The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Nicholls students share the importance of funding for higher education

June 1, 2018

Photo by: Jessica Mouton

Photo by: Jessica Mouton

With cuts to higher education at the forefront of Louisiana’s budget crisis once again, students are left with uncertainty surrounding both TOPS and crucial funding for Nicholls. We asked current and former Nicholls students on social media to share their testimonies regarding the importance of TOPS and higher education to them. Here are their responses:

Jae’Veric Bradley, sophomore culinary arts major from West Monroe:
“Since I was six years old, I always knew that I wanted to attend college in Louisiana and earn a degree in culinary arts. As one of few college students in my family, I’m attempting to make my dreams a reality through higher education to inspire my younger family members who look up to me as a role model. Without TOPS and funding for higher education, my chances of fulfilling my dreams would be drastically reduced.”

Cade Boudreaux, sophomore music education major from Thibodaux:
“Coming from a single-parent household and the increasing cost of college, TOPS allows me to be able to go to college, and at that, [go] to college debt-free.”

Chloe Curole, sophomore psychology major from Lockport:
“I am the first person in my family to go to college, and without TOPS funding, I honestly wouldn’t be able to go to college because neither I nor my family would be able to afford it.”

Tammy Rose Johnson, freshman biology pre-medicine major from Gray:
“Without TOPS funding, I would not be able to meet the finances needed to cover the costs of college. TOPS funding is a major help and helps to relieve much financial stress from my parents’ shoulders. Due to cost of medical expenses for each of my parents, TOPS is a huge assistance.”

Sadie Marie Dicharry, junior nursing major from Gramercy:
“It’s important to me because I worked hard in high school for it so that I could help my parents out so that they wouldn’t have to pay so much for me to have a great education. I also think it’s important because it gives everyone, not just me, opportunities to gain more knowledge and have a great job one day.”

Jordan Lang, senior mass communication major from Paulina:

“TOPS gave me the opportunity to go to college without having to worry about multiple student loans or causing my parents to go into debt just for my education. My parents believe in my future, and I think it’s time that all of our representatives believe, too.”

Emma Bourgeois, junior health science pre-professional major from Thibodaux:
“TOPS and funding for higher education has allowed me to pay for an undergraduate degree, so I can pay for a doctorate degree in the future.”

Natalee Leblanc, junior culinary arts major from Lafayette:
“It is the reason I can afford to attend my dream school and pursue my passion. It [ensures] that everyone has an equal opportunity to better themselves with higher education as long as they apply themselves because nothing given is ever fully appreciated. You appreciate and respect things you have worked hard for.”

Grant Henry, senior marketing major from Bossier City:
“An education is a gift that no one can take away from you. However, people struggle to pay for that gift that cannot be taken away. My family is not poor, but we are no wealthy, and the cost of higher education would’ve been burdensome financially without the assistance of TOPS. TOPS has allowed me to pursue opportunities inside and outside of my university, and I am grateful to have been able to take this financial assistance and use it for my benefit.”

Wade Rodrigue, English education alumnus from Chackbay:
“I was part of the first generation of TOPS recipients. Without the scholarship, I would not have been afforded the opportunities to focus more closely on my studies since I
would obviously have had to work more than just my on-campus job. Graduating debt-free also allowed me to purchase my first home just two years out of college (even on a Louisiana teacher’s salary).”

Bailey Robichaux, sophomore psychology major from Thibodaux:
“TOPS is important to me because financial aid is based off my parents income, who don’t pay for my school, and minimum wage is barley enough to live.”

Kaitlyn Biri, senior mass communication major from Prairieville:
“Without TOPS and higher [education] funding, I would be putting a huge strain on my parents. They have supported me all through school. Now it’s my turn to help them and not leave them in debt or myself in debt just to go to college. It’s helping me [become] a successful and productive adult.”

Hannah Ditcharo, sophomore nursing major from Luling:

“Without TOPS, my family would struggle to pay my tuition and fees. TOPS covers almost half of my overalls fees I have to pay. Especially being in the nursing program, I am required to pay more fees than regular students. Funding education is so vital for young adults’ futures.”

Abby Allbritton, allied health alumna from Albany:
“Because of TOPS, I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s debt-free. I am a first-year physical therapy student and am looking at being about $100,000 in student debt when I graduate with my DPT. Had it not been for TOPS, this number would be substantially higher.”

Kacie Fields, sophomore mass communication major from Cut Off:
“Without it, I won’t be able to attend college.”

Ryghe Lyons, sophomore business administration major from Slidell:
“Some people depend on it to pay for college. Without TOPS, some people couldn’t afford to go to college, and that is a reward for students that maintain the good grades, so they deserve it.”

Sara Dufrene, junior dietetics major from Lockport:
“Without TOPS, most people can’t afford coming to college, which is borderline a necessity nowadays.”

Kari Boudreaux, education alumna from Thibodaux:
“My son is beginning college this year.”

Daniel Benitez, junior mass communication major from Metairie:
“It makes college more affordable for my family.”

Logan Loupe, sophomore marketing major from Raceland:
“If I didn’t qualify for TOPS, then I would not be able to attend classes at Nicholls State.”

Aaron Alexander, senior finance major from Baton Rogue:
“[Louisiana is] ranked #49 in education, which is bad. I believe we can help the kids and the community to get better in not only schools but also…to be prepared for the real world, including college students as well.”

Sarah Ramirez, junior allied health sciences pre-professional major from Gonzales:
“TOPS and funding make it possible for me and many others to afford a higher education.”

Paige Loftin, sophomore secondary education major from Belle River:
“I wasn’t very fortunate with rich parents.”

Austin Michael Simoneaux, sophomore business administration major from Gonzales:
“One of the biggest excuses I’ve heard from people for not going to college is that they can’t afford it.”

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