Title 17. Education
Chapter 50. Taylor Opportunity Program for Students
Part IV. Students Affected by Certain Disasters and Emergencies
17:5104 Eligibility for students impacted by Hurricane Laura
A. The legislature finds that due to the effects of Hurricane Laura, it is in the best interest of the people of the state that initial and continuing eligibility requirements established in Part I of this Chapter for awards pursuant to the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students be modified as provided by this Section.
B. (1) Provisions of this Chapter that provide for initial eligibility are modified or waived as more fully specified in this Subsection:
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 17:5062, the deadline for taking the ACT or SAT for students graduating from high school in 2020 is December 31, 2020. The administering agency may provide an exception to this deadline if the student provides documentation that he was registered for a test that was canceled due to Hurricane Laura and was unable to schedule a test before the deadline due to circumstances beyond his control as determined by the administering agency. The administering agency shall not reduce the time period of eligibility for the award, as set forth in R.S. 17:5002, of an applicant who qualifies for an award pursuant to the authority granted by this Subparagraph. The initial award or upgraded award shall be paid for the first time beginning with the semester during which the qualifying score was achieved.
(b) A student who is certified by his principal to have graduated during the 2020-2021 school year from an eligible out-of-state high school shall not be required to have a higher minimum composite score on the ACT than required by R.S. 17:5024 for a student who graduates from an eligible Louisiana high school.
(c) The requirement that a student complete a core curriculum shall be waived upon proper documentation by his principal that failure to comply is due solely to the fact that required courses were not available to the student at the school attended.
(d)(i) A dependent or independent student shall be deemed to meet program residency requirements if he actually resided in Louisiana during his entire eleventh grade year and was enrolled for such time in an eligible Louisiana high school or, for a dependent student, if he has a parent or court-ordered custodian who actually resided in an affected parish for at least the twelve months prior to August 26, 2020.
(ii) A parent or court-ordered custodian of a dependent student who is eligible for a program award pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 17:5029, relative to students who graduate from certain out-of-state high schools, and who was displaced as a resident from an affected parish shall be deemed to meet residency requirements if the parent or court-ordered custodian actually resided in Louisiana for at least the twelve months prior to August 26, 2020.
(e) A student who during the 2020-2021 school year successfully completes at the twelfth grade level a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, referred to in this Subsection as the “state board”, shall be eligible for a program award by complying with the provisions of R.S. 17:5029 relative to certain home study students. In such case, the requirement that the student, if ever enrolled in an eligible Louisiana high school, begin the program no later than the end of the tenth grade is waived.
(2) The provisions of this Subsection shall apply only to a student who, on August 26, 2020, was enrolled in a public or nonpublic high school that is located in an affected parish and that has the approval required by Part I of this Chapter for program eligibility purposes or who resided in such a parish and was enrolled in a home study program approved by the state board.
C. (1) Provisions of this Chapter relative to continuing eligibility are modified or waived with respect to the 2020-2021 academic year as more fully specified in this Subsection:
(a) The provisions of R.S. 17:5041 and 5042 requiring a student to make steady academic progress and achieve a certain cumulative grade point average are waived.
(b) For a student whose program award is suspended due to a low grade point average or failure to make steady academic progress, the time periods provided in Part I of this Chapter for him to meet such requirements before losing eligibility shall be extended by one semester for each semester that he is unable to enroll or complete.
(c) The provisions of R.S. 17:5043 providing that a student’s eligibility shall be reduced by a semester for each semester that he is enrolled in an out-of-state college or university are waived.
(2) The provisions of this Subsection shall apply only to a person who, on August 26, 2020, was eligible for or had a program award and who meets either of the following criteria:
(a) His home of record was in an affected parish. For purposes of this Subparagraph, “home of record” means the domiciliary address of a dependent student’s parent or court-ordered custodian or an independent student’s domiciliary address.
(b) He was enrolled in an eligible college or university in an affected parish.
D. For purposes of this Section, “affected parish” means Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, or Winn.
E. (1) The administering agency may waive any provision of Part I of this Chapter that imposes a program eligibility requirement that a student cannot comply with if it determines that the failure to comply is, more likely than not, due solely to the effects of Hurricane Laura.
(2) The administering agency may waive any provision of Part I of this Chapter that imposes a program eligibility requirement that a student cannot comply with if it determines that the failure to comply is, more likely than not, due solely to the effects of any gubernatorially declared disaster or emergency. The authority granted by this Paragraph shall apply only to the 2020-2021 academic year.
(3) In addition to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act relative to legislative oversight, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget shall have oversight and approval authority over any rule proposed for adoption pursuant to the authority granted by this Subsection.
F. The administering agency may adopt any rule, policy, or guideline necessary to implement the provisions of this Section and shall disseminate information regarding program changes pursuant to the provisions of this Section in the most timely manner possible.
Added by Acts 2020, 2nd Ex.Sess., No. 17, § 1, eff. Oct. 28, 2020.