Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: January 9, 2001
DISTRIBUTION: Louisiana High School Principals and Counselors, City and Parish School Board Presidents, School Board Superintendents, College and University, Technical College and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, Registrars and Auditors, System Governance, Board of Regents, Department of Education, Louisiana Officials, Louisiana Legislators, and Commission Members
TOPIC: Applying for TOPS using the abbreviated FAFSA Form

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.

Last year, rules of the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission (Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 28, Part IV, Chapter 5, Sections 501.A.2. and B.2.) were amended to provide TOPS applicants the ability to file an abbreviated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they could demonstrate that they did not qualify for federal grant aid. Specifically, for the 2001-2002 application, the following items must be completed for an abbreviated FAFSA to be accepted:

Step One - Questions 1 through 35
Step Three - Questions 52 through 58
Step Four - Questions 66 through 68
Step Six - Questions 86 through 96 (as applicable)
Step Seven - Questions 98 and 99

Please be reminded that applicants may only use the paper version of the FAFSA when filing the abbreviated form and will not be considered for any Federal Title IV Aid Programs, which include Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and Federal PLUS (Parent) Loans. Also, in the event that funding appropriated to the TOPS program is inadequate to cover all awards, those who use this abbreviated format will be the first denied an award.

Families are still strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA in its entirety, which assures they will be considered for all federal and state aid to which they are entitled. In the event an application is received which does not contain a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and it was not the student's intent to file an abbreviated application, the student should correct the information on the Student Aid Report (SAR) and resubmit it for processing. In the event that sufficient funds are not appropriated for the program, LOSFA will not differentiate between those records which do not contain an EFC, but will determine all within that group to be the first eliminated.