SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Southern University at Shreveport is working to make college more accessible this fall semester by offering free tuition and laptops to eligible students hit hard by the pandemic.
“As many of our constituents know, through the federal government we were able to get dollars from the CARES Act,” SUSLA Chancellor Dr. Rodney Ellis said. “Additionally there were some dollars that were allocated so HBCUs that we want to return to the students. We know this is a difficult time for them, so having those additional resources, free laptops, the free tuition. Really that covers the last three hours to make students full time.”
Ellis says they began surveying students back in March to see how the pandemic was affecting them.
“We have conducted several surveys with our students to see where their challenges were,” Ellis said. “About 35% of our students indicated a lack of technology is a key factor. So we used some of the HBCU dollars to purchase laptops and plug in gaps for those students who may need free tuition.”
Ellis says they also have other emergency funds for students impacted by the pandemic.
“In addition to the free laptops, free tuition, students can apply by September 6 and if they apply and enroll they can register to get those additional funds which could be upwards of $500 on top of everything else,” Ellis said. “We just want to make sure that our students have the resources to be successful.”
To be considered for free tuition, or laptop, a student must meet the following criteria:
- The student must complete and submit a SUSLA admissions application for the fall 2020 semester by August 7
- The student must complete course registration for at least 12 credit hours for the full fall 2020 semester by August 7, 2020
- The student must attend classes and be enrolled through the 14th day of the fall semester
SUSLA says qualified students will be eligible for either one laptop or one free tuition.
SUSLA says the free tuition covers the last three credits from 9 credits to 12 credits, so a student can be considered a full-time student.
Students who meet all criteria will be entered into a pool.
The 1,000 free tuitions and 500 laptop winners will be drawn lottery style. The winners will be informed via email listed on the application.
To see if you qualify, please visit the SUSLA website.
The upcoming fall semester will have classes being offered hybrid-style blending in-person and virtual learning classrooms. Classes are set to start Wednesday, August 12.