TOPS payments halted due to budget crisis
The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) payments are immediately suspended “until further notice,” according to an email from the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance.
“Due to the possibility of state budget cuts, all TOPS payments are being suspended until further notice,” said the email, which was sent to colleges and universities at 3 p.m.
According to Jason Droddy, executive director of policy and external affairs for Louisiana State University, students currently receiving the award may owe money not covered.
“In other words, if nothing changes, TOPS awardees will owe tuition to their schools for the current semester,” he said.
The email, according to Gus Wales, a spokesman for LOSFA, was sent as a “precautionary measure” until more information about the budget cuts is released.
The Louisiana Legislature will meet in special session to close the largest mid-year budget shortfall in state history, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Of the estimated $850 million shortfall for the last four months of the fiscal year, $28.3 million is from TOPS.
TOPS is a Louisiana scholarship program that generally covers tuition for students in the state who meet basic academic requirements. Students are not directly reimbursed for school costs. Instead, schools bill LOSFA for payments.