STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
|TOPS BULLETIN NUMBER:
|November 7, 2002
Louisiana College and University, Technical College and LAICU Chancellors, Financial Aid Offices, Business Offices, Registrars and Auditors, System Governance, Board of Regents, Louisiana Officials, Louisiana Legislators, and Commission Members
Letter to TOPS Recipients on Conversion to TOPS Grade Point Average
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.
Following is the text of the letter that is being mailed to all TOPS recipients whose school reported cumulative grade point averages were converted by LOSFA to the TOPS Cumulative Grade Point Average on October 18, 2002.
RE: Important Information About the Grade Point Average That Is Used to Determine Whether Your TOPS Award Will Be Continued
This is your official notification that this office, as administrator of the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), is changing the procedure by which your cumulative grade point average is determined for purposes of this program. Your cumulative grade point average is a factor that is evaluated each semester to determine whether your TOPS award will be continued.
Since the inception of TOPS, post-secondary institutions have computed and transmitted to us the cumulative grade point average (GPA) on the TOPS recipients who were enrolled at their respective institution. However, we noted that academic policies relating to transfer credits and repeating of courses differed between institutions, both of which have a direct effect on the result of the calculation of students' grade point averages Because of these policies, the grade point averages of some TOPS recipients have been computed by schools using a standard that is inconsistent with law and rule. This circumstance has resulted in the inequitable treatment of some students, depending upon the school they attended. Therefore, to achieve compliance with state law and to assure equity and consistency in computing a TOPS recipient's cumulative grade point average, this agency has assumed the function of calculating a TOPS GPA, based upon the data to be supplied each semester by all eligible schools. Simply stated, for the purpose of determining whether your TOPS award will be continued, this agency will calculate your cumulative grade point average using the data provided by all schools that you may have attended. It is important for you to realize that, because of this change, you may have a TOPS GPA that does not match the one calculated by the school at which you are currently enrolled. THE TOPS GPA CALCULATED BY THIS AGENCY WILL ONLY BE USED TO DETERMINE YOUR CONTINUED ELIGIBILITY FOR TOPS. It will not change nor replace the grade point average computed and used by your school for purposes of academic standing and graduation.
On October 18, 2002, your cumulative grade point average, as previously reported by your school and reflected on our records, was recomputed to provide a TOPS GPA, using a standard formula applicable to all students. Measures were employed during the conversion to ensure that no student's converted GPA would put his or her TOPS Award in jeopardy. You may review your new TOPS GPA and other relevant information at our website, www.osfa.state.la.us. After logging on to our website, click on "TOPS" on the left side menu, then "Student". Your eligibility information will be displayed there.
Please refer to the "Rights and Responsibilities Statement", which accompanied your original and renewal award letters, for complete information on the requirements you must meet in order for your TOPS award to be continued for the maximum period of eligibility of four years or eight semesters. Some of the pertinent, need-to-know information from that document is excerpted below:
Grade Point Average Requirement: You must maintain the Cumulative Grade Point Average (Cum GPA) for the award you received as determined at the end of each Academic Year. The Cum GPA is computed by LOSFA, based on academic reports received from all schools attended, and could differ from that at the school currently attended.
TOPS TECH AWARD 2.50 TOPS OPPORTUNITY AWARD 2.30 with less than 48 completed hours 2.50 after the completion of 48 hours TOPS PERFORMANCE/HONORS AWARD 3.00
(Less than a 3.00 will result in the loss of stipend and your award will be changed to Opportunity for the period that remains, as long as the minimum Cum GPA for that award is maintained. Once a stipend is lost, it cannot be regained.)
Failure to achieve the Cum GPA required will result in the suspension of your TOPS Award until you have regained academic standing and have achieved the required Cum GPA. Suspended awards will be canceled if the required Cum GPA is not achieved within two years.
Steady Academic Progress: If your Cum GPA falls below a 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) at the end of any semester, term or session, your award will be suspended for failure to maintain Steady Academic Progress. Suspended awards shall be canceled if the required Cum GPA is not achieved within two years. Exceptions may not be granted for failure to meet Grade Point Average Requirement or Steady Academic Progress.
If you have questions about this change and how it will affect you, please contact one of our Public Information and Communication Representatives at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 1012, or locally at 922-1012. We are here to serve you and offer our best wishes for your continued success.
Jack L. Guinn Executive Director