Teamwork Helps St. Landry Parish Students Get Degrees

Brandy Ledet Education

“We will continue to develop more innovative pathways that lead to student completion, graduation, and success in their chosen careers.” LSUE Chancellor, Kimberly Russell
LSU at Eunice and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have been cited as one of six high-performing pairs of community colleges and universities in which students can easily, and successfully, move from one to the other to earn a bachelor’s diploma and perhaps a higher degree.

A report from the Aspen Institute and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, notes that links between the schools not only help students complete a college degree, but also can save them substantial amounts of money.

“Taking the community college route to a four-year university can save you thousands of dollars — and these . . . schools can boost your odds of a successful transfer,” according to the report.

Average tuition and fees at a community college were $3,520 in the 2016-2017 school year, according to the study. That compares to $9,650 for four-year state schools and $33,480 at private four-year schools.

“LSU Eunice and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette — a common transfer destination — are an hour apart, which can hamper the progress of students who’d like to migrate to a four-year school but need to manage work and families,” according to the report.

“The schools solved this problem by establishing a program that will allow students to complete a bachelor’s degree in education on the community college’s campus.”

Additionally. LSUE has recently signed an agreement with Northwestern State University in Natchitoches to allow students to apply credits earned at LSUE to bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice and public safety administration.

Nearly half of all students who begin at LSUE transfer to a four-year university to complete a baccalaureate degree, according to LSUE Chancellor Kimberly Russell. “We will continue to develop more innovative pathways that lead to student completion, graduation, and success in their chosen careers,” she said.

Van Reed, LSUE director of public relations, said that over the last ten years an average of 19.35 percent of the first-time, full-time LSUE freshman have gone on to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years. The state overage of all two-year schools in Louisiana is 7.5 percent. The nationwide average is 14.4 percent, according to the CCRC study.

The report specifically cites the LSUE and UL Lafayette “2+2” education program established in 1999. It allows education majors to complete all four years of coursework on the LSU Eunice campus. Under this program, UL Lafayette faculty members teach at the LSU Eunice campus and UL Lafayette advisors visits the Eunice campus weekly to help steer students to the completion of their degrees.

LSUE also offers counseling to help students decide on a degree program and schedule course work that can be transferred to UL Lafayette or other four-year colleges.

“The accessibility to higher education through two strong, progressive schools is one of the strengths of St. Landry Parish,” according to Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director. “That becomes an even greater boon when those schools are able to collaborate so successfully and open even wider opportunities to our students.

“LSUE’s continued outreach to other nearby universities will only increase those opportunities,” he said.

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Louisiana State University Eunice is committed to the principle that individuals should have the opportunity to develop themselves through education commensurate with their capabilities and interests.