TOPS Tech Award amounts differ by type of school attended
The TOPS Tech Award may be used for up to two years of skill or occupational training at any campus of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, accredited two-or-four-year public colleges or universities, or private colleges or universities (members of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, LAICU) to pursue a vocational or technical education certificate, diploma or non-academic degree program. Students who are eligible for the TOPS Tech Award may also use their awards at any school with a valid and current certificate of registration issued by the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology and that is accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the United States Department of Education, and any proprietary school, with a valid and current license issued by the Board of Regents and accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Where Can I Use My TOPS Tech Award?
- In a technical program at a public college or university: the Award Amount set by the administering agency for a student at that school during the 2016-2017 academic year;
- In an associate’s degree program/shorter term training and education program at a 2 year public college or university: the Award Amount set by the administering agency for a student at that school during the 2016-2017 academic year;
- In an approved program at a four year public college or university that does not offer a baccalaureate degree in the approved program: the Award Amount set by the administering agency for a student at that school during the 2016-2017 academic year;
- In an approved program at a four year public college or university that does offer a baccalaureate degree in the approved program AND at approved proprietary and cosmetology schools: the average of the TOPS Award Amount for students enrolled in technical programs of study in public colleges and universities during the 2016-2017 academic year
Click here for the TOPS Tech Usage document.
Standard Eligibility Requirements
- In order to be considered for TOPS, the student must attend a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) APPROVED HIGH SCHOOL. All Louisiana public schools are approved.
- If the student attends a non-public school, it must be approved by BESE in order for the student to be considered for TOPS. Click here to choose the Approval by Brumfield v Dodd document for the year the student graduated/will graduate from high school to determine if your child’s non-public school is approved.
- If the student is enrolled in Home Study through the Louisiana Department of Education, click here for TOPS home study requirements.
- Minimum TOPS Core Curriculum GPA of 2.50 (GPA computed on TOPS Core Curriculum courses only)
- 21 units that comprise the TOPS Tech JumpStart Core Curriculum
- Students may also qualify for the TOPS Tech Award by completing the 19 units that comprise the TOPS Core Curriculum for the Opportunity, Performance and Honors Awards
- Minimum ACT Score (or SAT Equivalent) of 17 or the Silver level score on ACT WorkKeys (Click here for the LOSFA ACT and SAT codes needed to be added to your test registrations)
- Must enroll full time as a first time freshman, by the first semester following the first anniversary of high school graduation
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident
- Meet TOPS Louisiana Residency requirements
- TOPS does not accept an ACT Superscore
*BESE-Approved Home Study Eligibility – ACT/SAT Score of 19 (2 points above standard in lieu of core units and GPA)
*Louisiana Residents graduating from an eligible out-of-state high school – ACT/SAT Score 20 (3 points above standard in lieu of core units and GPA)
- Minimum Cum GPA of 2.50 at end of every Spring Semester. 1
- Minimum Cum GPA of 2.00 (Steady Academic Progress) at end of all other semesters. 1
- Enroll full-time (as defined by your institution) as of the 15th class day at a semester school or as of the 10th class day at a quarter school every semester or quarter they enroll and maintain continuous enrollment; 2 and
- Earn 24 or more hours for Academic Year (Fall Semester, Spring Semester and Summer Session). 2
- For more information on courses that will and will not fulfill the 24 Hours annual requirement click here.
1 Award will be reinstated if 2.50 GPA regained within 12 months.
2 Failure to enroll full time, maintain continuous enrollment or earn 24 hours results in cancellation of award and it cannot be reinstated without an Approved Request for Exception to the Initial, Continuous, or Full-Time Enrollment and/or 24 Hour Requirement.
How to Apply
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We strongly encourage you to submit your initial (first) FAFSA before July 1 immediately following your high school graduation so that you will receive TOPS credit on your college’s fee bill for the Fall semester after graduation. The absolute deadline to receive your initial TOPS application without a reduction in your award is July 1st following the one year anniversary of your high school graduation.
If you file your initial FAFSA after July 1 of your year of high school graduation, your TOPS payment will be made when your FAFSA has been received and your TOPS eligibility has been determined. Once you are determined TOPS eligible, your TOPS payments will be made beginning with the first semester you enrolled as a full time student in an eligible Louisiana college. Further payments will be made only if you meet the TOPS Continuing Eligibility Requirements.
If your initial TOPS application is received on or after July 2 but no later than October 29 following the one year anniversary of your high school graduation TOPS award will be reduced by one semester if received no later than August 30 or two semesters if received no later than October 29.