What is known today as the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, began as one man’s vision. Patrick F. Taylor believed that all academically-qualified students deserved the opportunity to attend college, regardless of their families’ financial situations. With this belief, the Taylor Plan took shape as a contract between students and states.
That mission received national attention when he promised to send 183 underprivileged, underachieving 7th and 8th graders, affectionately dubbed “Taylor’s Kids,” to college if they studied rigorously, maintained a B average, and stayed out of trouble. A man of integrity, he was true to his word. But Mr. Taylor never thought small. What began as a promise to 183 inner-city New Orleans students became a statewide legislative campaign to ensure all Louisiana young people had the opportunity to pursue higher education, just as he had. The “Taylor Plan” set standards for academic achievement in high school, offering students a state-funded, merit-based opportunity to attend college or vocational/technical school. In his plan, Taylor proposed that as long as high school students complete a specific core curriculum, make the required standardized test scores, and meet a minimum grade point average of 2.5, they could earn up to four years of state-paid college tuition. Because the main focus of the Taylor Plan was graduation, not simply enrollment, it also laid out the appropriate academic levels of success a student must achieve in college in order to remain eligible. After a fierce battle with the Louisiana Legislature, Taylor’s vision was signed into law in 1989 as TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) in Louisiana. In 1997, all academic award programs were combined under TOPS (Tuition Opportunity Program for Students). By the time of Mr. Taylor’s passing in 2004, through the efforts of the Foundation, more than 20 other states had adopted versions of the Taylor Plan, and four years later, the Louisiana legislature renamed TOPS the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students in his honor.
Thanks to TOPS, several part time jobs while in college, and my parent's help, I am free of student loans and know the importance of an excellent credit rating!Southeastern Louisiana University, 2009 #TOPSgrad
TOPS definitely helped me and my brother graduate from college. We were the first two [people] to graduate in our family and honestly, without TOPS, that wouldn't have been an option for usLouisiana State University '12 #TOPSgrad #ThankYouTOPS
TOPS gave me the opportunity to attend college in a state that I have loved and called home since birth. It gives all students from our state the opportunity to deepen our roots in a place we call home that needs our help and our skills now more than ever.Tulane University '14#thankyouTOPS
I had absolutely no idea I’d end up here- TOPS played a huge role. I might have found other scholarships, but most are hard to get or not accessible. I’d never have been able to study abroad and learn languages.University of New Orleans '06 #TOPSgrad
For more information on TOPS, students should contact their high school counselor or the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance. TOPS is administered by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA). The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation does not oversee the TOPS program. The Foundation’s goal is to promote public awareness about the TOPS program in Louisiana.
May 16, 2015
Phyllis M. Taylor, Chairman and President of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, announced this week that the Taylor Scholars Awards program has achieved a growth of 10 percent in the 2014/2015 academic year, rewarding more than 195,000 students through April by providing them with free one-year memberships to the New Orleans Museum of Art, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Mrs. Taylor joined representatives of Audubon Nature Institute and the New Orleans Museum of Art in expressing pride that the Taylor Scholars Program continues to expand its reach after nearly two decades. Eligible students earn a one-year membership to NOMA and Audubon attractions for achieving a minimum 2.5 grade point average. The Taylor/Audubon Students and Scholars program was created in 1996 through a generous gift from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation to establish in perpetuity, a reward to Louisiana’s students for their hard...
Jan 21, 2015
– Funds will support scholarships for first generation and outstanding students – The Board of Trustees of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation have presented Louisiana Tech University with a gift of $920,000 to fund scholarships for first generation and academically outstanding students. (more…)