Taylor Opportunity Program for Students
Students interested in receiving TOPS should contact their high school counselor or the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance. TOPS funds are provided entirely by the State. The program is administered by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA). The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation does not operate the TOPS program. The Foundation’s goal is to serve as an advocate for the TOPS program overall success.
A Vision & Ongoing Commitment
The Story of TOPS
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. It all began when Mr. Taylor 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.
Today, the Foundation continues to champion TOPS and other Taylor Plan-inspired scholarship programs.
Scholarships for Louisiana high school and college students attending two-year and four-year Louisiana undergraduate institutions
Reward to “early scholars“ in the form of outside cultural enrichment programs.
Millions of dollars granted to over a dozen schools and universities to award scholarships.