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Scholarships

TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) Scholarship

Questions & Answers

The ULM Scholarship Office is located in Sandel Hall, Suite 102.

TOPS requirements are different from the Academic Scholarships awarded by ULM.

- The TOPS website is www.osfa.la.gov and their official email is custserv@la.gov

- For students who are requesting an exception to the hour requirement, or those who are returning from an out-of-state college, please see this website (www.osfa.la.gov/forms).

It is the student’s responsibility to meet all of the TOPS requirements (hours and GPA). All appeals (exceptions) are submitted directly to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA).

 


 

Incoming Freshman Information

GPA Requirements and Questions

Hour Requirements and Questions

Transfer Specific Questions

Other Common Questions

 


 

 

Incoming Freshman Information

If I graduate early from high school (in less than 4 full years), will I still be eligible for TOPS?

If you graduate early (whether in September or at mid-year), you cannot be determined eligible for a TOPS award until your high school submits grades at the end of the school year. If you enroll in the spring semester immediately following graduation and are determined eligible for a TOPS award, you will receive a retroactive payment for that spring semester.

If you graduate early in the spring (graduate in three years) and meet TOPS eligibility requirements, you may be awarded for the fall semester following graduation.

You must make sure you have completed the TOPS Core Curriculum prior to graduation. You will not be allowed to complete TOPS Core Curriculum courses after high school graduation to qualify for a TOPS award.

If you graduate early, you must comply with the application and ACT deadlines applicable to the class that graduates in the spring of that high school academic year. If you graduate early in December or graduate early in May, you must follow the same application procedures and meet the same deadlines as students who graduate on time in May/June.

If you complete the twelfth grade level of a home study program before the start of the next spring semester or early in the spring, you have the same options as a student who graduates early from high school.

Do you have to fill out a FAFSA every year to receive TOPS?

All high school graduates are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the year he/she graduates from a public high school in the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) requires all student to complete a FAFSA by July, one year from his/her graduation date. You can apply at (www.fafsa.gov) or www.studentaid.gov.

The FAFSA form will serve as a student’s TOPS application and it is highly recommended by LOSFA and ULM’s Financial Aid Office.

Please refer to ULM Financial Aid’s web page for more information on federal aid and FAFSA (www.ulm.edu/financialaid/).

How will high school dual enrollment hours affect my TOPS eligibility?

Collegiate and Dual Enrollment hours will affect a student’s high school and college GPA. For initial eligibility, a student must earn a TOPS, cumulative high school GPA (based upon the 19 core units) of 2.50 to be eligible for the TOPS Opportunity Award and 3.00 to be eligible for the TOPS Performance or Honors Stipends.

The collegiate and dual enrollment grades will also affect a student’s cumulative college GPA, as those grades are required to be reported to LOSFA. It can either boost a student’s cumulative GPA, or it can negatively impact his/her TOPS eligibility.

Dual Enrollment hours will not count towards a student’s 24 hour per year requirement.

How can I stay up-to-date on my TOPS eligibility and progress?

We encourage students to create a student account on the LOSFA website (www.osfa.la.gov/studenthub). This will help students monitor his/her academic progress, TOPS eligibility, or possible changes to TOPS funding.

The ULM Scholarship Office acts as an intermediary between LOSFA and students, but all appeals, requests for exceptions, and final decisions will be granted through LOSFA directly.

Can I wait a year to begin college after I graduate high school?

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance allows graduating seniors a maximum of one year to enroll full time in a college/university. A student must complete his/her FAFSA by the required time listed on LOSFA’s website (www.osfa.la.gov) or his/her award will be cancelled/reduced.

How does the National Guard Tuition Exemption affect my TOPS Eligibility?

As per the Louisiana Revised Statute 17:5002, Student who receive the National Guard Tuition Exemption Waiver will be awarded the National Guard Level of the TOPS awards. 

For more information, you can visit the ULM Scholarships website (www.ulm.edu/scholarships/ulm-tops-nat-guard.html). This link provides eligibility, renewal, and award amount information for Louisiana National Guard students.

Does ULM accept the TOPS Tech Award?

ULM does accept the TOPS Tech award for eligible students who are enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, or who are enrolled as a pre-OTA major.

