Title 17. Education

Chapter 20-G. Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students

 

17:3048.5      TOPS-Tech Early Start Award; purpose; eligibility; award amounts limitations; administration; implementation; reports

 

A. The TOPS-Tech Early Start Award is hereby established as part of the Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students for eligible eleventh and twelfth grade students attending Louisiana public high schools.

 

B. (1) A TOPS-Tech Early Start Award may be used to fund any technical or applied course leading to an Industry-Based Certification, a Certificate of Applied Science, and a Certificate of Technical Sciences offered at a Louisiana public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution or by any Louisiana training provider recognized by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection when such certification or certificate is approved by the Workforce Investment Council as meeting the following requirements:

 

(a) Is identified by the Occupation Forecasting Conference as a credential for an occupation in top demand in Louisiana.

 

(b) Is recognized by the State Industry-Based Certification Leadership Council.

 

(2) An eligible recipient may receive a TOPS-Tech Early Start Award for two semesters during the eleventh grade and two semesters during the twelfth grade, excluding summer sessions.

 

(3) The administering agency, on behalf of a TOPS-Tech Early Start Award recipient, shall pay to the Louisiana postsecondary education institution in which the student is enrolled in an eligible program of studies or a training program provider an amount of one hundred fifty dollars for each three credit-hour or equivalent time course taken by the student, not to exceed two such courses per high school semester for an eleventh-grade student and two such courses per high school semester for a twelfth-grade student.

 

(4)(a) By January thirty-first annually, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall determine which training program providers it approves for the academic year that begins in the fall of that year.

 

(b) For the 2014-2015 academic year, the number of training program providers at which a TOPS-Tech Early Start Award may be used shall be limited to five providers as selected by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

(c) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to implement the provisions of this Paragraph.

 

(5) Implementation of the provisions of this Section shall be subject to the appropriation of funds for this purpose.

 

C. An application for a TOPS-Tech Early Start Award shall be required at a time and in a manner and form established by the administering agency. At a minimum, information necessary to fully inform Louisiana public high school students and their parents on the requirements of and procedures for applying for the award shall be made available by the administering agency in the same manner as required by law for other awards provided by the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students.

 

D. To be eligible for an initial TOPS-Tech Early Start Award, a student shall meet each of the following conditions and comply with other applicable provisions of this Section and administering agency rules:

 

(1) Be in the eleventh or twelfth grade in a Louisiana public school.

 

(2) Have prepared a five-year education and career plan, including a sequence of related courses with a career focus as provided by Subpart A-1 of Part III of Chapter 1 of this Title.

 

(3) Have a cumulative high school grade point average on all courses attempted of not less than 2.0 when calculated on a 4.0 scale.

 

(4) Score at least fifteen on the English subsection and fifteen on the mathematics subsection of the ACT PLAN assessment administered as part of Louisiana’s Educational Planning and Assessment System.

 

E. To maintain continuing eligibility for a TOPS-Tech Early Start Award, a student must meet each of the following conditions and comply with other applicable provisions of this Section and administering agency rules:

 

(1) Be a student in good standing in a Louisiana public high school.

 

(2) Maintain a cumulative high school grade point average on all courses attempted of not less than 2.0 when calculated on a 4.0 scale.

 

(3) Be a student in good standing while enrolled in a Louisiana public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution or training program and continue to pursue one or more courses leading to an industry-based credential.

 

F. (1) The provisions of this Section shall be administered by the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, herein referred to as the “administering agency”. Except as otherwise provided by this Section, the authority granted to and limitations placed on the administering agency by R.S. 17:3048.1 relative to administering other awards pursuant to the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students shall be deemed to apply also to the administration of the TOPS-Tech Early Start Award.

 

(2) The agency shall adopt, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, rules to implement and administer the provisions of this Section. Such rules shall include but not be limited to necessary guidelines, policies, procedures, forms, and time lines.

 

G. Prior to the convening of each regular legislative session, the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission shall provide to the governor, the House Committee on Education, and the Senate Committee on Education a written review and analysis of TOPS-Tech Early Start awards relative to award use by students and the benefits therefrom as well as the impact on subsequent use by students of TOPS-Tech awards.

 

Added by Acts 2005, No. 348, § 1, eff. June 30, 2005. Amended by Acts 2008, No. 652, § 1, eff. July 1, 2008; Acts 2014, No. 737, § 1, eff. June 19, 2014.