NEW ORLEANS -- The recent special session was supposed to find a way to maintain funding for TOPS, a scholarship program for students who qualify by maintaining a 2.5 GPA and attain a 20 ACT score, but that hasn't happened.
Now many high school seniors are wondering how to plan next.
"So we teach them to navigate high school and one of the things we say is TOPS opportunity is waiting for you," Margaret Leaf said.
Leaf is the director of Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School.
As the state budget shortfall looms, students have already voiced their concerns about the TOPS program.
"And so now I feel like is there really a reward for them? Have they been working for something that won't be there since they've achieved their part of the deal?"
She says this is especially difficult for families who are struggling.
"He plans on attending LSU and I know we're going to need the TOPS program," Ayana Paul, a mom and instructor at Clark High School, said.
Paul’s son is a junior in high school.
"TOPS was the extra help, so if we hear that they're not having that program anymore we have to start all over from plan A, trying to figure what can we do? Do we have to raise money? Like what do we have to do to get our kids' education funded?"
Another mom says, this is a struggle not only for her kids planning to go to college, but her daughter who is currently attending university.
"Like if I could afford to send them to college I wouldn't take money from other people that can't afford it."
But Eyewitness News talked to an actual high school student having to make decision about his future.
"I feel this is the inappropriate way to maintain and save money throughout the state," Zachary Wharton, a senior at L.B. Landry High School on the Westbank, said.
Wharton said it's disappointing a budget shortfall could affect so many of his peers. Wharton says he's studied intently to achieve a high GPA and test scores, so this means he'll have to compete for as many academic scholarships as possible, but he's concerned for others, like members in his family.
"The other cousin, however, he's also vying for TOPS as well and he says that he may or may not afford college perfectly."
Meanwhile, thousands of others may not be as fortunate. Currently lawmakers are still working on the budget. A special task force has proposed at least nine different proposals to tweak the TOPS program, but which one is now up to legislators.