For more information on the TOPS Tech Award, please refer to your award letter or the LOSFA website (www.osfa.la.gov)

 

GPA Requirements and Questions

What GPA is used for TOPS?

The TOPS GPA calculated by LOSFA will be used to determine eligibility for TOPS. LOSFA calculates all reported college credit when determining a student’s TOPS renewal. You may review your TOPS GPA and additional information at (www.osfa.la.gov/studenthub).

If you have college credit that has not been uploaded, please contact the TOPS coordinator at the university you attended (This individual is typically in the Financial Aid Office).

What GPA is required to maintain TOPS?

For Fall & Winter-sessions:

ALL TOPS Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least a 2.00 at the end of each of these terms.

For Spring semester, Maymester, Summer Session:

Students with TOPS Performance or TOPS Honors Award are required to maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA at the end of every Academic Year. Students who drop below the 3.00 have until the end of Summer to achieve a 3.00, or their award will be downgraded to the TOPS Opportunity award.

TOPS Opportunity students with less than 48 credit hours must earn at least a 2.30 cumulative GPA, while those with 48 or more credit hours is required to have a 2.50 cumulative or higher GPA. Students with TOPS Honors or Performance Awards are required to maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA.

Is GPA checked every semester?

The GPA is checked at the end of all academic terms: fall, spring, intersession, and the second summer session. The Scholarship Office uploads grades to LOSFA’s system after each of the terms.

Hours and GPA are checked at the end of the spring semester. Hours will be checked on all students at the end of summer who failed to meet the 24 hour rule at the end of the spring semester.

If you are using the summer session to meet the GPA or hour requirements, please have in mind that this may delay the posting of your TOPS for the next academic year. LOSFA must fully process your grades before your eligibility can be updated, and this cannot occur until the second summer session has been finalized.

 

Hour Requirements and Questions

Do you have to be a full-time student in order to receive TOPS?

In order to receive TOPS, students are required to be enrolled full-time (12 or more hours) following the 14th day of classes each semester. If a student is not in full-time status following the 14th day, TOPS will be cancelled.

Exceptions are provided for students who are graduating at the end of the specific semester. A ULM TOPS Graduating Form signed by your dean/advisor must be submitted to the Scholarship Office (Sandel Hall, Suite 102).

If you are not a graduating senior and wish to apply for an exception to this rule, please visit the LOSFA website and choose the “Request for Exception” form. This file will provide

information on approved exceptions, how one can apply for an exception, and the time frame one can expect to hear a reply.

What terms and sessions count toward the TOPS 24 hour rule?

Students are required to earn 24 hours during the academic year. Students are required to be enrolled full-time for the Fall/Spring Semester (12 or more hours) following the 14th day of classes to receive TOPS. If a student drops below 12 hours the 14th class day, his/her TOPS will be cancelled from their BANNER account. Students are able to take summer and intersession terms to meet the TOPS renewal requirements.

Dual Enrollment credit hours do not count towards the 24 hour rule. If a student earns an F or W for a course, he/she will not receive credit hours for this specific course. A grade of a D or above is required to receive TOPS credit.

Can a student drop below 12 credit hours?

TOPS recipients are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours following the 14th class day each semester (Fall and Spring semesters). If enrolled full time following the 14th class day, a student can drop below the 12 hours, but will still be required to earn 24 hours for the academic year.

Withdrawing completely will negatively impact a student’s TOPS renewal. If you are thinking about dropping out, ULM recommends making an appointment with the ULM Scholarships Office prior to taking this action.

Will taking Summer courses affect my TOPS eligibility and payments?

Students who are taking Summer courses, in hopes of completing the 24 hour requirement, may experience a delay in TOPS being posted to their BANNER account for the subsequent Fall Semester. This delay may occur as a result of LOSFA’s processing capabilities.

Students who have not met LOSFA’s requirements prior to the end of the Spring semester, are not allowed to use TOPS funds for summer courses. Please refer to the final section the FAQ for more information.

 

Transfer Specific Questions

I received TOPS (Opportunity, Performance, Honors) at my other college, why is it not posted on my fee bill?

