BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) recently announced a major addition to the Louisiana Connect college access and career planning Web portal (www.louisianaconnect.org) with the launch of the new TOPS Progress Tracker tool.
“The TOPS Progress Tracker will provide students and their parents with an ongoing opportunity to review student progression toward meeting the requirements necessary to qualify for a Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship award using their actual academic information,” said LOSFA Executive Director Melanie Amrhein.
“This is a tool that LOSFA has dreamed of for many years and the Louisiana Connect portal is making it a reality. It will ensure that all students have equal access to critical information regarding their future eligibility for a TOPS award and to plan accordingly. For example, if discrepancies are detected that are not explained in the footnotes on the TOPS Progress Tracker display, students and/or parents can quickly notify the appropriate officials and, if warranted, corrections can be made promptly to avoid potential delays in TOPS eligibility processing,” she added.
The TOPS Progress Tracker will display the student’s progress toward completing the required TOPS Core Curriculum courses. As required TOPS Core curriculum courses are successfully completed, they will be added to the TOPS Progress Tracker listing and the number of remaining core units needed for TOPS qualification will be updated.
The TOPS Progress Tracker will display the student’s highest ACT score (or SAT equivalent score) on record. Students may take the ACT or SAT multiple times, but must obtain a qualifying score on a national or recognized test taken prior to high school graduation.
ACT score (along with TOPS Core course completion and GPA) determines what level of TOPS award the student can receive. Composite ACT scores of 16 or less will not qualify for any TOPS award. Scores of 17-19 put the student on track for a TOPS Tech award (which can only be used for a vocational/technical, non-academic program of study).
Scores of 20-22 put the student on track to qualify for a TOPS Opportunity award which pays a base tuition amount at an eligible postsecondary institution. Scores of 23-26 put the student on track to earn a TOPS Performance award which pays an amount equal to the TOPS Opportunity Award plus a $400.00 annual stipend.
An ACT composite score of 27 or higher puts the student on track to earn a TOPS Honors award which pays an amount equal to the TOPS Opportunity Award plus an $800.00 annual stipend.
The TOPS Progress Tracker will display the student’s current TOPS Core GPA. Many parents and students don’t realize that the cumulative high school Grade Point Average (GPA) displayed on their transcript after graduation and their periodic “report cards” prior to graduation is not the GPA used to determine TOPS eligibility.
TOPS eligibility is determined by the GPA earned for the required TOPS Core Curriculum courses only. In addition, the TOPS Progress Tracker will convert the TOPS Core GPA displayed to a 4.0 grading scale (all qualifying TOPS GPA’s must be converted to a 4.0 scale if any other scale is used by the school attended) in order to determine TOPS eligibility.
The TOPS Progress Tracker will display the TOPS award that the student is currently on track to receive.
The Louisiana Connect college access and career planning portal (www.louisianaconnect.org), developed in partnership with ConnectEDU, provides a plethora of tools and resources to help students plan for life after high school, find colleges where they can be successful, and launch rewarding careers.
Posted on Fri, November 30, 2012