DATE:             May 16, 2000
CONTACT:     Gus Wales
PHONE:          225-922-2029
FAX:               225-922-0790

TOPS Courses Not Offered by Louisiana High School Will No Longer Be Waived

          The Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, the state agency charged with administering the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), today issued a reminder to students, parents and school officials that its authority under law to waive courses in the TOPS curriculum which are not offered by the state’s public and private high schools will expire with the graduating class of 2000.

          To qualify for TOPS, students graduating from eligible Louisiana high schools must complete 16.5 units of specific college preparatory courses which are collectively referred to as the "core curriculum." If a student fails to complete a course in the core curriculum "due solely to the fact that the required course or courses were not available to the applicant at the school attended,." state law permitted the administering agency to waive the required course. However, the administering agency’s authority to grant such waivers will expire with the high school graduating class of 2000.

          Beginning with the high school graduating class of 2001 and thereafter, students will not be eligible for TOPS if they fail to complete all courses in the core curriculum, or the authorized substitutes for courses in the core curriculum, even though these courses may not be available at the schools students attend. Accordingly, parents with children graduating from high school in 2001 and beyond should make arrangements to have their students complete all courses in the core curriculum which are necessary to qualify for TOPS. A listing of the courses or authorized substitutes which must be completed to qualify for TOPS can be obtained by calling the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 1012, or via the Internet at