He suggested in his comments that nearly 40% of students enrolled in the program came from households with an annual income of over $100-thousand dollars.

Another change in the TOPS program that is being considered involves raising the GPA from 2.5 to 2.7. This small change in academic achievement would reduce the number of eligible students by 22%.

Currently members of the legislature are debating changes in the TOPS program in the hopes of keeping the program available for students and families in the state. The current legislative session is scheduled to end on June 6th.