TOPS

Did you know that students who score at least a 17 on the ACT can qualify to receive TOPS at SOWELA?

The Taylor Opportunity Program for Student (TOPS) scholarship is awarded to graduating Louisiana high school seniors who have met certain academic requirements and have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by July 1. The TOPS scholarship will only fund the tuition portion of institutional charges for two (2) academic years. It does not cover the cost of books, supplies, and fees.

TOPS recipients must enroll in an eligible school, as a full time student, within one year after graduation from high school. Completion of 24 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters with a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required to maintain eligibility.

Explore this page for more information on the various TOPS scholarships available to SOWELA students.

TOPS Information for SOWELA Students

TOPS pays for full time tuition but does not cover fees.

Here are just a few reminders to help you stay eligible for your TOPS award:

  • You are allowed up to 2 academic years of TOPS Tech and 4 academic years of TOPS Opportunity. Funding is contingent upon appropriations by the Louisiana Legislature.
  • General Studies and the Louisiana Transfer Degrees are not eligible programs for the TOPS Tech award. CNA, Electrical Construction, and Plumbing Construction programs are not eligible for TOPS.
  • Registered Nursing is an eligible program for TOPS Tech award for students that graduated high school after 2016.
  • Each semester you must enroll full time (12 or more credits) as of the 15th instructional class day (6 or more credits for Summer term) as of the 7th instructional class day.
  • At no time (by the end of each semester) can your cumulative GPA drop below a 2.0. If thSis happens, you will be suspended from TOPS immediately and remain so until you reestablish eligibility by earning a cumulative 2.5 GPA. You will have one year after your TOPS awards is suspended to reestablish your eligibility. Beyond this time frame, your TOPS award will be cancelled. During any period of TOPS suspension, you must continue enrolling full time even though you are self-paying.
  • Each year by the end of the Spring semester you must have a cumulative GPA of a 2.5 or higher and have passed 24 credit hours.
  • If you have a 2.50 cumulative GPA at the end of the Spring semester but do not have the 24 credit hours passed. You can use hours earned in the summer sessions to meet the 24 credit hours per academic year requirement.
  • An incomplete (I) grade makes you ineligible for TOPS until that grade is completed. An assessment will then be done to determine eligibility. This means that if you do not complete the (I) grade at the beginning of the next semester, you will have to pay your tuition and be reimbursed when you regain eligibility.
  • If you are graduating at the end of the semester and require fewer than 12 credits to graduate, you may be eligible for TOPS with fewer than 12 credits. Notify the Financial Aid Office!
  • Questions? Call TOPS at (800) 259-5626, ext. 1012 or visit the SOWELA Financial Aid Office.
  • A student must attend a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Approved High School. All Louisiana public schools are approved.
  • A student must have a minimum TOPS Core Curriculum GPA of 2.50 (GPA computed on TOPS Core Curriculum courses only).
  • A student must complete the 21 TOPS Tech Jumpstart Core Curriculum units. A student may also qualify for the TOPS Tech Award by completing the 19 units that comprise the TOPS Core Curriculum for the Opportunity, Performance, and Honors awards.
  • A student must earn a minimum ACT score of 17 or the Silver level score on the ACT WorkKeys. TOPS does not accept an ACT Superscore.
  • A student must enroll full-time as a first-time freshman by the first semester following the first anniversary of high school graduation.
  • A student must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • A student must meet TOPS Louisiana Residency requirements (Definition can be found at www.osfa.la.gov).
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)(https://studentaid.gov/ (opens new window))
  • You are allowed up to 2 academic years of TOPS Tech. Funding is contingent upon appropriations by the Louisiana Legislature.
  • To view programs offered at SOWELA, visit our Programs page. General Studies, Louisiana Transfer Degrees, Electrical Construction, and Plumbing Construction are not eligible programs for the TOPS Tech award.
  • Visit our Enrollment page to view information on Enrolling from Start to Finish at SOWELA.
  • Each semester you must enroll full time (12 or more credits) as of the 15th instructional class day (6 or more credits for Summer term) as of the 7th instructional class day.
  • At no time (by the end of each semester) can your cumulative GPA drop below a 2.0. If this happens you will be suspended from TOPS immediately and remain so until you reestablish eligibility by earning a cumulative 2.5 GPA. You will have one year after your TOPS awards is suspended to reestablish your eligibility, beyond this time frame, your TOPS award will be cancelled. During any period of TOPS suspension, you must continue enrolling full time even though you are self-paying.
  • Each year by the end of the Spring semester you must have a cumulative GPA of a 2.5 or higher and have passed 24 credit hours.
  • If you have a 2.50 cumulative GPA at the end of the Spring semester but do not have the 24 credit hours passed. You can use hours earned in the summer sessions to meet the 24 credit hours per academic year requirement.
  • An incomplete (I) grade makes you ineligible for TOPS until that grade is completed. An assessment will then be done to determine eligibility. This means if you do not complete the (I) grade at the beginning of the next semester you will have to pay your tuition and be reimbursed when you regain eligibility.
  • If you are graduating at the end of the semester and require fewer than 12 credits to graduate, you may be eligible for TOPS with fewer than 12 credits. NOTIFY THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE.
  • Questions? Call TOPS at 1-800-259-5626, ext. 1012 or visit the SOWELA Financial Aid Office.

