In A Flash

TOPS eligibility could be eased for students affected by Hurricane Ida

By: - March 16, 2022 3:06 pm

The Louisiana Senate Education Committee discussing a bill. (JC Canicosa/Louisiana Illuminator)

A bill to modify eligibility requirements for Louisiana’s free college tuition program advanced from a Louisiana Senate committee Wednesday afternoon. The changes would apply to high school students affected by Hurricane Ida.

Senate Bill 178, authored by Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, would waive certain GPA requirements for the state’s TOPS program and extend deadlines for turning in ACT scores to universities. The bill would also keep students who transferred to out-of-state schools because of Hurricane Ida from losing their scholarship.

The exemptions already apply to high school and college students through a governor’s proclamation in October 2021. Fields’ bill would codify the exceptions should the proclamation expire.

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The “affected parishes” in the bill are Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.

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As of Wednesday, the exemptions would make 24,851 Louisiana students eligible for TOPS who would otherwise not qualify.

The bill moves to the Senate floor for a full vote.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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