Community college could become free for select Louisiana students

FILE - The campus of Baton Rouge Community College.
FILE - The campus of Baton Rouge Community College.(Baton Rouge Community College/Facebook)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Select students in Louisiana could soon go to any community college for free as early as this summer.

This is a part of Gov. 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 certain students to attend any in-state community college for free.

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

BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie Smith said this is a game-changer.

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

Dr. Smith said the average BRCC graduate in either one of those programs makes around $46,000. He said could completely change the outlook of the state.

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

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

“Time and money have been the two significant barriers for students enrolling in our college, but certainly complete it. Not having the money has been a big challenge for anyone that they can’t afford the training, but now with the Governor setting aside this money, it’s going to help support those students in need,” said Smith.

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

For more information about the program, click here.

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