In a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards and state lawmakers, more than two dozen student body presidents at Louisiana colleges and universities complained Thursday about higher education cuts.

"Over the past nine years, state funding for Louisiana's colleges and universities has been cut more than any other state in the nation," according to the letter, which was signed by 32 student leaders.

"Tuition and fees have also increased by 111 percent during the same period," the letter says. 

"The impact of continued cuts are felt on our campuses every day with fewer classes offered, larger class sizes and a reduction of services that are vital to our academic success," the student body presidents said.

The group met with Edwards earlier this week.

A draft proposal by education leaders to trim TOPS aid would be a reason for students to avo…

The governor and Legislature are in the midst of a special session to address a $304 million shortfall for the financial year that ends June 30.

Edwards has repeatedly said his plan, including moving $119 million out of the state's rainy day fund, will prevent additional reductions to higher education and also protect public schools and other state services.

Some House Republicans favor more spending cuts and a smaller withdrawl from the fund.

The letter also cited reductions in the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS.

That is state aid aid for about 49,000 students who meet academic requirements.

The state Board of Regents, which sets policies for colleges and universities statewide, is scheduled to meet on Feb. 24 to consider recommendations to change TOPS.

The panel that oversees public colleges and universities statewide is considering the idea o…

Those proposals could include less TOPS aid for college freshmen and sophomores than they traditionally get and a requirement that students earn at least 30 credit hours per academic year to keep the aid.

The rule now is 24 hours.

Any recommendations by the board would face scrutiny in the Legislature before taking effect.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.