MONEYTALK with Al Suffrin

How beneficial is TOPS college tuition program?

Dear Mr. Suffrin: My son is a high-school sophomore and we are beginning to look into what colleges he would like to attend. That way we can figure out how much his education will cost and also how we are going to pay for it.

So far, Louisiana State University seems like the winner.

But with tuition costing an average of $15,000 per year, my wife and I are concerned that we won’t be able to pay for his education without relying on the Louisiana TOPS program.

How beneficial is this program for students and parents?

And should we stress to him that it is important to apply himself in school to meet the programs eligibility requirements? – Parent in Paradis.

Dear Parent: TOPS is very beneficial to students and their parents in helping pay for attending college in Louisiana.

You should stress to your son to apply himself in school, so he may be eligible for scholarships.

In addition he should apply himself to studying for the ACT because ACT scores impact TOPS.

For 2007 ACT qualifying scores are TOPS-Tech – 17, TOPS Opportunity – 20, TOPS Performance – 23, and TOPS Honors – 27. The total value of TOPS Honors Award for attendance at LSU in Baton Rouge for four years, based on the tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year, would be $16,512.

Students’ questions about finances answered – only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member-elect Al Suffrin, a certified public accountant, takes on the tough questions from parish kids- and their parents – in an important weekly column everyone should read.

Send YOUR questions to: or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA


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