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Extension of the Deadline for Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the Purpose of Renewing a TOPS Award

Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
August 4, 1999
As Indicated
DISTRIBUTION: Louisiana Legislators, Louisiana High Schools, Louisiana Colleges and Universities, Louisiana Technical Colleges, Board of Regents, Department of Education and Louisiana Officials
TOPIC: Extension of the Deadline for Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the Purpose of Renewing a TOPS 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.

Louisiana Revised Statutes, 17:3048.1.J., require a student to apply for federal grants prior to receiving a TOPS award unless the student can demonstrate that he does not qualify for federal grant aid.

Rules of the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission (specifically, Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 28, Part IV, Chapter 1, Sections 501 and 503), require all new applicants and all continuing recipients of awards from Louisiana’s scholarship and grant programs to annually apply for state and federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by a specified deadline. This annual filing requirement is stated in the award letter received by each recipient of a TOPS award.

Students who satisfactorily demonstrate to this agency that family income will preclude them from receiving federal grant aid must still file the FAFSA annually but may omit those sections of the form which require the disclosure of personal or parental income and assets. Students who demonstrate their ineligibility for federal grant aid and do not disclose income on the FAFSA shall be the first to have their TOPS awards terminated during any year in which the total cost of program awards exceed appropriations.

Most students who file their FAFSA by the state deadline, currently July 1 of each year, will automatically receive a renewal form in the mail the following year. The renewal FAFSA, mailed directly to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, will reflect the responses filed the previous year and students need only update those responses which have changed. The update may be performed on-line through the world wide web at or by mailing the updated form to the address disclosed thereon.

In recognition that this is the first time that TOPS recipients have had to file the FAFSA as a condition for renewal of their awards and to preclude any otherwise eligible applicant from having their award suspended for the coming academic year, the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission adopted emergency rule at its meeting of August 4,1999, which extended the deadline for filing the FAFSA for the purpose of renewing a TOPS award until September 15, 1999. Students who seek renewal of their TOPS awards for academic year 1999-2000 and who failed to file the FAFSA by the original July 1st deadline, should immediately file the FAFSA. Students who have already filed the FAFSA for academic year 1999-2000, even though it may have been received after the July 1st deadline, should not file again. Those students whose TOPS awards will be suspended in the coming academic year because they have been placed on academic probation by the school they attend or because their cumulative grade point average fell below that required by the end of the academic year, must also file the FAFSA by the extended deadline of September 15, 1999. By doing so, suspended awards may be reinstated at the close of any semester in which the student has regained academic good standing or the required cumulative grade point average.

Effective the date of this bulletin, this agency will forward individual notices to all students whose records show them to be eligible for continuation of their award into academic year 1999-2000, but whose renewal FAFSA has not been received as of this date. Beginning in the early spring of next year, all award recipients will receive a reminder of the requirement to file the FAFSA as a condition of the renewal of their awards. Schools are requested to remind their enrolled TOPS recipients of this annual requirement and assist them in filing the renewal form during each spring semester.

The deadline for first-time applicants has not been extended. Applications received after July 1st from students who are applying for a TOPS award for the first time are not being considered unless the applicant makes a written appeal and presents credible evidence of extenuating circumstances which were beyond his control and which prevented him from meeting the deadline.