Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: August 1, 2006

College, University and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, Registrars and Auditors; Louisiana Legislators, Officials and the Congressional Delegation; Higher Education Board; Libraries; Commission Members; Technical College Campus Deans and Student Personnel Services Officers


Reporting Academic Information for TOPS and Non-TOPS Students to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance – FERPA Compliance

To assure that your Rules remain current, please record this document on your Bulletin index and retain it with your manual.


On April 26, 2006, LOSFA requested an opinion from the United States Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) in response to concerns expressed by a number of colleges and universities regarding the transmission to LOSFA of students' education records (academic information) relating to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In his response to LOSFA (letter attached), LeRoy Rooker, Director of FPCO, writes that it is not a violation of FERPA for a postsecondary institution to provide LOSFA with education records on any student who has applied for or who has received or is receiving student financial aid if that information is necessary to determine eligibility, the amount of the award, the conditions of the award, or to enforce the terms of the award.

LOSFA is responsible for determining the initial and continuing eligibility of TOPS recipients each semester based on the students’ academic record. There are many cases where we must evaluate the academic performance of students who are awarded late, who completed hours during the summer prior to their first time enrollment and who may be eligible for removal from a suspended or cancelled status. Therefore, we find it critical to receive all information allowed under the law and will continue to require that the academic record of any student ever awarded under the TOPS Program and who continues to appear on the Master Roster, regardless of status code, be reported.

Under the guidance given by Mr. Rooker’s letter, LOSFA requests, that once a new award recipient is recognized on the TOPS Master Roster, the school immediately forward all academic records, by semester, for that student using the file format contained in TOPS Bulletin T2002-13, dated August 26, 2002.

Academic information may also be released to appropriate third parties for scholarship purposes if the school has obtained students’ permission for the release of their information through the admission application or other data gathering instrument. Schools that wish to forward to this office the academic information for all students who have signed such a release may continue to do so.

For additional information on this policy contact Melanie Amrhein, Assistant Executive Director at mamrhein@osfa.state.la.us, or Robyn Lively, Senior Attorney at rlively@osfa.state.la.us. For assistance with technical information contained in this bulletin, please contact John Bell, Program Manager at jbell@osfa.state.la.us.