Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Bulletin
DATE ISSUED: January 24, 2003

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


Determination of High School Grade Point Average on TOPS Core Curriculum

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.

Beginning with the graduates of 2003, the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) used to determine eligibility for a TOPS award will be calculated using only the grades earned on the 16.5 units in the TOPS core curriculum. The Louisiana Department of Education (DOE), in conjunction with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), is creating programming that will enable the school districts, along with charter schools, laboratory schools and non-public schools, to transmit student data used for determining TOPS eligibility directly to DOE for retrieval by LOSFA. This program will use the best combination of required coursework to compute the highest GPA possible. DOE is communicating directly with the school districts, laboratory schools, and charter schools on file formats that will be required to transmit the data. The required file format, with descriptions and instructions, will be mailed to non-public schools by LOSFA by the end of January. All schools will be required to submit student data electronically. The school districts will be responsible for submitting student data in the required format for students enrolled in public schools under their jurisdiction. Charter schools, laboratory schools and non-public schools will submit their student data files directly to DOE. Schools that cannot submit files in batch must submit the data using the alternative, on-line, key-entry screen provided by DOE.

In order for schools' data to be accepted, standard ASR course codes, which have been assigned by the DOE, must be used to identify each course. It is critical that the appropriate course codes be used when reporting the courses that students have attempted. Because the course code listing is too voluminous to print, it is being e-mailed to non-public schools or, if no e-mail address is available, a diskette will be created and mailed to the school. Public schools that need access to the course codes may contact their district office or the DOE. Course codes will be forwarded to non-public schools by LOSFA before the end of January.

Schools must certify data that is transmitted to the DOE and used to determine a student's eligibility for TOPS. Rules regarding certification requirements will be forthcoming in another bulletin.

For more information on policies affecting the calculation of the TOPS GPA that go into effect this year, please refer to materials made available to you from the 2002 Fall Guidance Counselor Workshops sponsored by our office. You may also contact one of our Public Information and Communication Representatives at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 1012, to have a copy of these materials mailed to you.