College students from across Louisiana gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday to protest budget cuts, as the legislature met to discuss the state's budget shortfall.
Classes at public universities have been canceled or over-enrolled. Favorite professors have been laid off. And now, predictions of severe cuts to the state's scholarship program, TOPS.
Keiyanu Mattocks is supposed to start classes at LSU Alexandria this summer.
"Not everybody can pay out of pocket," he says. "I've been working my entire life to get into college. And seeing it like this now, I'm not gonna be able to live out my dreams."
Mattocks joined what appeared to be thousands of other students at the rally, which was organized by the Council of Student Body Presidents and state Board of Regents.
Governor John Bel Edwards made a brief appearance and reaffirmed his commitment to higher education.
"I know that we cannot continue with annual double digit tuition increases," Edwards said. "I do not want to end TOPS. I do not want for our universities and community and technical colleges to close. That is why you are here today. And that is why the legislature is gathered in that building, 'cause I called them here so that these things will not happen."
Over the past eight years, Louisiana cut more than $700 million from higher education, the largest disinvestment in the country.
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