Transfer students must notify the ULM Scholarships Office if they are TOPS eligible, so their TOPS eligibility can be evaluated. Please provide the Scholarships Office with your name, Campus Wide ID Number, and birthdate when you contact them.

I received TOPS Tech at my other college, why is it not posted on my fee bill?

ULM does accept the TOPS Tech award for eligible students who are enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, or who are enrolled as a pre-OTA major.

For more information on the TOPS Tech Award, please refer to your award letter or the LOSFA website (www.osfa.la.gov).

Transfer students must notify the ULM Scholarships Office if they are TOPS eligible, so their TOPS eligibility can be evaluated. Please provide the Scholarships Office with your name, Campus Wide ID Number, and birthdate when you contact them.

I am transferring from an Out-of-State College, can I regain my TOPS?

LOSFA (TOPS) allows students 120 days after beginning in an in-state institution to submit an application to return from an Out-of-State College (OOS). These forms are directly submitted to LOSFA by the methods listed on the document. We ask that you also notify the ULM Scholarships Office if you are transferring from an out-of-state institution. For access to the form, you can visit LOSFA’s website (www.osfa.la.gov/forms).

 

Other Common Questions

How would a student lose TOPS?

Students will lose their TOPS, if they do not earn 24 credit hours during the academic year and maintain the required GPA. (See GPA Questions for a breakdown of the GPA requirements.)

If a student does not earn 24 credit hours, he/she may apply for an exception by following the instructions on LOSFA’s website (www.osfa.la.gov/forms).

If a Student’s TOPS award is suspended for failure to maintain an eligible TOPS GPA, they will have up to 24 months to improve their GPA from the date he/she lost their TOPS award. Students must remain in school full-time while trying to improve their GPA. Students must notify the ULM Scholarship Department if his/her TOPS has been reinstated, otherwise it may not be uploaded to BANNER.

What happens if a student misses a semester?

Students are required to be enrolled full-time in continuous semesters. Students who are not enrolled for a semester will lose their TOPS.

A student may complete an appeal form to request an exception to the continuous or full-time enrollment requirement. The request for an exception form must be sent directly to the TOPS office (LOSFA – Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance). This form should be completed before the student plans on missing a semester. The form can be located on the following website: www.osfa.la.gov/forms.

Will TOPS pay for a summer session/term?

Summer payments are contingent upon legislative appropriation.

In order to use TOPS funds for Summer tuition, a student must be enrolled full time. ULM’s full-time status for the Summer semester is 6 credit hours of enrollment. Please note that these 6 hours may be divided among either of the summer sessions. If a student chooses to drop below 6 hours of enrollment before the 5th class date, the TOPS funds will be cancelled.

Students can receive TOPS for a maximum of 8 semesters, and a summer payment will count as one of the 8 semesters.

Students who are taking Summer courses, in hopes of completing the 24 hour requirement or the GPA requirement, can be eligible to use the TOPS funds for summer courses at ULM, if he/she meets the minimum requirements established by LOSFA. (www.osfa.la.gov/forms)

My Request for Exception was granted, but why has TOPS not been posted to Banner?

LOSFA (TOPS) does not directly notify ULM when a student’s request has been approved. It is the responsibility of students to notify the ULM Scholarships Office when an appeal has been granted.

How does the National Guard Tuition Exemption affect my TOPS Eligibility?

As per the Louisiana Revised Statute 17:5002, Student who receive the National Guard Tuition Exemption Waiver will be awarded the National Guard Level of the TOPS awards. Please review the National Guard information on the ULM Scholarships web site (https://www.ulm.edu/scholarships/ulm-tops-nat-guard.html).

Does ULM accept the TOPS Tech Award?

ULM does accept the TOPS Tech award for eligible students who are enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, or who are enrolled as a pre-OTA major.

For more information on the TOPS Tech Award, please refer to your award letter or the LOSFA website (www.osfa.la.gov).

Questions not answered?

Please contact the ULM Scholarship Office at 1-318-342-5321 or email (scholarships@ulm.edu). More detailed information can be found on the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance TOPS website (www.osfa.la.gov). You may also contact them by email at (custserv@la.gov).

 

 


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