TOPS Processing Schedule
STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
TOPS BULLETIN NUMBER:
|March 5, 1999|
|DISTRIBUTION:||Louisiana High Schools, Colleges, Universities, Technical Colleges, Board of Regents, Department of Education and Louisiana Officials|
|TOPIC:||TOPS Processing Schedule|
To assure that your Scholarship and Grant Policy and Procedure Manual remains current, please record this document on your TOPS Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) advises institutions participating in the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) of the following processing schedule for closing TOPS Award Year 1998-1999 and initiating Award Year 1999-2000.
1. To be considered for TOPS during Academic Year 1998-99, an applicant must have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in time to be received by the federal processor on or before March 1, 1999. All supporting documentation necessary for LOSFA to make a final determination of eligibility must be received from the applicant by May 1, 1999.
2. The last TOPS MASTER ROSTER to be produced for Award Year 1998-99 will be available for electronic retrieval by institutions on May 17, 1999.
3. Not later than July 1, 1999, schools must transmit the TOPS PAYMENT REQUEST to close out Award Year 1998-99 (fall and spring semesters or fall, winter and spring terms).
4. Not later than August 1, 1999, schools must transmit the TOPS PAYMENT REQUEST to close out the Summer Session, 1999 (applicable to former LA Honors and Tuition Assistance Plan recipients only).
5. Beginning May 24, 1999, schools must report to LOSFA the academic performance of TOPS recipients by transmitting the TOPS ACADEMIC YEAR GRADE REPORT.
6. To be considered for TOPS during Academic Year 1999-2000, all applicants (including new applicants and those seeking continuation in the program) must complete and mail the 1999-2000 FAFSA to be postmarked by April 15, 1999, for Priority Consideration or to be received by the federal processor on or before the final deadline of July 1, 1999.
7. To qualify for TOPS during Academic Year 1999-2000, high school graduates in the Class of 1999 must achieve an ACT score of 19 or higher for the TOPS-TECH award or 20 and higher for all other TOPS awards, no later than the April 10, 1999, ACT National Test Date.
8. 1999 high school graduates may apply to LOSFA for permission to substitute an SAT score in lieu of an ACT score if the qualifying SAT score was achieved by the May 1, 1999, SAT National Test Date. LOSFA shall make the determination of whether the SAT score is a qualifying equivalency.
9. In late April, LOSFA will mail to high schools the High School Certification Forms containing the names of students who have achieved a qualifying ACT score and whose Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) have been received from the federal processor as of that date. A subsequent mailing of certification forms will be performed upon receipt of the April National Test Report from ACT containing the names of students whose first qualifying score was achieved on that test.
10. In August, 1999, LOSFA will forward to high schools the High School Certification Forms containing the names of students who were not been previously listed on a form but who filed the FAFSA by the final deadline of July 1, 1999.
11. Beginning May 28, 1999, former TOPS recipients who fail to meet continuation standards will be notified by letter (suspension or cancellation) on a weekly basis as TOPS ACADEMIC YEAR GRADE REPORTS are received from institutions.
12. As High School Certification Forms are received from high schools, data will be entered into the applicants individual computer record. On May 28, 1999, processing of records will begin to determine which applicants are eligible for an award during Academic Year 1999-2000.
Award letters for qualifying applicants will be system-generated beginning on that date and their names will appear on the Master Roster. Students will be required to confirm their award selection by dialing into LOSFAs automated voice response system and following the instructions contained in the award letter.
13. Production of the 1999-2000 TOPS MASTER ROSTER will begin on June 1, 1999 and will include the names of all applicants (new and continuing) who are qualified as of that date. The roster will be updated weekly thereafter and be available every Monday for electronic retrieval by schools.
14. Former recipients of a TOPS award who meet continuation standards will be notified by mail as they are determined eligible. Students who attended only one institution during the academic year and attained continuation eligibility should appear on the weekly TOPS MASTER ROSTER and have their notice of renewal letters mailed the week following LOSFAs receipt of the institutions ACADEMIC YEAR GRADE REPORT. The continuation eligibility of students who attended more than one institution during the academic year will be determined only upon receipt of ACADEMIC YEAR GRADE REPORTS from both institutions attended.
15. Beginning in June, 1999, students will be able to use a touchtone telephone or a computer connection to the Internet to inquire about the status of their applications. Simply by telephoning LOSFAs automated voice response system, (1-800-259-5626), or accessing LOSFAs Internet website, (http://www.osfa.state.la.us), students will be able to obtain information about their scholarship and loan applications. These products are currently in development; more details will be forthcoming.
If you have questions or concerns about these issues, please contact John Bell, Scholarship Manager, at the above address; or at 1-800-259-5626, ext 1113 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.