Off to college? Start now for financial aid

Staff Report
May 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance announced today that processing of new applicants for Tuition Opportunity Program for Students scholarship awards for the 2007-2008 academic year has begun.

New applicants are processed when their ACT scores, high school transcript from the Louisiana Department of Education and the application data are received by LOSFA.

ďIt is extremely important that first time applicants understand that, in order to receive TOPS funding for the 2007-2008 academic year, their applications must be received by July 2, 2007,Ē said Melanie Amrhein, interim executive director of LOSFA. ďStudents whose applications are received after July 2, 2007, will not be eligible for funding until the 2008-2009 academic year,Ē she added.

There are two methods of initially applying for TOPS. One is by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the all-in-one application for both the state TOPS program and most federal aid programs including Pell Grants, the Federal Work Study Program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). The second means of applying (for TOPS only) is by completing the TOPS Online Application at

State law requires that any student who is eligible for federal grant aid MUST file the FAFSA application for TOPS. Students who can demonstrate that they are not eligible for federal grant aid may file the FAFSA or the TOPS Online Application. However, state law further states that if there is a budget shortfall, those students who did not file using the FAFSA will be the first eliminated.

Processing of existing TOPS recipient renewal applications is also underway. Continuing students seeking renewal of their TOPS awards are reviewed upon receipt of college hours and grades earned from the institution most recently attended. Continuing TOPS recipients are also encouraged to submit their Renewal FAFSA by July 2, 2007, to ensure funding in the event there is a budgetary shortfall.

The FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA can be completed on the Internet at

As in the past, LOSFA will conduct TOPS eligibility processing on Thursday of each week. Master rosters of eligible students will be transferred to eligible post secondary institutions each Monday.

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