Student Financial Aid Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: June 23, 2003

Louisiana High School Principals and Counselors, City and Parish School Board Presidents, School Board Superintendents, College, University, and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, Registrars and Auditors, Technical College Campus Deans and Student Personnel Services Officers, System Governance, Board of Regents, Department of Education, Louisiana Officials, Louisiana Legislators, and Commission Members, Parish Branch Libraries, Loan Program Lenders and Schools


Student Aid Related Legislative Activity in the 2003 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature

To assure that your Rules remain current, please record this document on your Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.

The 2003 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature concludes no later than 6:00 p.m., June 23, 2003. The following information will bring you up-to-date regarding:
   - seven Acts that have been signed into law,
   - two concurrent resolutions that have been finally passed by the legislature,
   - a bill that has been passed by the House and the Senate and awaits action by Governor Foster, and
   - six student aid related legislative bills and one concurrent resolution still under consideration.

Again, those who wish to monitor the session may access their website at www.legis.state.la.us. At its up-coming meetings, the Student Financial Assistance Commission (LASFAC, the Commission) will revise its Scholarship and Grant rules to incorporate all statutory changes enacted by our Legislature this session:


Governor Foster has signed the following Acts of the Legislature into law:

Act 63 (SB 46) authored by Senator McPherson - TOPS - Signed May 28, 2003. Permits, subject to certain limitations, subsequent use of TOPS awards at eligible Louisiana institutions by otherwise qualified students who attended out-of-state colleges or universities. The Commission requested this change. Students must have been determined to meet initial TOPS eligibility requirements, must have enrolled in school in accordance with specified guidelines for TOPS, must continue to meet TOPS continuation requirements at the out-of-state institution, and must have graduated from high school during the 2001-2002 school year or thereafter. The award for eligible students will be reduced by the number of semesters attended at an out-of-state school.

Act 81 (HB 98) authored by Representative John Smith - TOPS - Signed May 28, 2003. Extends the time for military personnel to declare Louisiana their state of legal residence from 60 days to 180 days after reporting for duty. The Student Financial Assistance Commission requested this change.

Act 214 (SB 364) authored by Senator Theunissen - TOPS - Allows a student who attended an eligible high school for the last two academic years prior to graduation to meet an alternative residency test and revises citizenship requirements for students who graduate high school during the 2002-2003 school year and thereafter to provide that a student who is a permanent resident as defined by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship will satisfy the citizenship requirement for TOPS. The Commission requested these changes.

Act 220 (SB 459) authored by Senator Cain - TOPS - Provides for the eligibility of the dependent child of a military member who is not and does not become a state resident but who resides in the state under permanent change of station orders and provides that the student meets the residency requirement if he or she resides in Louisiana and attends an eligible high school for all of his or her junior and senior years.

Act 221 (SB 471) authored by Senator Hoyt - START - Provides for administration of and participation in the Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust (START) College Savings Plan. Adds a new category of account owner to provide a higher state match for irrevocable deposits by philanthropists on behalf of needy students. Provides that an account must be open 12 months or more to earn interest, that accounts established by juridical persons may not be refunded but a new beneficiary may be designated, and provides for the presumption of abandoned property if unclaimed during a set amount of time.

Act 393 (HB 259) authored by Representative Winston - Scholarship Programs - Repeals various student financial assistance programs, provides for the continuation of certain tuition payments, and deletes provisions relative to the review of certain applications.

Act 401 (HB 347) authored by Representative G. Smith - TOPS - Permits certain students under specified circumstances to receive TOPS Opportunity, Performance, and Honors award benefits for postgraduate study.

The following resolutions have been passed finally by the Legislature:

HCR 213 authored by Representative Kenny - TOPS - Requests the Board of Regents to study including certain agriscience courses as a TOPS core curriculum science option and report findings and recommendations in writing to the House and Senate education committees by December 15, 2003.

HSR 16 authored by Representative Morrell - TOPS - Requests the House Committee on Education to study the effectiveness of the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students.

The following bill has been passed finally by the House and the Senate and await action by Governor Foster:

HB 1619 authored by Representative Morrish - LOAN PROGRAM - Provides for a guaranteed loan program for certain nursing students and for loan forgiveness in return for service

The following bills affecting programs administered by LOSFA are still under consideration and await further action by the House and/or the Senate:

HB 439 authored by Representative Martiny - TOPS - Permits certain high school students completing honors or advanced placement courses and having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 to qualify for TOPS Performance Awards under specified circumstances. Continues the Alternate Performance Award without a cutoff.

HB 549 authored by Representative Futrell - TOPS - Provides that the ACT composite score needed by certain students to be eligible for a TOPS Opportunity Award shall never be less than 20. Provides relative to residency, citizenship, and other initial and continuing eligibility requirements, certain required agency rules, and eligibility for multiple awards and refers to court-ordered custodians rather than legal guardians. (Commission requested.)

HB 1657 authored by Representatives Honey, Curtis, Hudson, Morrell and Senator Holden - TOPS - Provides relative to TOPS high school core curriculum requirements for Opportunity, Performance and Honors awards. Starting with the class of 2008 increases Computer courses to 1 1/2 units.

HB 1923 authored by Representative Hudson - Teacher Incentive Program - Creates an incentive program to encourage certified, highly qualified teachers to seek employment at failing schools or at rural schools that have not been designated as failing but that have academic deficiencies as defined by BESE and that are located in disadvantaged geographical areas.

SB 365 authored by Senator Theunisson - Commission Authority - Provides for the development and maintenance of a comprehensive state student aid plan that supports the Master Plan for Public Postsecondary Education, which requires approval of the plan by the Board of Regents.

SB 607 authored by Senator Holden - Tuition Program - Establishes a program providing tuition of skill training at public technical colleges for graduates from the La. National Guard's Youth Challenge Program who earn a GED.

SCR 143 authored by Senator Theunisson - Student Financial Assistance - Requests the Senate and House education committees to jointly study the governance and oversight of student financial assistance in Louisiana.