Byrd High School student takes fight to save TOPS to Baton Rouge - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Byrd High School student takes fight to save TOPS to Baton Rouge

Kyle Ypya and Governor John Bel Edwards (Courtesy: Penny Church) Kyle Ypya and Governor John Bel Edwards (Courtesy: Penny Church)
Kyle Ypya and his mom, Penny Church inside the House of Representatives chambers Sunday (Courtesy: Penny Church) Kyle Ypya and his mom, Penny Church inside the House of Representatives chambers Sunday (Courtesy: Penny Church)
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  • TOPS payments stopped immediately due to state budget crisis

    TOPS payments stopped immediately due to state budget crisis

    Thursday, February 11 2016 5:33 PM EST2016-02-11 22:33:42 GMT

    All TOPS payments were stopped immediately Thursday because of the uncertainty surrounding the state's budget crisis. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance alerted colleges and universities at 3 p.m. via email. "Due to the possibility of state budget cuts, all TOPS payments are being suspended immediately until further notice.  More details will be provided as information becomes available," stated John W. Bell, TOPS Awards and Renewals Manager...

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    All TOPS payments were stopped immediately Thursday because of the uncertainty surrounding the state's budget crisis. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance alerted colleges and universities at 3 p.m. via email. "Due to the possibility of state budget cuts, all TOPS payments are being suspended immediately until further notice.  More details will be provided as information becomes available," stated John W. Bell, TOPS Awards and Renewals Manager...

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

After last week's panic, the office of student financial assistance resumed TOPS scholarship payments Thursday.

But the funding for next year is still unknown. Some high school students are worried about paying for school due to Louisiana's budget crisis.

"It's so close to graduation, and just to throw a wrench in our plans, it's tough. It's tough," said Kyle Ypya.

One Byrd High School senior got the rare opportunity to meet with Governor John Bel Edwards face-to-face, just before the special session began Sunday.

"I'm on the football team and the bowling team," said Ypya.

Ypya is planning on going to Louisiana Tech next year and study Chemical Engineering.

But when the office of student financial assistance announced last week the state was suspending TOPS, he knew he had to act.

"It's the difference between succeeding in my dreams and not being able to go to college at all. It's night and day. It's that important," said Ypya.

So Ypya wrote out an essay and posted it on Twitter, as well as other social media sites, directed at Gov. Edwards. The next day, he got a call from the Governor's office inviting Ypya and his family to Baton Rouge for Sunday's special session.

"He listened and he was very respectful," said Ypya. He continued, "and it made me feel like my voice was actually heard, and all my classmates' voices were heard."

The governor highlighted the fears of Ypya and students across the state when he addressed legislators at the beginning of the session.

"Kyle is a high school senior at C.E. Byrd in Shreveport. He's got boundless dreams and an incredible work ethic," said Governor Edwards in his address to the Legislature Sunday.

Ypya says TOPS would fund his entire ride to Louisiana Tech, plus an additional $800. And with his mom caring for three other kids, he says he would not be able to afford it any other way.

He hopes the legislators find another way to fund the TOPS program so he and his fellow students can continue to pursue their dreams.

"I'm curious to see what will happen in the future," said Ypya.

But for now, his fate is in the hands of state leaders.

The TOPS eligibility could change if legislators do not come up with a new way to pay for the program. Funding could be cut by 80 percent and the minimum ACT score could be raised to 28.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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