Because the college enrollment rate in Louisiana is lower than most other states, the Board aims to grow post secondary college enrollment by at least 42% by 2025 through a number of strategic goals and initiatives. To do this, the Board plans to invest in university research and achieve higher efficiency and accountability in its post secondary education system compared to other U.S. states. Many of these goals are planned to be accomplished by embracing online colleges and distance-delivery courses.
Higher Learning Initiatives
Increase the Educational Attainment of the State’s Adult Population to the Southern Regional Education Board States’ Average by 2025
With the knowledge that only 30% of Louisiana’s adults hold a post secondary degree, the Board works to prepare students for the rapidly growing knowledge-based economy in Louisiana. In particular, the Board focuses its attention on preparing K-12 students for post secondary education opportunities. According to the Board’s master plan, “by increasing the numbers of individuals with post secondary credentials, [Louisiana] will position itself to better compete in regional, national, and global economies and improve the quality of life of its citizenry.” To reach the goal of increasing college graduation rates by 42% in 2025, the Board wants to expand certificate/diploma programs, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees an average of 10% over the next four years. That said, the Board recognizes that most of the increase will occur at two-year colleges and online colleges in Louisiana.
Increase graduation rates of transfer students
Two-year colleges and online schools in Louisiana are becoming increasingly recognized as a successful entry point into post secondary education for baccalaureate degree, master’s degree, and doctoral degree seekers. In fact, as indicated in a 2010 study by the Board, nearly 44% of Louisiana’s first-time college students began their degree path at a two-year, technical, or online college, compared to 21% just a decade earlier. According to the master plan, “transfer students’ progress and eventual graduation often depend on a smooth transition — access to information, advice, financial aid, courses needed, and credit for courses completed.” Many of these two-year colleges employ the use of online and distance-education courses in order to help students finish up their two-year degrees and transfer to four-year universities, colleges, and online colleges in Louisiana.
Create a more balanced enrollment mix between two-year and four-year institutions
One of the main goals of the Board has been to “increase the number of students enrolled in two-year institutions, aspiring to reach … four-year universities.” In order to meet this goal, the Board plans to create a more balanced enrollment mix between two-year and four-year college students. Some of the Board’s planned objectives to accomplish this balance include increasing the admission standards at public universities, encouraging students to attend community colleges, online colleges, and two-year colleges, and increasing financial aid opportunities. By embracing the use of Louisiana online colleges and distance-education courses, the Board believes an enrollment balance between two-year and four-year colleges can be achieved sooner rather than later.