TITLE 17. EDUCATION

CHAPTER 20-G. LOUISIANA TAYLOR OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS

 

17:3048.7    Continuing eligibility for program awards;  students displaced by certain natural disasters;  waivers and exceptions;  limitations

 

A. (1) The legislature finds that due to the effects of natural disasters declared by the governor on August 26, 2005, relative to Hurricane Katrina, and on September 20, 2005, relative to Hurricane Rita, it is in the best interest for the education of the people of the state that continuing eligibility requirements established in R.S. 17:3048.1 for awards pursuant to the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students be modified as provided by this Section for the 2005-2006 academic year for students displaced as a result of either, or both, of the disasters.

 

(2) For the purposes of this Section, the phrase "a student displaced as a result of either, or both, of the disasters", hereinafter referred to in this Section as a "displaced student", shall mean a person who meets any of the following conditions:

 

(a) The person, on August 26, 2005, was eligible for or had a program award and had a home of record in Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, or Washington Parish.

 

(b) The person, on September 20, 2005, was eligible for or had a program award and had a home of record in Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, St. Mary, Terrebonne, or Vermilion Parish.

 

(c) The person, on August 26, 2005, was eligible for or had a program award and was enrolled in an eligible Louisiana institution listed below:

 

(i) Delgado Community College

 

(ii) Dillard University

 

(iii) Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans

 

(iv) Louisiana Technical College:  Jefferson, Sidney N. Collier, Slidell, Sullivan, and West Jefferson campuses

 

(v) Loyola University

 

(vi) New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

 

(vii) Nunez Community College

 

(viii) Our Lady of Holy Cross College

 

(ix) St. Joseph Seminary College

 

(x) Southern University at New Orleans

 

(xi) Tulane University

 

(xii) University of New Orleans

 

(xiii) Xavier University

 

(d) The person, on September 20, 2005, was eligible for or had a program award and was enrolled in McNeese State University or Sowela Technical Community College.

 

(3) For the purposes of Subparagraphs (2)(a) and (b) of this Subsection, "home of record" for a dependent student shall mean the domiciliary address of the student's parent or court-ordered custodian and for an independent student shall mean the domiciliary address of such student.

 

B. (1) Relative to continuing eligibility requirements for a Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award applicable for the 2005-2006 academic year to a student displaced during the 2005-2006 academic year, the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, [FN1] shall provide by rule as follows:

 

(a)(i) The provisions of R.S. 17:3048.1(W) permitting a student qualified for a program award who enrolls as a first-time freshman in an eligible out-of-state college or university to subsequently use the award at an eligible Louisiana college or university shall apply to a displaced student except that the time period of award eligibility shall not be reduced due to the student's attendance at an eligible out-of-state institution during the 2005-2006 academic year.

 

(ii) Relative to a displaced student having a suspended program award due to the student not meeting a requirement relative to having a specified grade point average or making steady academic progress, the respective time periods provided in R.S. 17:3048.1 for the student to meet such requirement or lose program eligibility shall be extended on a one-for-one basis for each semester or other term in which the student does not enroll on a full-time basis in an eligible college or university during the 2005-2006 academic year.

 

(iii) The program award for a displaced student shall not be canceled if the student enrolls during the 2005-2006 academic year in an eligible out-of-state institution subsequent to use of a program award at an eligible Louisiana college or university.  Additionally, the periods of time provided in R.S. 17:3048.1 for use by eligible recipients of program awards shall not be reduced for those semesters or terms such displaced student was enrolled in an eligible out-of-state institution during the 2005-2006 academic year and the unused period of time shall remain available to the displaced student for use at an eligible Louisiana college or university.

 

(iv) In addition to the provisions of R.S. 17:3048.1(B)(2) permitting a recipient to use a TOPS-Tech Award at an eligible Louisiana college or university to pursue skill or occupational training, as defined by the Board of Regents, including a vocational or technical education certificate or diploma program or a nonacademic degree, a TOPS-Tech Award also may be used during the 2005-2006 academic year by a displaced student to enroll on a full-time basis at an eligible Louisiana college or university granting academic undergraduate degrees to take courses that contribute to the pursuit of a skill or occupation.  In such case, the award amount paid by the state on behalf of the student shall be at the Opportunity Award level.

 

(2)(a)(i) Relative to continuing eligibility requirements for a Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award applicable for the 2005-2006 academic year to a student displaced during the 2005-2006 academic year, the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education and in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, shall by rule waive any provision of R.S. 17:3048.1 that imposes on a displaced student a program requirement or condition that such student cannot comply with or meet when it is determined by the commission that a failure to comply with the requirement or meet the condition, more likely than not, is due solely to a consequence of Hurricane Katrina or Rita, or both.

 

(ii) Relative to continuing eligibility requirements for a Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award applicable for the 2005-2006 academic year to any student displaced during the 2005-2006 academic year as a consequence of a disaster or emergency other than Hurricane Katrina or Rita and for which the governor declares a state of emergency to exist, the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education and in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, shall by rule waive any provision of R.S. 17:3048.1 that imposes on such student a program requirement or condition that the student cannot comply with or meet when it is determined by the commission that a failure to comply with the requirement or meet the condition, more likely than not, is due solely to a consequence of the declared disaster or emergency.

 

(b) In addition to provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act relative to oversight by the legislature of the adoption of commission rules, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, in accordance with procedures and threshold amounts established by the committee, shall have oversight and approval authority over any rule proposed for adoption pursuant to the provisions of this Paragraph that has a significant program or other cost, or both, to the state.

 

C. The Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission shall take all administrative action necessary to expedite full implementation of the provisions of this Section.  The commission also shall disseminate information to displaced students and others regarding program changes pursuant to the provisions of this Section in the most timely manner possible.

Added by Acts 2005, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 64, § 1, eff. Dec. 6, 2005.  Amended by Acts 2008, No. 652, § 1, eff. July 1, 2008.