SOWELA to accept TOPS Tech Award scholarships

SOWELA sees record increase in enrollment
SOWELA sees record increase in enrollment(SOWELA)
Published: May. 20, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - SOWELA Technical Community College says they are accepting TOPS Tech Award scholarships for Louisiana students interested in pursuing a degree in any of SOWELA’s technical programs.

Currently, the TOPS Tech Award is offered to qualified high school graduates and provides up to two years of skill or occupational training to be pursued at an accredited Louisiana postsecondary institution that offers a vocational or technical education certificate or diploma. SOWELA says TOPS Tech Awards are available at all three SOWELA campuses in Lake Charles, Jennings and Oakdale.

High school students interested in applying for TOPS Tech Awards should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and class of 2021 graduates are strongly encouraged to submit their initial FAFSA before July 1, 2021, immediately following high school graduation in order to receive TOPS credit on their college fee bill for the Fall semester after graduation, according to SOWELA.

SOWELA says those filing after July 1, 2021, will receive their TOPS payment when FAFSA has been received and TOPS eligibility has been determined, but the absolute deadline to complete an initial TOPS application without reduction to any award is July 1 following the one-year high school graduation anniversary.

Two-year colleges in Louisiana require students who meet the TOPS criteria to score a minimum of a 17 composite (19 for homeschooled graduates) on their ACT in order to receive a TOPS Technical Award to pay their tuition.

“We have been working diligently to ensure that the high school graduates in the communities that we serve are aware that students can use their TOPS scholarship award to attend SOWELA,” said SOWELA Director of Enrollment Management & Financial Aid Allison Dering. “Students often have the false perception that they must attend a four-year university to receive TOPS, and that they must score a minimum of a 20 on the ACT. This is not the case and SOWELA offers these options to serve a larger population with a wide variety of programs.”

SOWELA is an open admissions college with no minimum GPA or ACT score required for admission.

SOWELA is currently offering online, hybrid and in-person options dependent on course availability and requirements since the Spring 2021 semester. SOWELA’s main campus is in Lake Charles with satellite campuses in Jennings, Oakdale and Leesville at the soon-to-be-acquired Lamar Salter campus.

For more information or to apply online, visit Anyone needing additional assistance can contact for more information about the TOPS Tech Awards.

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