STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
|DATE ISSUED:||August 16, 2004|
|EFFECTIVE DATE:||As Indicated|
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, Louisiana National Guard
2004 Regular Legislative Session Changes
To assure that your Rules remain current, please record this document on your Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.
The following is the final update on legislation enacted during the 2004 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature that affects the programs administered by the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission. Text of these bills can be obtained from www.legis.state.la.us.
Act 472 (HB 32) – Changes the TOPS Core Curriculum for students graduating from high school in 2008 and later. This act supersedes last year’s legislation that added an additional unit of computer science. Students will be required to complete 17.5 units, but the additional unit must be selected from the advanced science (excluding Agriscience I & II) or advanced math core subjects. The ½ unit of computer science may be substituted with a core elective (same as current law).
Act 507 (HB 487) - Provides alternate eligibility requirements for students who enroll in college without graduating from high school. These students must (1) meet the TOPS Louisiana residency, citizenship and ACT requirements prior to their college enrollment, (2) demonstrate at least an IQ of 135 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Third Edition), (3) successfully complete 12 credit hours at an eligible institution, and (4) begin full-time enrollment in an eligible institution no later than their 19th birthday. Provides for up to eight semesters of eligibility. Procedures for identification and processing of these students are currently being prepared by LOSFA.
Act 625 (SB 224) – Does not change current law, but clarifies that any student who qualifies for a TOPS award shall be allowed to use it in any manner to cover any “cost of attendance” and that students who qualify for other financial assistance offered by the school shall be allowed to combine such award (TOPS) and the financial assistance in any manner to cover any “cost of attendance”. Families who pay tuition using out-of-pocket funds may qualify for certain federal tax credits and should seek the advice of tax professionals in how this act may apply to them.
Act 800 (SB 435) - Provides that Agriscience I and II (two units) may be earned as the equivalent of one unit of advanced science for Opportunity, Performance and Honors Awards, starting with students graduating from high school in 2008. This provision for TOPS Tech Awards is retroactive to 2002 graduates.
Act 804 (SB 209) - Revises the alternate eligibility requirements for certain students who live in an adjacent state and who attend and graduate from a Louisiana high school. Limits eligibility to students who graduated in 2001-2002 or 2002-2003. Deletes the requirement for the parent to live in a state adjoining Louisiana and in a municipality having a geographic boundary that includes a portion of the state of Louisiana. Adds a requirement that the parent live in a county that adjoins a Louisiana parish that had a population between 41,600 and 42,400 according to the 2000 census (only Webster Parish meets this requirement).
Act 894 (HB 1652) - Revises the TOPS Medical program to require five years (previously two) of service in a rural or medically disadvantaged area; pays all costs of medical school (previously only two years), and requires a recipient to repay double the amount awarded if the terms of the contract are not met. This program has not been funded.
OTHER LOSFA LEGISLATION (NON-TOPS)
Act 201 (HB 257) – LASFAC Structure. Adds two new members to the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, effective July 1, 2004. These two members will be appointed by the governor from a list of the names of five persons submitted by the Louisiana Bankers’ Association.
Act 329 (HB 486) – START Saving Program Legislation. For accounts closed within 12 months of opening, the amount of the refund shall be equal to the actual amount of the deposits or the current value of the deposits, whichever is less.
Act 355 (HB 1487) – FFELP Legislation. Authorizes the state registrar to issue a copy of a death certificate to the Office of Student Financial Assistance to allow discharges of student loans when a borrower dies.
Act 695 (SB 617) – Student Aid Policy Formulation. Requires the Board of Regents to develop, adopt and maintain a comprehensive state plan for postsecondary student financial assistance that supports the board’s master plan for postsecondary education.
Act 809 (HB 1357) – Veterinary Medicine Loan Program. Provides a loan program for certain veterinary students specializing in food animals and for loan forgiveness in return for service. Limited to four students per year.