In an early version of the state budget, lawmakers approved a plan that would fully fund TOPS, also known as the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students.
At LSUE, they have their share of success stories from the program.
“Up until two weeks of graduating high school, I had no idea what I was doing,” says Kyle Smith.
Smith says he thought he would just keep working at the grocery store he was employed with at the time until he re-took the ACTs and became eligible for TOPS.
“A lot has happened since then but fast forward a decade and a half and here I am as a Dean of Student Affairs at LSUE,” says Smith.
Smith says without tops giving him his start, he would have never entered college and by far wouldn’t be where he is today.
He says it is important to add funding to LSUE because the program goes far beyond just tuition.
“You know if they aren’t receiving the funding then it makes living on campus, you know paying for their books, it impacts everybody. They have to reevaluate all of their choices and find out how they are going to afford college,” says Smith.
As for those who currently go here, there are many examples of students who had financial strains.
Take Colton Dupre and Joshua Morehead for example.
“I come from a single parent house with five brothers and sisters,” says Dupre.
“I have a parent that is disabled and I have another parent who works a minimum wage job,” says Morehead.
They say TOPS always created a drive and motivation for them in the classroom.
“Knowing that TOPS existed, that definitely drove me to pursue college knowing I had that not necessarily to fall back on but to help me to get in,” says Dupre.
“As a kid, you always dream you want to be this. You want to be that. You want to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that but when you get older you realize more that all that stuff takes money and TOPS brings that out for you and allows you to actually see your dreams come true,” says Morehead.
Each student’s dream?
For Dupre; a history teacher.
For Morehead; a pharmacist.