2014 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
During the 2014 Regular Session, BRAC will keep investors and interested citizens up to date through regular updates by Erin Monroe Wesley, BRAC's executive vice president and chief operating officer. If you have any remaining questions about the recent session, or about economic development activities in the Capital Region, tweet @BRAC_BatonRouge using #askBRAC. If you would like to receive weekly updates from Erin, sign up using the form below.
Higher Education Reform
BRAC views higher education as critical to economic development, especially as global shifts to a talent and workforce economy continue to develop. BRAC will support an increase in the eligibility requirements will better align TOPS to comparable merit-based programs in Georgia and Florida. BRAC’s specific recommendations, phased in over multiple years, include:
- Opportunity Award: 2.5 GPA in core courses to 3.0 GPA in core courses, 20 on ACT to 26 on ACT (83rd percentile)
- Performance Award: 3.0 GPA in core courses (unchanged), 23 on ACT to 28 on ACT (91st percentile)
- Honors Award: 3.0 GPA in core courses to 3.5 in core courses, 27 on ACT to 30 on ACT (95th percentile)
BRAC also supports an increase in Louisiana’s need-based aid made available through Go Grant. TOPS has disproportionately been awarded to the state’s most affluent students since the program’s income cap removal in 1997 and almost eight out of ten recipients are Caucasian. To prevent causing a disadvantage to low-income and minority students, a raise in required academic standards for TOPS must be coupled with increased funding made available through the Louisiana Go Grant Program, a statewide need-based grant program for college students.
Finally, BRAC continues to support the stabilization of state funding and the transfer of tuition and fee autonomy for our higher education institutions. State cuts and lack of tuition control is taking its toll on the flagship university, Louisiana State University and A&M College (LSU). The Grad Act helped to increase tuition autonomy, however, Louisiana is still the only state where the state legislature has final authority over tuition and fees, and requires a two-thirds vot
BRAC continues its efforts to identify solutions to the workforce challenges facing the Capital Region. BRAC is in support of the governor’s proposed Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund. This $40 million competitive fund for higher education institutions will incentivize these groups to maintain a strategic focus on occupations deemed in high demand by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The measure also ensures local buy-in, requiring institutions to secure a 20 percent match from the private sector.