Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: October 4, 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


New Required File Format for Submitting Postsecondary Academic Information

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

TOPS Bulletin T2002-13 dated August 26, 2002 made special reference to schools that offer intersession courses between a fall and spring semester. Our initial guidance was to allow these hours to be counted towards the 24 hours per academic year requirement for student continuation on TOPS. On September 16, 2002, we sponsored an in-service information and training meeting with post-secondary institutions. Based on feedback received at this meeting, the decision has been made to retain the current policy of NOT ALLOWING INTERSESSION HOURS TO COUNT TOWARDS A STUDENT'S 24 HOUR REQUIREMENT, regardless of when the intersession is held.

To allow LOSFA to determine intersession hours in the new TPYAI01 file format, do not follow instructions given in TOPS Bulletin T2002-13 on combining intersession hours with Spring or Summer Semesters. Report intersession hours SEPARATE from other terms or semesters as follows: For reporting purposes, intersessions will be designated with an "I", followed by the 4 digit academic year.

Intersession between Fall Semester and Spring Semester 1I----
Intersession between Spring Quarter/Semester and Summer Term/Semester 2I----
Intersession between Summer Semester/Term and Fall Quarter/Semester 3I----
Intersession between Fall Quarter and Winter Quarter 4I----
Intersession between Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter 5I----

Example: Intersession between the 2002 Fall Semester (1S2003), and the 2003 Spring Semester (2S2003) would be submitted as 1I2003, and an intersession that falls between 2003 Summer Semester (3S2003) and the 2003 Fall Semester (1S2004) would be submitted as 3I2003.

We understand that the intersessions described above may not occur at all institutions, but wish to program accordingly in the event they are added at a later date.

Because the intersession hours will now be submitted as a separate term, we will apply the rules for steady academic progress (2.0 minimum cumulative grade point average) consistently at the end of each term, semester, or intersession for which academic information is submitted. This means that as a new cumulative grade point average is determined with each submission, the student will be evaluated for suspension (cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0), or reinstatement (cumulative grade point average of 2.3/2.5, as appropriate). Please refer to TOPS Bulletin T2000-30 for a review of determining satisfactory academic progress.

Continuation requirements of maintaining a 2.3/2.5/3.0 cumulative grade point average and the requirement to earn 24 credit hours each academic year will continue to be checked once annually, at the end of the spring semester or quarter.


Neither intersession hours nor correspondence courses may be used to fulfill the students' requirement of registering full-time, and remaining such until after the fourteenth class day. Correspondence courses that are recorded and credited within a regular term or semester (fall/spring or fall/winter/spring) can be used to count towards the annual academic requirement of earning 24 credit hours.

Schools are not to submit historical or cumulative information on students. Schools are required, BEGINNING WITH 1S2003, to send SEMESTER/TERM academic information data as described in TOPS Bulletin T2003-13 for all undergraduate students currently enrolled in that term, who have high school graduation dates after 1996. This is to avoid amassing information on students who were never eligible for TOPS.

Postsecondary institutions that are members of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (LAICU) are not required to submit academic information on non-Louisiana Residents.

Institutions that issue grades of "U" should not report these. Grades of "U" are neither earned nor attempted and cannot be used to determine a grade point average.

Test files for TPYAI01 may be submitted after October 21, 2002. To request instructions for submission of test data, please e-mail Vicki Anderson (vanderson@osfa.state.la.us), AND Jason Whitworth (jwhitworth@osfa.state.la.us), prior to the submission for specific instructions. Vicki may also be reached at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 7779, and Jason at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 7778.

For additional information regarding submission of academic information, please contact John Bell at jbell@osfa.state.la.us.