1. Do you have to fill out a FAFSA every year to receive TOPS?
1st year; Yes. After the first year, you don’t have to complete the FAFSA, but it is highly recommended. If the funding falls short, the students who filed a FAFSA will be paid first. Nicholls recommends that ALL students complete the FAFSA.
2. Do Summer & Intersession classes count towards the TOPS 24 hour rule?
Effective immediately, students who do not earn 24 hours during the academic year may utilize hours earned during the summer and intersession terms to meet the TOPS renewal requirements.
3. Do you have to be full-time in order to get TOPS?
YES; unless you are graduating or program full-time in your major (ex. nursing clinicals). If you meet one of these exceptions, you need to submit a TOPS Program Full-time/Graduating form signed by your dean/advisor to the Scholarship Office to verify. The forms may be picked up in the Scholarship Office located in 409 Candies Hall or on-line at https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/forms.
4. What happens to my TOPS if I sit out a semester?
You will lose TOPS. You may complete an appeal form to request for an exception to the continuous or full-time enrollment requirement for reinstatement and send it to the TOPS office (LOSFA – Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance). This form should be completed before the student plans on sitting out. It can be picked up in the Financial Aid Office or downloaded from www.osfa.la.gov or the scholarship web-site.
5. Can the TOPS TECH award be used at Nicholls?
At Nicholls, we have only 4 eligible programs that high school graduates can enroll in to utilize their TOPS Tech award – Associate of Safety Technology, Associate of Petroleum Services, Associate of Culinary Arts, and Care and Development of Young Chidren (AS).
6. What happens to your TOPS if you do not pass 12 hours in the Fall?
You do not lose TOPS provided you have the required 2.0 cumulative GPA. You have to make up the hours in the Winter intersession, Spring, Spring intersession, or Summer sessions to meet the 24 hours for the year.
7. What GPA is used for TOPS?
External cumulative GPA. This GPA includes every course you have ever completed. It is important to realize that you may have a TOPS GPA that may not match the one calculated by Nicholls due to repeated courses that are dropped. THE TOPS GPA CALCULATED BY LOSFA WILL ONLY BE USED TO DETERMINE YOUR CONTINUED ELIGIBILITY FOR TOPS. You may review your TOPS GPA and other relevant information at www.osfa.la.gov. After logging on to the website, click on TOPS Portal on the left side menu, then Student Logon. Your information may be accessed there.
8. Is TOPS checked every semester?
At the end of every Fall semester, intersession, or summer session, the GPA is checked, but not hours. Hours and GPA are checked at the end of the Spring semester. Hours will be checked on all students at the end of summer who failed to meet the 24 hour requirement at the end of the Spring semester.
9. If I do not make the grades, do I have to pay TOPS back?
No, but you will no longer receive TOPS until your GPA is brought up and you continue to pass 24 hours within two years of the loss of the award.
10. Can I drop below 12 hours?
You must pass 24 hours within the academic year. You have to be registered with 12 hours through the 15th class day each semester. After that, you can drop, as long as you pass at least 24 hours for the year.
11. What GPA must I maintain for TOPS?
You must maintain at least a cumulative external GPA of at least a 2.0 at the end of any fall semesters, summer sessions, and any intersessions.
The following requirements must be met at the conclusion of every Spring semester if you have eligibility remaining:
- If you receive the TOPS Opportunity Award, you must earn at least a 2.3 cumulative external GPA if you have less than 48 credit hours or a 2.5 cumulative external GPA if you have 48 or more credit hours. You must successfully complete no less than 24 credit hours during an academic year. The academic year for TOPS is defined as the Fall semester, Winter intersession, Spring semester, Spring intersession, and Summer sessions.
- If you receive the TOPS Performance or the TOPS Honors Award, you must earn at least a 3.0 cumulative external GPA. You must successfully complete no less than 24 credit hours during an academic year. The academic year for TOPS is defined as the Fall semester, Winter intersession, Spring semester, Spring intersession, and the Summer sessions.
12. How would I lose TOPS?
If you do not pass 24 hours for the year, you will lose your TOPS award. If you lose your TOPS award due to not maintaining the GPA requirement, you have up to two years to bring up your grade point average from the date you lost your award. You must remain in school as a full-time student while trying to bring up your grades. (Summer school grades will be counted.)
13. To maintain eligibility for academic scholarships, do you use semester GPA or cumulative GPA?
Semester GPA of 3.0. You must also pass 12 hours each regular semester.
14. How do I apply for a freshman academic scholarship?
Apply for admission before January 5th of your senior year. You must send Nicholls your ACT scores and high school transcript.
15. What happens to my academic scholarship if I sit out a semester?
You will lose your academic scholarships. You may complete an academic scholarship appeal form.
16. What scholarships are available?
As private and university scholarships become available for continuing students, they will be posted in the Financial Aid lobby and e-mailed to all faculty, staff and student e-mail accounts in the Inside Student newsletter. The list is also available online, as well as the application, at https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/current-scholarships
17. How can I apply for scholarships and when will I find out if I get one?
The application for the scholarships advertised is now available online at https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/current-scholarships There now exists one application for each scholarship a student wishes to apply for; students no longer have to complete a separate application for multiple scholarships. For those unable to complete the online application, a paper application will still be available in the Scholarship Office located in 409 Candies Hall. If you are selected as the recipient of the award, an award letter will be mailed to you and the scholarship will be credited to your student account.