Because of the blatant irresponsibility with the TOPS program by state government officials more and more Louisiana college students are seeking financial aid from the federal government.

With TOPS awards now only a fraction of what they were promised to be Louisiana college students and their families are filling out FAFSA forms in near record numbers. The increase in FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, requests is up by 24% over last year.

We have kids who are in greater financial need that before had the ability to have their tuition paid for by TOPS.

Those comments were made by Educational Technology Consultant Stephanie Marcum. Marcum's comments were reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.

If you're one of those students or the family of a prospective college student it is a great idea to go ahead and fill out FAFSA forms even if you won't need or won't qualify for the program. In many cases, there will be money available to help with tuition. Marcum suggested in her comments that many students never know because they don't fill out the forms.

 A lot of people automatically associate financial aid with just a loan or just if you’re eligible for TOPs. They don’t know that there are many types of financial aid.

If you're not sure what you need to do to fill out your FAFSA forms you should check with your high school guidance counselor or financial aid office at the university that you are attending. Parents, you can find out more about federal aid and low-cost loans for your children by visiting the FAFSA website.