BATON ROUGE – LSU Eunice was selected as an experimental site for the U.S. Department of Education’s new program geared toward expanding access and increasing college graduation rates through dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take courses for college credit. Forty-four postsecondary institutions – primarily two-year colleges – across 23 states will be invited to participate in this effort, which will allow high school students access to Federal Pell Grants.
“Dual enrollment programs are powerful ways to introduce rigorous coursework to students and show these students that they are smart enough, talented enough, and prepared enough to tackle higher education. Dual enrollment programs are game changers for all students – especially those are first-generation or from low-income families,” said Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. “Through this experiment, we hope to learn how the availability of Pell Grants affects student participation and success in dual enrollment programs.”
Louisiana ranks 49th in the nation in terms of degree attainment, and studies have shown that individuals with a college degree can earn up to a million dollars more than those with a high school diploma over the course of a career.
LSUE will partner will St. Landry Parish School Board to begin a new dual enrollment healthcare academy for high school students interested in science, medical or allied healthcare careers. The purpose of this academy would be to increase the number of underrepresented, rural area students achieving a post-secondary degree in science guaranteed to transfer to any LSU institution or other Louisiana public university.
“This pilot program will allow students in the St. Landry Parish area the opportunity to begin their college careers early when they otherwise might not have been able to do so. Their success will greatly impact the parish and our local communities,” said LSU Eunice Chancellor Kimberly A. Russell. “We are thrilled to be a part of this Department of Education experimental program.”
The Academy will serve all St. Landry Parish high school students. The parish is home to 83,000 residents with a median household income of $32,000. Twenty-eight percent are living below the poverty line, and 37% of those individuals are under the age of 18. Federal Pell Grants are available to students from families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less.
“We are incredibly excited that LSUE is among the inaugural participants of this new program,” said F. King Alexander, LSU President. “We know that higher education is critical not only to an individual’s future success, but to our state’s and our nation’s. This marks a great step forward toward increasing access to all students, and we look forward to seeing its results.”