Louisiana provides its high school and college students with enriching opportunities to advance their learning. However, with the growing tuition rates and higher education budget cuts, affording education at four-year universities and community colleges is becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
The Louisiana Budget Project, which monitors and reports on public policy and how it affects Louisiana's low-to-moderate-income families, quotes Louisiana Illuminator Greg LaRose's explanation of higher education statistics. LaRose states that "A preliminary enrollment survey from the state Board of Regents, which oversees higher educations, found a 26% decrease in enrollment at Louisiana colleges and universities for the fall 2021 semester."
The decrease is linked not only to the pandemic and natural disasters but also to fewer students qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program, TOPS.
According to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, standard eligibility requirements for TOPS include intense specifications such as a 3.25-3.5 high school minimum GPA, BESE-Approved Home-Study Student Eligibility, full-time enrollment, and attendance at eligible institutions, or institutions that are members of the Louisiana Association of the Independent Colleges and Universities. In 2021, out of 37,519 graduating high school seniors, only 65.7% qualified for TOPS, which is the lowest it's been since 2016.
With fewer students able to receive in-state financial assistance and with increases in student fees, college students are left to combat the rise in tuition by seeking the help of federal and private loans. The average balance for student loan borrowers in Louisiana is $33,823, which is 8% lower than the U.S. average of $36,689.
Altogether, borrowers in the US owe more than $1.7 trillion collectively, with Louisiana making up a small portion of this overwhelming debt.
Despite the opportunities that Louisiana provides its students who are entering higher education, both four-year universities and community colleges have dropped their spending per student by 37.7%. As a result, Louisiana college institutions now spend $4,340 less per student than they did in 2008.
In comparison, tuition in Louisiana rose by 96.8%, roughly $4,729 per student, between 2008 to 2019. The result is that students are paying more for their education but their colleges and universities are now spending less on them.
Additionally, Louisiana public colleges, since the 2009 recession, have moved from being 80% funded by the state with 20% being student fees, to now, being 80% funded by tuition with 20% state support.
The direct state support to colleges and universities from fiscal years 2009-2010 to fiscal years 2019-2020, experienced a 44.4% decrease.
Perhaps most alarming in this performance evaluation is how Louisiana college fees have outpaced inflation by 113.5%, resulting in undergraduate students paying an additional $318.3 million in fees, or $6,247 per student, to obtain a college degree.
In short, Louisiana students are paying for more than inflation deems necessary, and are being under-supported by their universities.
Obtaining a scholarship for a four-year degree or a two-year degree is more difficult than it has ever been. If students intend to attend a Louisiana university and have financial need, it is critical that they utilize as many state-specific scholarships, grants, and scholarships at large that are available to them in order to afford their educational costs.
Bold.org is the largest independent scholarship program that awards financial assistance to eligible applicants with no expectation of repayment. Bold.org is all about providing financial support in scholarships and grants to students in every corner.
There are hundreds of exclusive scholarships available on Bold.org with new opportunities created every day. Regardless of the intended field of study, student demographic, or even intrinsic values, there are scholarships that every student is eligible for. Our recommendation is to apply for as many scholarships as you can to maximize your winnings.
Bold.org currently has one state-specific scholarship available for Louisiana residents, while providing plenty others that students will find they are just as eligible to apply for. With new scholarships dropping every week, be sure to check back soon for new Louisiana options!
This scholarship grants a high school or undergraduate student, who is interested in attending Centenary College, $1,000 toward their education.
While the scholarship will be awarded on March 1st, 2022, the scholarship will have rolling monthly application deadlines. Selection criteria are based on a student's demonstrated purpose, impact, and ambition.
This scholarship will award $500 to a high school or undergraduate student who currently plays sports or plans to in college and is interested in a career in sports. The application deadline is April 1st, 2022.
This opportunity will award $1,000 to a student of any educational level who writes a 400-600 word essay on their personal ambitions and how they wish to make a positive impact on the world. The application deadline is April 12th, 2022.
This scholarship will award $500 to two winners to students of any education level, who have a 2.0 GPA or higher. The application deadline is September 1st, 2022.
This scholarship will award $500 to a high school senior, who is interested in environmental problem-solving. The student must write a 400-600 word response essay by April 30th, 2022.
This opportunity will grant $750 to two students (students must be low-income high school seniors or undergraduate students), who are interested in healthcare, social work, government, education, or a related field. Applicants must write a 400-600 word response essay by April 18th, 2022.
This award will give $1,500 to a high school senior, who is planning to pursue a degree and career in the culinary arts, based on their 400-600 word response essay. The application deadline is March 31st, 2022.
When taking the time to find an accredited college to attend, it is paramount for Louisiana applicants to consider how they are going to gather the financial aid needed to cover their student fees. The state's financial aid plan al