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Tech students attend ULS Day

June 30, 2017

 

While attending the ULS Day at the Capitol, Tech students were given the opportunity to speak to state representatives about the future of TOPS. – Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Potts

IMANI COLEMAN
Staff Reporter | itc002@ latech.edu

 

Louisiana universities are arguably going through some of the worst financial crises in past generations.

 

Many students are now carrying the entire load of their college education costs through loans and many will have to take out more as the future of TOPS is uncertain.

 

On April 19 students from the University of Louisiana System got to voice their concerns at the state capitol and talk to local politicians about their experiences as college students.

 

The University of Louisiana System includes Louisiana Tech, University Of Louisiana Monroe, McNeese State University University Of Louisiana Lafayette, Nicholls University, Northwestern University, Grambling State University, Southeastern University and the University of New Orleans.

 

Many students from these universities took the opportunity to stress the importance of TOPS and to explain how the program affects their daily lives.

 

Demetra Tobin, a senior political science major, attended the trip to get a better understanding of the obstacles the politicians face.

 

“I believe after listening to all the representatives give their speeches today and after understanding all the different committees that are in place that the problems facing Louisiana schools is going to be harder than I thought to fix,” Tobin said.

 

Like many students, Tobin will be graduating college with student loan debt.

 

“I really wish our system shifted the burden off of students,” she said. “Higher education will never be what it used to be where the state invests more than the student in their education: those days are over.”

 

Jeannine Kahn, vice president for academic affairs for the ULS, spoke of the importance that Louisiana invests in its schools.

 

“Our school system is the biggest in the state, and throughout all nine campuses we have a total of 90,000 students,” Kahn said. “We have to be able to pull together to convey how important it is to invest in the future that is our students.”

 

Les Guice, president of Tech, also attended the event and spoke of its goals.

 

“Today we’re taking a look at our system as a whole: our goal here today is to help the legislature understand the impact our schools have on the entire state,” Guice said. “We have 90,000 students, which means the economic impact of our schools is easily billions of dollars. Also we produce so many of the graduates in high demand fields, like engineering, business and nursing to name a few.”

 

He also emphasized how the universities attract top talent throughout the nation and how many graduates remain in Louisiana.

 

“So many of our graduates that come out of state to attend Louisiana schools end up staying and working in Louisiana. Our schools are a major part of our state’s economy,” he said.

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