LAFAYETTE, La. – South Louisiana Community College has been awarded a five-year federal grant to provide college admissions and support services to underserved populations within the southern region of the college’s service area. The program will predominately serve the rural populations of Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes beginning November 1.
The $1.1 million grant is awarded from the U.S. Department of Education and is under the agency’s TRiO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program.
“With the awarding of this grant, SLCC will be able to greatly expand access to college for all underserved populations in the southern region,” said Dr. Vincent June, SLCC chancellor. “This can be a game-changer for so many people who never believed they could attend college or have the resources to access post-secondary education.”
Nationwide, EOC programs are traditionally found in areas with disadvantaged, underserved people who have a desire to attend a college or university. To qualify for the program, participants must be at least 19 years of age and be either a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, resident alien, or have an intention to become a permanent resident.
Through this grant, SLCC will provide information on attaining a high school equivalency (HiSET) diploma, going to college, and getting financial assistance to pay for school. Participants can also receive assistance with completing applications for college admissions, testing, and financial aid (FAFSA), in addition to counseling services, career workshops, and guidance on career selection and college programs.
The grant is structured to serve groups who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system, or other disconnected students. The program also provides services for students who are limited English proficient.
SLCC’s grant will also offer a community component. The college will partner with organizations across the region, such as Acadiana Workforce Solutions, Beacon Community Corrections, Catholic Charities of Acadiana, The Family Tree Counseling Center, Goodwill Acadiana, Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), One Acadiana, and United Way of Acadiana, all to further support the population of program participants.
“LEDA is proud to partner with SLCC in an effort to provide the residents of South Louisiana with opportunities and options to attain college credentials leading to high-demand and high-wage jobs,” said Ryan LaGrange, Manager of Workforce Development for Lafayette Economic Development Authority.