Gap Closing Continues

TOPS Scholarships and ACT Scores on the Rise

Educate Now! has reviewed the 2012 TOPS data, and the percent of public school graduates eligible for TOPS scholarships in Orleans Parish is now higher than in Jefferson and East Baton Rouge parishes.

  • In 2012, 38.8% of Orleans Parish public school graduates were eligible for TOPS scholarships (two- or four-year).
  • 36.6% of East Baton Rouge graduates and 38.4% of Jefferson graduates were eligible.

New Orleans continues to close the gap with the state average.

  • Since 2005, the percent of Orleans Parish graduates eligible for TOPS has grown 13.9 percentage points, from 24.9% in 2005 to 38.8% in 2012.
  • During this same time, the state average grew only 5.3 percentage points, from 37.3% in 2005 to 42.6% in 2012.

% of Public School Graduates Eligible for TOPS
Two- or Four-Year Scholarships

Students are better prepared for college and career.

K-12 education must give students the educational foundation they need to be college or career ready. In Louisiana, TOPS scholarships are a good benchmark to measure this preparedness.

TOPS provides two- and four-year merit-based scholarships to Louisiana public colleges and universities. Two-year technical or occupational scholarships require at least a 2.5 GPA, mandatory coursework, and an ACT score of 17. Four-year scholarships are available at three different levels, but the minimum requirement is at least a 2.5 GPA, mandatory coursework, and an ACT score of 20.

ACT scores are also on the rise.

In New Orleans, ACT scores are also improving faster than the state average.

  • From 2005 to 2012, the composite ACT score for New Orleans public schools grew from 17.0 to 18.2 – an increase of 1.2 percentage points.
  • During this same time, the state score grew less than half as much, from 19.8 to 20.3 – an increase of .5 percentage points.

The fact that New Orleans improved achievement while also increasing participation makes these results even more impressive.


The remarkable increase in the number of TOPS eligible graduates and the improvements in ACT test scores are powerful evidence that education reforms in New Orleans are making a difference in the lives, and the futures, of our students.

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