Are Louisiana students using their TOPS scholarships wisely? For most of them, yes

Thousands of college-bound students in Louisiana benefit from TOPS, the generous financial aid program that covers tuition at any state public university for Louisiana high school seniors who meet certain academic requirements. But if winners of the aid don’t maintain certain academic levels in college, they risk losing the money. As the price of sustaining it continues to rise, some might wonder whether students are putting TOPS to good use or blowing it once in college. For the vast majority of recipients, the former appears to be true. In the nine-parish Capital Region, 388 of the 3,142 public and private school graduates who received TOPS in 2013—only 12.35%—lost the award within their first year of college. The students lost the scholarship because they either did not take at least 24 hours worth of courses by the end of the academic year or did not enroll full-time each semester, excluding summer. In East Baton Rouge Parish, 1,666 graduates earned TOPS in 2013. About 11%—or 178—of those awards were canceled in the students’ first year of college.

Annie Ourso

 

Percentage of awarded TOPS scholarships lost in first year of college, by Capital Region parish

2013

1) St. Helena: 57.14% (4 of 7)

2) East Feliciana: 23.68% (9 of 38)

3) West Baton Rouge: 20.34% (12 of 59)

4) Iberville: 16.88% (13 of 77)

5) West Feliciana: 16.67% (9 of 54)

6) Livingston: 16.64% (91 of 547)

7) Ascension: 11.45% (71 of 620)

8) East Baton Rouge: 10.68% (178 of 1,666)

9) Pointe Coupee: 1.35% (1 of 74)

TOTAL (nine parishes): 12.35% (388 of 3,142)

 

2012

1) St. Helena: 66.67% (6 of 9)

2) Pointe Coupee: 19.67% (12 of 61)

3) Livingston: 18.87% (87 of 461)

4) Iberville: 18.46% (12 of 65)

5) Ascension: 16.97% (93 of 548)

6) East Baton Rouge: 16.81% (273 of 1,624)

7) West Baton Rouge: 16.% (8 of 50)

8) West Feliciana: 12.77% (6 of 47)

9) East Feliciana: 10.34% (3 of 29)

TOTAL (nine parishes): 17.28% (500 of 2,894)

 

2011

1) St. Helena: 40% (2 of 5)

2) East Feliciana: 26.92% (7 of 26)

3) West Feliciana: 20% (11 of 55)

4) Livingston: 18.88% (98 of 519)

5) Ascension: 16.52% (74 of 448)

6) East Baton Rouge: 13.14% (201 of 1,530)

7) Pointe Coupee: 10.81% (8 of 74)

8) Iberville: 9.8% (5 of 51)

9) West Baton Rouge: 5% (2 of 40)

TOTAL (nine parishes): 14.85% (408 of 2,748)

 

SOURCE: Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance

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