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Is your child at the TOP? Get financial aid information today

VIDALIA — Parents looking for grants, scholarships and other funding to help pay for their children’s secondary education costs will have an opportunity today to speak to a state financial representative.

The Concordia Parish School board will host a financial aid meeting at 6 p.m. today featuring Scott Burke from the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Aid.

Career and technical education coordinator Rhonda Moore said Burke will be discussing the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, that offers state scholarships for Louisiana residents who attend Louisiana public colleges and universities or other community and technical colleges in the state.

“With the way the economy is right now, any money that is available especially in the form of grants and scholarships should be taken advantage of,” Moore said. “There are plenty of excellent opportunities to help take the financial burden off the parents when their kids are going to college.”

In order to qualify for TOPS, Louisiana students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 and have an ACT score of 17 or an SAT score of 820, among meeting other application requirements.

Moore said the representative will also have information on other scholarships or available funding for students on all academic levels.

“There are plenty of financial aid and scholarships available that parents should consider before taking out loans to pay for college,” Moore said. “These are all things parents should be aware of as their children are preparing to make choices about continuing their education.”

Since some teenagers aren’t as quick to share all details of their lives with their parents as others, Moore said it’s especially important for parents to become involved in a decision that could affect both the children and parents financially.

“There are some things that students might fail to tell their parents that could end up costing them scholarship money,” Moore said. “This way the parents know exactly what the students need to do, and they can get the information first hand in order to persuade their children to take advantage of those opportunities.”

The meeting will consist of a 45-minute presentation and will be at the central administration building on U.S. 84 next to the Vidalia municipal complex.