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TOPS Students Forced To Work In Louisiana After Graduating?

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The TOPS program has been a blessing to many Louisiana students and families. TOPS, or the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, was designed to make higher education affordable for students who met and maintained a certain academic average. This was supposed to be an incentive to keep some of the brighter students from forgoing college because of finances or to keep brighter students in the state’s higher education system.

One Louisiana lawmaker wants to take TOPS one step further. Marcus Hunter, a state representative from Monroe, believes that students who take advantage of TOPS should be required to work in the state after graduation or be required to pay the money back to the state if they leave.

“we can’t continue to educate the best and brightest people from the state of Louisiana who are going to then in turn take those talents and go elsewhere,”

Hunter made those comments in a report filed by the Louisiana Radio Network. He plans to introduce legislation in this session that will link the TOPS Scholarships with mandatory employment in the state. The amount of time spent employed in the state would be equivalent to the number of years a student received the TOPS benefit.

While the idea seems like a good one in theory, is it realistic? Does Louisiana have the jobs available for this educated workforce? Those who disagree with Mr. Hunter say the state currently does not have those kinds of opportunities.

Mr. Hunter rebukes those critics by saying the state not only has high quality good  paying jobs available now, but more are coming in the future.

How do you feel about this potential legislation? Should this apply to all students who receive scholarships? Perhaps a football player who attends college on an athletic scholarship would he be required to play for the Saints? While I applaud Mr. Hunter’s intent, I don’t see how this can even be considered an option. It sounds an awful lot like an indentured servant program and last time I checked Abraham Lincoln took that one off the books.

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