2019 has been a year of growth for the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance. We developed new programs and partnerships to help students better prepare for their futures and continue to provide services that promote student success. Here are some of our highlights from the past year....
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance has shown phenomenal success in getting students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the 2018-19 academic year, 78.7 percent of Louisiana's 47,837 seniors completed the FAFSA. The state had back-to-back positive years, being named #1 in the nation for FAFSA completion. As of November 2019, the National College Access Network (NCAN) shows 14,981 FAFSA's have been completed by Louisiana students, compared to 14,070 at the same time in 2018. We are off to a great start!
To help increase that number, LOSFA holds multiple outreach efforts every year to assist high school seniors and their parents in completing the form. Those efforts include: conducting seminars on the FAFSA at high schools around the state, one-on-one completion assistance in LOSFA's lab, professional development on the FAFSA for school counselors, and answering parents' and students' questions from our GeauxFAFSA@la.gov email address.
In the spring, LOSFA conducted a communications campaign in order to reduce TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) processing delays.
During the spring, LOSFA began a TOPS Processing Error campaign where we used social media, print media, and television interviews, to get the word out about how to minimize TOPS processing delays. From these efforts, the agency saw the number of students being made TOPS eligible, during the initial eligibility cycle, skyrocket.
We continue to work proactively to identify and minimize the number of students who are not processed due to an error.
Fall FLY Tour 2019:
In September, more than 1,100 students attended the 2019 Fall Financial Literacy for You (FLY) Tour. FLY Tour is a theatrical performance that exposes middle and high school students to college life, while teaching them to pursue an education beyond a high school diploma—whether that is a two-year or four-year degree, joining the military, or a technical certificate to become workforce ready. The Fall FLY Tour made stops at Southern University (Baton Rouge), Delgado Community College, Southern University at Shreveport, Grambling State University, and Louisiana State University.
During each performance, students learned: 1) how to determine which college is the best fit for their needs, 2) what it takes to be college ready, and 3) how to pay for it all.
Louisiana College Application and Access Month (LCAAM):
LOSFA led Louisiana College Application and Access Month (LCAAM) in October. During LCAAM events, seniors were encouraged to apply to more than one college. Studies show applying to more than one college increases enrollment by 40 percent.
This year, 7,905 seniors participated in LCAAM—3,905 more than in 2018.
LOSFA also introduced Louisiana Early Start to Student Success (Lil’ CAAM) for 6-11th grade students. The students took a more in depth look at how to unlock their future, using LOSFA 5-Point Match tool. They discussed how dual enrollment classes help earn college credit and how that can save money on tuition once they enroll at a post-secondary institute. They also learned where to find on-campus resources for retention and were encouraged to begin conversations with school counselors and their family, to prepare for their senior year of high school and beyond.
LOSFA also introduced a new initiative this year, called Connect2Success. The program is designed to increase post-secondary enrollment, by exposing students to the link between academics and careers.
Connect2Success provides students with opportunities to job shadow, intern, career plan, and develop skills necessary for success in the classroom and the career of their choice. The program expands dual-enrollment support, through tutoring, mentoring, and college visits. It also increases credentialing opportunities through business and industry visits.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana and Southeastern Louisiana University have partnered with the agency, to engage with students and provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities, leadership seminars, professional development, and more. Partnerships with Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, and Southern University A&M College are being finalized.