Dillard University Comes to the Rescue of Students Who Lost State Financial Aid

Dillard University, the historically Black educational institution in New Orleans, like many other colleges and universities in the state of Louisiana, has been impacted by a reduction in the funding for the Taylor Opportunity Scholarship program (TOPS). The program had paid the full cost of tuition at state universities for students who had achieved a 2.5 grade point average and high scores on standardized tests. An equal amount of state aid was provided to Louisiana students who attended private colleges and universities in Louisiana, including Dillard.

For the fall semester, the program was fully funded. But for many students in Louisiana, they will receive only half as much under the TOPS program for the spring semester than they did for the just completed semester. This shortfall in financial aid may force many students to drop out of college or borrow money to finance their education.

But Dillard University announced that it will use $225,000 from its SAFE fund to make up for the reduction in TOPS funding for its students. The SAFE fund was established in 2013 to provide emergency funding assistance to help retain Dillard students who would be at risk of leaving school due to short-term financial hardships.

Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University stated that “we know that economic instability is one of the main factors that prevents students from completing their educations. These individuals met the necessary criteria to earn these scholarships and it is important that we step in to honor the promise made by the state of Louisiana and do whatever we can to make sure that they are able to pursue their academic goals without finances hanging over their heads.”

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