Community college could become free for some Louisiana students

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — Some Louisiana students may soon go to any community college for free as early as this summer.

This is part of Governor Edwards’ budget proposal for the next fiscal year. Edwards plans to allocate $10.5 million to pay for the MJ Foster Promise program. The program will allow some students to attend any community college in the state for free.

To apply, you must be 21 years old and enrolled in a program that supports one of five high-demand job fields, such as construction, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, transportation and logistics.

BRCC Chancellor Dr Willie Smith said it was a game-changer.

“The opportunities are going to be limitless,” Smith said.

Dr. Smith said the average BRCC graduate from either program earned about $46,000. He said it could completely change the state’s outlook.

“If we don’t, then we’re going to have businesses leaving Louisiana. So the goal is to keep local employers here, but also our people to continue to stay in Louisiana,” Smith said.

If lawmakers decide to push this through, Dr. Smith said it could remove one of the biggest barriers that has kept people from taking the next step.

“Time and money have been the two big hurdles for students enrolling in our college, but they certainly complement it. Not having the money has been a big challenge for anyone who can’t afford the training, but now that the Governor is putting that money aside, it’s going to help support students in need,” Smith said.

Smith said the program enrollment window could open as early as March 15.

For more information on the program, click on here.

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