Think You Can’t Afford College in Louisiana? What if it’s Free?
Just this week, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards laid out his plans for the upcoming fiscal year budget and they included big money earmarked in two areas. Education and infrastructure; specifically, Louisiana's deteriorating bridges.
It Means We Would Get a New Jimmie Davis Bridge
In those plans, we learn that the Governor’s budget contains one-point-one billion dollars for roads and bridges which would include a much needed replacement of Shreveport and Bossier City's Jimmie Davis Bridge.
There Would Be Money For Teacher Raises
In regards to his wishes in the area of education, Edwards is calling for a $1,500 dollar a year pay boost for all teachers and other raises for support staff.
We also learn in an article from wafb.com, his educational desires also extend to potential community college students.
It Could Also Mean That Community College Students Could Go For Free
The report states, "Edwards plans to allocate $10.5 million to pay for the MJ Foster Promise Program. The program will allow certain students to attend any in-state community college for free."
What Is the MJ Foster Promise Program?
To understand a little more about the MJ Foster Promise Program, just go to Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges website, where we find that:
Named after former Louisiana Governor Mike J. Foster, the MJ Foster Promise Program is a new $10.5 million annual state fund that will provide financial support for students to earn credentials that align to high-demand jobs in these growing industry sectors.
Those "growing industry sectors" include Transportation and Logistics, Manufacturing, Construction, Information Technology and Healthcare.
Applicants would have to be at least 21 years of age and if their eligibility is approved, would be able to attend any Louisiana in-state community college for free.
Those colleges would include Bossier Parish Community College, Southern University Shreveport and Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College here in Northwest Louisiana.
Who's Eligible For These Funds?
According to the website, lctcs.edu,
- Meet a family income that does not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Level or be unemployed or underemployed for six months prior to receiving grant.
- Have earned a high school diploma or equivalent or co-enroll in a qualified program of study and in a program to earn high school credential.
- Have not previously earned an undergraduate degree at the associate level or above.
- Be a Louisiana resident and U.S. Citizen.
- Commit to reside in Louisiana one year after completion and to perform 20 hours of community service, an internship, or a mentorship annually to maintain the award.
**Incarcerated individuals and those who have been convicted of any crime of violence as defined in RS 14:2 are prohibited from receiving M.J. Foster Promise funds.