DATE:               August 6, 1999
CONTACT:       Sigmund Morel
PHONE:            225-925-7727
FAX:                  225-922-0790

Deadline Extended for Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the Purpose of Renewing a TOPS Award

In recognition that this is the first time that TOPS recipients have had to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a condition for renewal of their awards and to preclude any otherwise eligible applicant for renewal from having their award suspended for the coming academic year, the Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission adopted an emergency rule on August 4, 1999, extending the deadline for receipt of the FAFSA to September 15, 1999.

Prior recipients of the Tuition Opportunity for Students (TOPS) award who seek renewal for academic year 1999-2000 and who failed to file the FAFSA by the original deadline of July 1, should immediately file the application. Students who have already filed the FAFSA for academic year 1999-2000, even though it may have been received after the July 1 deadline, should not file again.

Those students whose TOPS awards will be suspended in the coming academic year who have been placed on academic probation by the school they attend, or who failed to attain the required cumulative grade point average for continuation, must also file the FAFSA for receipt by the extended deadline of September 15, 1999. By doing so, suspended awards may be reinstated at the close of any semester in which the student regains academic good standing and the required cumulative grade point average.

Beginning today, LOSFA will forward individual notices to all previous TOPS recipients whose records show them to be eligible for continuation of their award into academic year 1999-2000, but whose renewal FAFSA has not been received. Beginning in the early spring of 2000, all award recipients will be notified of this annual requirement to assist them in filing the FAFSA prior to the annual deadline.

Students may obtain a 1999-2000 FAFSA from any university Financial Aid Office. The application may also be filed online at

The deadline for first-time TOPS applicants has not been extended. Applications received after July 1, 1999, from students who are applying for a TOPS award for the first time are not being considered unless the applicant makes a written appeal and presents credible evidence of extenuating circumstances which were beyond his or her control and which prevented him or her from meeting the deadline.

Louisiana Revised Statute 17:3048.1.J., requires that a student apply for federal grants prior to receiving a TOPS award unless the student can demonstrate that he does not qualify for federal grant aid.

Rules of the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission (specifically, Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 28, Part IV, Chapter 1, Sections 501 and 503), require all new applicants and continuing recipients of awards from Louisiana’s scholarship and grant programs to annually apply for state and federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by a specified deadline. This annual filing requirement is stated in the award letter received by each recipient of a TOPS award.

Students who satisfactorily demonstrate that family income will preclude them from receiving federal grant aid must still file the FAFSA annually but may omit those sections of the form which require the disclosure of personal or parental income and assets. Students who demonstrate their ineligibility for federal grant aid and do not disclose income on the FAFSA shall be the first to have their TOPS awards terminated during any year in which the total cost of program awards exceed appropriations.