TOPS pays for full time tuition but does not cover fees.

Here are just a few reminders to help you stay eligible for your TOPS award:

  • You are eligible to receive up to 4 academic years for the TOPS Performance and Honors Award. Funding is contingent upon appropriations by the Louisiana Legislature.
  • CNA, Electrical Construction, and Plumbing Construction are not eligible for TOPS.
  • Each semester you must enroll full time (12 or more credits) as of the 15th instructional class day or (6 or more credits for the Summer semester) as of the 7th instructional class day.
  • At no time, at the end of any semester, can your cumulative GPA drop below a 2.0. If this happens you will be suspended from TOPS immediately and remain so until you reestablish eligibility (cumulative GPA of 2.5). You will have one year after your TOPS awards is suspended to reestablish your eligibility, beyond this time frame, your TOPS award will be cancelled. Your TOPS award will be reinstated as an Opportunity award.
  • At the end of each Spring semester, you must have a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better to maintain your TOPS Performance or Honors award. If your GPA is below this requirement your TOPS award will be suspended and you can regain eligibility at a TOPS Opportunity level once you attain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better.
  • At the end of each Spring semester, you must have successfully earned 24 credit hours for the Fall and Spring semesters combined. You can use hours earned in the summer sessions to meet the 24 credit hours per academic year requirement.
  • An incomplete (I) grade, deems a student ineligible for TOPS until the class is completed and a grade is given. An assessment will then be done to determine eligibility. This means if you do not complete the (I) grade at the beginning of the next semester you will have to pay your tuition and be reimbursed when you regain eligibility.
  • If you are graduating at the end of the semester and require fewer than 12 credits to graduate, you may be eligible for TOPS with fewer than 12 credits. Notify the Financial Aid Office!
  • Questions? Call TOPS at (800) 259-5626, ext. 1012 or visit the SOWELA Financial Aid Office.

TOPS Information Provided by LOFSA

This information has been provided by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOFSA).

  1. Make sure that your name is the same on all documents (school records, ACT test registrations, FAFSA, college applications, etc.). Pick a name and stick with it. Spelling, spacing, punctuation and abbreviation matter!
  2. Include the ACT TOPS code of 1595 and/or the SAT TOPS code of 9019 on all ACT/SAT test registrations.
  3. List the same date of birth and home street address on all forms, documents, applications, etc.
  4. If you are a public school student, make certain that TOPS has a consent form signed by a parent allowing LOSFA to access your grade data.
  5. Make sure that you are taking the correct required 19 units that comprise the TOPS Core Curriculum.
  6. Be aware that your TOPS eligibility is based on your TOPS Core GPA, not your overall cumulative GPA and that TOPS does not round GPA’s.
  7. Make sure that your FAFSA application is signed by both the student and a parent before submission and that the Email address on your FAFSA is the address to which you want your TOPS eligibility or ineligibility notices sent.
  8. Make certain that your Social Security number is the same on both your high school transcript and the FAFSA.
  9. Create a Louisiana Award System account after May 1 of your senior year to track initial TOPS eligibility and your continuation eligibility throughout your postsecondary education.
  10. If you take a dual enrollment class using TOPS Tech Early Start, the name you use to register for the course is the name your Louisiana Award System account will be created under. Also, grades earned in dual enrollment courses for college credit become part of your cumulative college GPA.

3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
(800) 256-0483
info@sowela.edu

Mon-Thu: 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM
Friday: 7:45 AM to 12:00 PM
(337) 421-6550

SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person(s) have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:

Title IX Officer

Candy Parker

candy.parker@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6510 or (800) 256-0483

3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

ADA Officer

Maegan Lewis

maegan.lewis@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6952 or (800) 256-0483

3850 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

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