The TOPS Opportunity Award pays the TOPS Award Amount set by the administering agency for a student at a particular institution during the 2016-2017 academic year unless increased by Act of the Legislature. If a student attends a college within the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the award amount will be the weighted average award amount that was set for public colleges and universities during the 2016-2017 academic year.
Click here for current TOPS Award Amounts by Institution.
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)
- Completion of the 19.0 Core Units of the TOPS Core Curriculum
- Minimum ACT Score (or SAT Equivalent) of the prior year state average but never less than a 20 (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
*BESE-Approved Home Study Eligibility – ACT/SAT Score of 2 points above standard – Currently 22
*Louisiana Residents graduating from an eligible out-of-state/country high school – ACT/SAT Score of 3 points above standard – Currently 23
- Minimum 2.30 GPA at the end of the first Academic Year(between 24-47 hours of earned credit) 1
- Minimum 2.50 GPA at the end of all other Academic Years (once 48 hours have been earned) 1
- Maintain steady Academic Progress at the end of all other semesters/terms (2.00 Cumulative GPA) 1
- Student must be enrolled full-time as of the 15th class day at a semester institution or as of the 10th class day at a quarter institution and maintain continuous enrollment2
- Earn at least 24 Credit Hours for Academic Year (the TOPS Academic Year begins with the fall term of the award year and concludes immediately before the next fall term commences. All intersessions and summer sessions are included)
- Hours earned during the Intersession between Fall and Spring Semesters will be counted toward meeting the 24 Hours Annual Requirement but not toward Full-Time Enrollment
- For more information on courses that will and will not fulfill the 24 Hours annual requirement click here.
1 Suspended Award will be reinstated if appropriate GPA regained within 24 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, 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.
Transfer Degree Guarantee (TDG): A CLEAR PATH TO SUCCESS
The Transfer Degree Guarantee helps students to easily transfer from a 2-year or community college to a 4-year university in the state of Louisiana. It provides guidance and saves time and money.
TDG ensures that a community college student can transfer to a Louisiana 4-year public university and immediately enroll with Junior-level status in most majors.
Whether you are a student, advisor, counselor or parent the following site provides you with detailed information regarding the TDG: https://www.latransferdegree.org