Dear Tulane Community:

Like you, I have been closely monitoring the budget crisis currently facing our state. We have received many inquiries on what impact the effort to address Louisiana's massive budget deficit might have on Tulane.

Our main concern, as always, is our students – especially the 626 scheduled to receive TOPS funding this semester. We are hopeful that our elected officials will be able to solve the state's budget problems without having to eviscerate an invaluable program like TOPS, especially for students who have fully met the criteria to receive TOPS awards for this semester.

While we remain hopeful, responsible budgeting requires planning for both the best and worst outcomes. With this in mind, we have allocated resources to cover any shortfall in TOPS funding for our students for the 2016 spring semester.

Besides the life-changing opportunities it offers students throughout our state, TOPS has special meaning for the Tulane community. Back in 1998, the late Patrick F. Taylor and his wife, Tulane graduate and board member Phyllis M. Taylor, developed and promoted adoption of the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). This was one of the crowning achievements of the Taylors' lifetime commitment to improving and increasing access to education for all residents of our state. Like education itself, the Taylors' commitment is a force for good that will reap benefits for generations to come.

In addition to TOPS, we also continue to join our fellow universities in working with our state leaders to ensure that the mission of higher education is prioritized in this and future state budgets. I urge you to contact your local representatives and ask that they stand with us in this effort.