Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: September 17, 2001

Louisiana High School Principals and Counselors, City and Parish School Board Presidents, School Board Superintendents, Department of Education, Louisiana Officials, Louisiana Legislators, and Commission Members


Clarifications on Alternate Honors Criteria for TOPS Performance Award

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.

Certification forms to the high schools from our office dated August 2, 2001 refer to new legislation which creates an alternate path to qualify for the TOPS Performance Award. We referred to students taking an "Honors Curriculum". For TOPS purposes, this refers to any student who has completed a minimum of ten (10) Honors Courses (as designated by the school) graded on a 5.0 scale. This is not to be confused with the "Honors Curriculum" which is defined in Bulletin 741 from the Louisiana Department of Education. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

It is also necessary to clarify that to certify a student for the TOPS Performance Award based on this criteria, the Honors courses taught at the school MUST be graded on a 5.0 scale. Honors courses on any other scale (4.0, 6.0, etc) are not covered under the legislation. The calculation of the cumulative grade point average still remains a converted 4.0 scale. See TOPS Bulletin T2000-25 for specific instructions on converting from a 5.0 scale to a 4.0 scale and calculating cumulative grade point average.

Regarding the certification of at least ten(10) Honors Courses, we will count ½ credit in an Honors Course as ½ of an Honors Course counted towards the ten(10) required. As long as the student has a total of ten(10) Honors courses or ten (10) full credits of Honors courses graded on a 5.0 scale, they may be certified as completing ten(10) Honors Courses. Beginning with graduates of 2003, only core curriculum courses will be computed in the TOPS grade point average, therefore, only courses in the core curriculum that are designated as "honors" may be counted toward the required ten (10) honors courses.

Based on this guidance, if a school feels it has certified students in error, they should contact the Public Information and Communication Division at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 1012.

High schools that certify students via the web should continue to check the web site frequently as students will continue to appear to be certified.