STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
| TOPS BULLETIN NUMBER:
||November 18, 2004
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 and Parish Branch Libraries.
Technical Reminders on Submission of Institutional Payment Request (IPR) Files and Academic Information Reporting (AIR) Files
To assure that
your Scholarship and Grant Program Rules remain current, please record
this document on your TOPS Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.
Due to the large number of electronic files being rejected during processing, the following procedures are emphasized to ensure that the electronic records/files being transmitted to LOSFA and that are described herein can be processed promptly upon receipt.
Please review this information
with your IT and other appropriate administrative staffs.
Grades – (Reference TOPS
Bulletin T2002-13 dated 8/26/02) Schools will
report the total number of hours for which a student receives an Incomplete
or "I" grade in a separate field, described as the
"Incomplete Hours" field, and enter the semester or term in which
those hours are recorded. This will enable LOSFA to notify the student that
their TOPS renewal will be pending until all "I" grades are completed.
Once "I" grades are converted to a permanent grade, schools should
submit corrected grade reports electronically through the TOPS Web Portal
or FTP process. This can be done via batch or individual entry. Corrections
to Incomplete grades, as well as any other grade corrections, should be submitted
timely to ensure students' eligibility is correctly determined. We recommend
that your school establish procedures to ensure that all grade corrections
made to students' transcripts automatically trigger a correction file transmission
to LOSFA. Schools must submit hours attempted for
every course in which a grade of A, B, C, D, or F is earned. You
should not include “I” grades in hours attempted.
This will result in the hours for the “I” grade being double counted
when we attempt to assess if a pending status is warranted.
of Program Type to Institutional Payment Request File (Reference TOPS
Bulletin T2004-2 dated 4/16/04) Beginning with
the first semester of academic year 2004-05 (1S/IT2005),
the Institutional Payment Request (IPR) file will be expanded by adding six
(6) fields. The revised IPR file layout should have been implemented by institutions
beginning September 3, 2004. All payment requests submitted after that date,
to include payments requested for prior academic years, must be in the revised
file format. This field should contain an “A” if the student is
enrolled in an Academic Program of Study at a 2 or 4-year public or LAICU
institution, or a “T” if the student is enrolled in a Technical
(Non-Academic) Program of Study.
Submission of Files LOSFA now has the capability
to review IPR and AIR files prior to loading them to the processing system
for the weekly job run (each Thursday). To provide adequate time to review
and assess the accuracy of these records, files must be received by Wednesday
at 3:00 p.m. Records received after this time will not be reviewed and processed
until the following week. We encourage schools to make submissions on Thursdays,
Fridays and Mondays to allow ample time for files to be reviewed and returned
for corrections, if necessary. This schedule will allow corrected files to
be submitted before the Wednesday deadline. Schools having automated systems
that do not conform to this deadline should adjust their programs accordingly.
Standing Field – (reference TOPS
Bulletin T2002-13 dated 8/26/02) This field must
reflect the enrollment status of the student when
submitted in the AIR and the special student population code
when submitted in the IPR (if no Special Student Code is applicable, code
should be “00”).
and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading – (reference TOPS
Bulletin T2002-13 dated 8/26/02) Do not report
grades of “P”, “S”, or “W” in Hours
Attempted (HRSATTMPT) in the AIR files. These grades carry no quality
points and will misrepresent the student’s grade point average when
calculated by our system. If your institution treats “NC” or “U”
grades as failing grades, they should be reported as Hours Attempted. If these
grades are not computed on your campus in the student’s grade point
average, they should not be reported as Hours Attempted.
Questions or comments regarding the above information may be referred to LOSFA’s
TOPS Program Administrator John Bell by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 1012.