President Tre Nelson emphasized the current political climate in Louisiana and possible budget cuts to higher education and the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students.
“There’s a very high chance that either TOPS or higher education will be cut in the next year,” Nelson said. “If higher education is cut, that’s actually a much more dangerous, [very] slippery slope we’re dealing with.”
TOPS and higher education are back on the chopping block due to the state budget shortfall. Funding for TOPS was renewed in 2017, but only for one year, and higher education has time and time again faced state funding cuts.
Gov. John Bel Edwards called for a 17-day special session which began Feb. 19 to discuss the proposed state budget and in attempt to negotiate.
The LA Board of Regents Council of Student Body Presidents, which Nelson and SGA Sen. Jacob Ellis met with this past weekend, discussed a student-led letter writing campaign to legislators.
This council also created a resolution insisting the legislature fund higher education and TOPS, hoping to “initiate the era of reinvestment in higher education with a focus on long-term sustainability.”
Edwards was sent the resolution and took to Twitter to thank the presidents for their work.
“Let’s get the job done right,” he tweeted. “And let’s get it done right now.”
“[This is] affecting all of our futures,” Nelson said. “[We need to say] ‘Hey, don’t cut higher education; we’re the future of this state.'”
The University of Louisiana System Day will be held April 11 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the event serves as rally for higher education. More details will become available for students interested in attending.