Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance to resume parti - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance to resume partial TOPS payments

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The director of the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance announced Friday the agency will partially resume TOPS payments next week. This announcement comes a day after the state's financial aid office placed an immediate suspension on the payments.

Director Sujuan Boutte says LOSFA will resume payments for 80 percent of the TOPS awards and the remaining 20 percent will be the responsibility of the college campuses.

According to Governor John Bel Edwards, only 25 percent of TOPS will be funded, unless the legislature acts to change that. This means fewer TOPS scholarships will be awarded next year.

Gov. Edwards' Statement on TOPS Funding 

As I said last night, students on TOPS this semester will not see cuts. The universities will absorb the TOPS shortfall this year. Students will not receive any bills for this shortfall or lose any TOPS awards this semester.

For this semester, LOSFA has only been able to pay universities 80% of students’ TOPS bills. This is due in part to the previous administration not budgeting properly for all the students who would be using TOPS this year. However, the budget problems created by the previous administration do have the potential to hurt students directly. Next year, as it stands, TOPS is only funded 25 percent, unless the legislature acts to change that. This means fewer TOPS scholarships will be awarded next year. That is why it is so important for the legislature to work with me to balance this budget and prevent future cuts to the TOPS Scholarship Program.

A news release stated:

On Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance suspends TOPS payments to post-secondary institutions out of precaution due to the possibility of budget cuts. Following Governor John Bel Edwards address, LOSFA received clarification that the $28 million cut to the TOPS scholarship fund would be absorbed by each individual college or university.

Therefore, LOSFA will resume its regularly weekly TOPS payment processing next week, on Thursday, Feb. 18. The agency will allow post-secondary institutions to continue billing and LOSFA will pay up to its appropriation. The appropriation to LOSFA, for TOPS awards, is sufficient to pay 80 percent. Colleges and universities will absorb 20 percent.

At this point in time, other programs administered by LOSFA will not be affected.

Students should continue to make sure they are meeting TOPS requirements and completing the FAFSA. The impact to TOPS funding for the 2016-2017 academic school year will be determined by the outcome of the upcoming legislative sessions.

Questions regarding how each post-secondary institution plans to address the shortfall should be directed to the respective college or university.

Copyright WAFB 2016. All rights reserved.

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