House Bill 399 Passed House Education Committee by a 7-4 vote

House Bill 399 Passed House Education Committee by a 7-4 vote

HB 399 establishes an equitable shortfall plan for TOPS program

BATON ROUGE, LA– Today, the Louisiana House Education Committee reported House Bill 399 by Rep. Gary Carter (D-New Orleans) favorably as amended by a vote of 7-4. HB 399 would establish an equitable shortfall plan for Louisiana’s TOPS program. In the event that the TOPS program cannot be fully funded, this bill provides for a process whereby TOPS Honors and Performance students would receive full scholarships. It would also protect full funding for TOPS Opportunity Tier students that are Pell-eligible and then the remaining TOPS students would receive the remaining funds on a pro rata basis based on the student’s award tier and whether or not they are Pell-eligible.

You can view the bill and its amendment here. It now heads to the full House for consideration. HB 399 is supported by members of the Louisiana College Access Coalition. You can view the coalition’s mission and its members here.

Following the committee hearing, Eva Kemp, State Director for Democrats for Education Reform-Louisiana, released the following statement: “Today we are one step closer to ensuring that TOPS is working for the best and brightest students in Louisiana. HB 399 passed out of committee with a hearty debate about the most important way to protect student scholarships when the program isn’t fully funded. DFER Louisiana hopes that TOPS is fully funded and this bill would further encourage legislators to fully fund TOPS year after year.

“With more students going to college and qualifying for TOPS, we must make sure we prioritize TOPS for our best and brightest- that includes students who are high performers and  come from working class families.”

###

Contact: Leslie Leavoy — leslie@dfer.org