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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. The TOPS phone numbers are 1-225-219-1012 or 1-800-259-5626.

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

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

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

The first year, a student must complete a FAFSA. After the first year, a FAFSA is not required, but recommended. If the funding becomes limited, the students who filed a FAFSA will be awarded first.

Please refer to Financial Aid’s FAQ for an explanation of FAFSA.

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. Those hours factor into a college student’s cumulative GPA, and can either boost a student’s cumulative GPA or 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). 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. Please review the National Guard information on the ULM Scholarships website (https://www.ulm.edu/scholarships/nat-guard.html).

 

GPA Requirements and Questions

What GPA is required to maintain TOPS?

For Fall & Winter-sessions:

ALL TOPS Students with are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 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 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of every Academic Year. Student who drop below the 3.0 have until the end of Summer to achieve a 3.0, 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 2.3 cumulative GPA, while those with 48 or more credit hours is required to have a 2.5 cumulative or higher GPA. Students with TOPS Honors or Performance Awards are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

What GPA is used for TOPS?

The TOPS GPA calculated by LOSFA will be used to determine eligibility for TOPS. You may review your TOPS GPA and additional information at www.osfa.la.gov. After logging on to the website, click on TOPS portal on the left side of the menu, then Student Logon.

Is GPA checked every semester?

The GPA is checked at the end of every semester/session (fall, spring, intersession, and the summer session). The Scholarship Office uploads grades after each semester/session to LOSFA’s system.

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.

 

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) by the 14th day of classes each semester. If a student is not in full-time status by 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) by the 14th day of classes to receive TOPS. If a student drops below 12 hours before 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 by the 14th class day each semester (Fall and Spring semesters). After the 14th class day, a student can drop below the 12 hours, but will be required to earn the 24 hours for the year.

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. This delay may occur as a result of LOSFA’s processing capabilities.

 

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 is unable to accept the TOPS Tech scholarships, so the funds cannot be applied to your ULM fee bill. We apologize, but this is a policy dictated by LOSFA (Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance).

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

LOSFA (TOPS) allows students 120 days after beginning in an instate 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 OOS.

 

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 or does not meet the required GPA, he/she may apply for an exception by following the instructions on LOSFA’s website.

Students have up to two years 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 in a semester will lose their TOPS.

A student may complete an appeal form to request for 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.

Will TOPS pay for a summer session/term?

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) determines each academic year if students can utilize eligible TOPS funds for summer sessions.

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 terms. If a student chooses to drop below 6 hours of enrollment before the 5th class date, the TOPS funds will be cancelled.

It will also count towards a student’s eligible semesters. Students can receive TOPS for 8 semester, so this will subtract one semester from his/her total semesters of eligibility.

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. This delay may occur as a result of LOSFA’s processing capabilities.

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/nat-guard.html).

 

Questions not answered?

Please contact the ULM Scholarship Office at 1-318-342-3028 or email scholarships@ulm.edu. More detailed information can be found on the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance TOPS website or call 1-225-219-1012 or 1-800-259-5626. 

 

 


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