The TOPS Performance 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 plus an annual stipend of $400. 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 plus an annual stipend of $400.
Click here for the award amount at your school.
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 3.25 (GPA computed on TOPS core courses only) beginning with the graduating class of 2022.
- Completion of the 19.0 Core Units of the TOPS Core Curriculum
- Minimum ACT Score (or SAT Equivalent) of 23 (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 24 (1 point above standard in lieu of core units and GPA)
*Louisiana Residents graduating from an eligible out-of-state high school – ACT/SAT Score 26 (3 points above standard in lieu of core units and GPA)
– Minimum 3.00 GPA at the end of all Academic Years 1
– Maintain Steady Academic Progress at the end of all other semesters/terms (2.00 Cumulative GPA) 1,2
– 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 enrollment3
– 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) 3
– 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 If Cum GPA less than 3.00 but 2.30 or greater with 24 – 47 hours, award will be continued as Opportunity Award (no Stipend); if less than 3.00 but 2.50 or greater with 48 and greater hours, award will be continued as Opportunity Award (no Stipend).
2 If Cum GPA less than 2.30 with 24 – 47 hours or less than 2.50 with 48 or greater hours, award will be suspended but will be reinstated if appropriate GPA regained within 24 months.
3 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 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.
Students who can verify ineligibility for Federal Grants may forgo the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and apply via online application
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.