Governor says TOPS cuts have ‘failed’ Louisiana’s students

November 15, 2016 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana risks forcing students out of college or pushing them into greater debt because of upcoming cuts to the TOPS free college tuition program.

The Democratic governor issued a statement Tuesday saying that Republican-led efforts to “front-load” the TOPS program — with near full funding in the fall semester and deep cuts to tuition payments in the spring — were a gimmick that gave students “false hope.”

Edwards’ comments came as thousands of students have been receiving notifications reminding them the TOPS awards will only cover 42 percent of tuition costs for the spring semester.

Republican House leaders pushed for the program payments to be front-loaded in the hopes that more money than expected may arrive from tax hikes passed this year. That hasn’t happened.