Editorial Overview: Louisiana


The Lawyer. July 26, 2022.

Editorial: One Mature Student at a Time, Reducing Louisiana’s Education Deficits

With 653,000 of us in Louisiana having earned college credit but not a four-year degree, the 179 new graduates from the University of Louisiana campuses may not seem like a huge number.

But UL System President Jim Henderson is unfazed. “We expect that number to increase over the next few years,” he told the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

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Given the upheavals of the pandemic and current economic uncertainties, it’s no surprise that the new Compete LA program got off to a slow start. Of course, for the working adults targeted by the program, completing three or six courses that might be required for sheepskin will take some time, at least several semesters.

But we think UL campuses — nine in cities across the state — are right to persist with this initiative.

Henderson has targeted the program to those who, for one reason or another, work or personal barriers, have been unable to complete a four-year degree. This is one of the numbers that domestic businesses look at when deciding whether to locate in a state or region.

The program includes connecting potential returning students with a “coach” who can navigate all the difficulties of paperwork and planning. Graduating students receive a reduced fee per credit hour, $275.

We commend UL for this program. Completing a college education can mean higher salaries or promotions. While it won’t change the professional trajectory of a former student established in a career, the degree may just be a matter of pride.

But it is also a good goal in life.

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