STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
|DATE ISSUED:||September 7, 2005|
|EFFECTIVE DATE:||As Indicated|
College, University and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, Registrars and Auditors; Parish Presidents and Superintendents; High School Principals and Counselors; Proprietary Schools; Louisiana Legislators, Officials and the Congressional Delegation; Higher Education Board; Libraries; Commission Members; Technical College Campus Deans and Student Personnel Services Officers
Actions Being Implemented to Mitigate the Effects of Hurricane Katrina on Students and Postsecondary Institutions
To assure that your Rules remain current, please record this document on your Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.
According to all pundits, Hurricane Katrina is a natural disaster on a scale unprecedented in the history of this nation. Accordingly, extraordinary measures must be taken to mitigate the adverse impact on Louisiana's students and institutions.
For the programs administered by LOSFA, the following guidance is provided to address the many issues arising from this disaster. The Chairman of the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission has concurred in the actions being taken by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, absent an opportunity for the Commission to meet and consider these actions. Additional guidance may be forthcoming based on other actions to be taken by the Commission, the Board of Regents and the Governor.
For TOPS, "displaced students" are:
· Those students who were enrolled in a high school in the parishes affected by Hurricane Katrina, or
· TOPS recipients and students eligible for TOPS whose home of record is in the parishes affected by Hurricane Katrina or who were enrolled in a postsecondary institution located in one of those parishes.
A. For the 2005-06 Academic Year, a blanket one-year exception to the Continuous Full-Time Enrollment Requirement will be granted to displaced students. This means that students who were enrolled at an institution in the areas affected by the hurricane or whose home address was in those areas, will retain their eligibility for TOPS even if they do not enroll, enroll part-time, transfer to another institution (in-state or out-of-state) or they do not complete 24 hours in this academic year. TOPS eligible students whose ZIP Code shows them to be residents of the affected parishes will be automatically granted an exception on our system without having to submit a formal request.
B. Displaced students eligible for TOPS, who first enrolled at an institution affected by Hurricane Katrina and subsequently transferred to another institution as full-time students, remain eligible. The gaining eligible Louisiana institution may bill LOSFA for TOPS awards due full-time students at the gaining institution rate.
C. For the 2005-06 Academic Year, displaced students eligible for TOPS who first enrolled at an institution affected by Hurricane Katrina and subsequently transferred to another institution as part-time students, will remain eligible. The gaining eligible Louisiana institution will be permitted to bill LOSFA for TOPS awards for part-time students at the gaining institution rate, if the student authorizes the institution to do so. Institutions must use “KP” as special student coding when billing for these part-time students. Payment for part-time enrollment in a semester (term) will result in a reduction of the student’s TOPS eligibility by one full semester (term).
LEAP funds initially allocated for this academic year to institutions whose opening dates cannot yet be determined are being reallocated to all other eligible institutions. Enrolling students who have been displaced from an institution in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina should be given priority by the gaining institution when awarding these additional need-based funds.
Scheduled disbursements from the START Saving Program, Louisiana’s “529” college savings plan, that were payable to an institution that is temporarily closed, have been canceled pending further direction from owners of the saving accounts.
Displaced Students who present themselves to the financial aid office as Rockefeller State Wildlife Scholarship awardees will continue to be eligible to receive those funds even if the receiving institution does not offer a corresponding curriculum. The financial aid office should contact Joyce Price, Administrator, LOSFA Special Programs at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 3219, for information. Note: For the Rockefeller obligation to be discharged, the student must complete the degree in the appropriate field of study as stated in their promissory note.
TOPS TECH EARLY START:
Displaced high school students who had funds reserved through the TOPS Tech Early Start Portal may have those funds transferred to another campus if requested. The campus that the student is transferring to should contact Joyce Price, Administrator, LOSFA Special Programs at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 3219, for instructions.
TOPS TEACHER SERVICE REPAYMENT:
Teachers whose teaching service for repayment of their TOPS Teacher Awards was disrupted due to school closings in affected parishes should contact Joyce Price, Administrator, LOSFA Special Programs at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 3219, for forbearance information.
Questions relating to this information and guidance should be directed to our customer service representatives at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 1012 or in the Baton Rouge area at 922-1012 or by e-mail at email@example.com.