The Advocate stated in “Our Views” on Jan. 31, “TOPS academic standards have become so diluted that 40 percent of recipients lose their grants because they can’t cut it on campus.” Let’s be clear: Students don’t lose their grants because the standards are diluted, it’s because they couldn’t keep up with the standards.
The Advocate continues in the same series “Cutting Classes” to highlight the fact that 95 percent of LSU freshmen receive the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award, and the amount of recipients at SUNO can be counted on one hand. The paper goes on to inform us about other HBCUs that also have low TOPS enrollment. However, as cited in “The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education” HBCUs have very high participation rates for PELL grants.
OK, we know the difference in TOPS enrollment; now, lets look at the admission requirements. SUBR has a minimum acceptance requirement of an ACT score of 18 and a GPA of 2.0, whereas LSU has a minimum requirement of an ACT of 20 and a GPA of 2.5 and requires specific core classes.
Just because TOPS enrollment is low at HBCUs doesn’t mean TOPS money isn’t being put to good use.
I’m thankful Patrick Taylor provided a model for us by providing an incentive for young folks to work hard and become successful. I’m equally proud that our state improved that model to work for all our residents regardless of race, socioeconomic status or any other method of prejudice. It is based on merit only.
TOPS is a program open to all, and I hope it is preserved. If you care about your child’s education after high school, whether it’s a trade or a pursuit at a university, I hope you will join me in telling our legislative representatives, “I WANT TOPS!”