The Louisiana Board of Regents is struggling to figure out how to fund the TOPS scholarship through the budget crisis. They have ordered their staffers to come up with ideas to get more money in order to provide as many scholarships as they can.
One idea that has emerged from the Regents is to sell the naming rights of the scholarship. Naming rights are already sold for arenas and even for sporting competitions. This would be the first time a program like TOPS has had its naming rights sold.
From The Times-Picayune:
The staff of Louisiana’s Board of Regents has weighed in on public higher education’s most talked-about topic: Yes, the state should cut its TOPS program that picks up much of the cost of tuition at state colleges and universities.
And coming to a campus near you might be the Rouses Market TOPS Scholarship, the Cajun Industries TOPS Scholarship or the TOPS Scholarship Opportunity Award, powered by Entergy. That is if state officials agree to a Regents staff recommendation to sell naming rights for the cash-strapped program to increase private funding.
Staff members presented these and a host of other draft recommendations to the Board of Regents on Monday (Jan. 9). Most would require the Legislature’s approval.
The Regents say this is not all that different from the business partnerships universities are already doing. Some of those partnerships even include scholarships.
This is a brilliant idea and in fact, they should expand this idea to other government programs. The ability to sell naming rights is a good measurement of both the effectiveness and the popularity of government programs. For example, does anyone think the DMV, the East Baton Rouge government schools, and FEMA could sell their naming rights?
It’s a clever way to measure the effectiveness of a government program and its popularity. It is also a creative way to raise money without taxation.