Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: March 26, 2002

College and University, Technical College, and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, and Auditors, System Governance, Board of Regents, Louisiana Legislators, and Commission Members


Scholarship/Grant funds disbursed via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

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.

We have received information that the Office of Statewide Reporting and Accounting Policy (OSRAP) has notified all ISIS agencies regarding the ability to receive all payments from the state via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Once an agency decides to receive EFT, it would apply to all payments received from the state, including those from our office, i.e., TOPS, START and LEAP funds. The information regarding EFT was presented in a bulletin distributed by OSRAP to all active vendors (see attached OSRAP bulletin). Please consult with your business office regarding your institution=s plans to implement EFT.

To prepare our office to track these payments and to assist your office in establishing better audit trails for all funds, we have added an automated, 12 character invoice number (IV#) to all TOPS Transactions File records. This TOPS Invoice Number has been implemented for all payments whether sent by EFT or check. The following is a description of the characters used to determine the Invoice Number:

Institutions receiving funds via EFT will be notified each Friday via e-mail of the IV# and total amount transmitted on that invoice for all accepted Payment Requests submitted that week. If requests for separate academic years are received, separate e-mail messages will be sent. Duplicate e-mails will be forwarded to both the person designated to receive notice of the funds (normally, the Bursar or Comptroller) and to the Financial Aid Administrator.

Institutional Payment Rosters and Billing Error Reports can be accessed through the TOPS Portal. These rosters, which are updated each Friday, will now include the Invoice Number as an option for selection of TOPS Payment Roster for retrieval, sorting and downloading. Paper rosters for schools using EFT will be discontinued.

There is no change in the present TOPS institution billing procedures. Institutions will continue to submit Institutional Payment Requests through their current procedures.

LOSFA will not utilize EFT to withdraw refunds from institutional accounts, therefore, institutions should continue to forward TOPS refunds by institutional check with documentation indicating student, term, amount and reason for refund.

Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership, Rockefeller State Wildlife Scholarship and TOPS-Teacher Renewals will utilize Invoice Numbers that begin LEAP, ROCK and TEAC, respectively, with additional digits indicating sequential Check Request Number and Fiscal Year (ex: ROCK022002).

Assignment of Invoice Numbers is the responsibility of LOSFA and information concerning the coding of such numbers is supplied to institutions solely to aid in audit trail formation.

Institutions choosing to use EFT for state disbursements must apply to OSRAP. If your institution chooses to receive payments through EFT, and has applied to OSRAP, please have your Business Office notify our office at least two weeks prior to the effective date of the change. In this notification, please include the expected effective date of the change and the e-mail address of the Business Office Official to be notified as disbursements are sent.

Questions concerning the OSRAP bulletin and/or the EFT Enrollment Form must be directed to the OSRAP Help Desk, at (225) 342-1097.

The notification of your school's participation, as well as any questions concerning LOSFA invoice procedures, may be addressed to John Bell, Awards and Renewal Manager, Scholarship/Grant Division, LOSFA, P.O. Box 91202, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-9202. Questions may also be forwarded to jbell@osfa.state.la.us.