A Program of the Louisiana Board of Regents
LOSFA Mentions
Louisiana Tech’s Workforce Wednesdays can lead to promising career path
Louisiana GEAR UP students had a chance to speak with community and industry leaders to understand how certain educational pathways connect to employment along the I-20 corridor.

Louisiana Tech University's College of Education partnered with the Office of Career Services at Louisiana Delta Community College to offer Workforce Wednesday sessions.

Students, along with their parents, heard businesses detail different career opportunities available, the education needed to obtain that career, and the salary employees can make.

“At LOSFA/Louisiana GEAR UP, we want our students to understand how they can connect their talent to a formal education and/or credential that leads to a career in that field,” said Tireka Cobb, director of field outreach services for Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance. “A program like Workforce Wednesday is a perfect opportunity for students to make those connections.”
Workforce Wednesday events demonstrate the importance of connecting students to college and career. To further engage students, LOSFA Programs plans to expand its student networking groups and Connect2Success initiative.

College students who are interested in joining a network group can click here to request an orientation.
Barclays and Upromise Accelerate Cash Back Rewards into College Savings with Enhanced Upromise® Mastercard® Program
Louisiana's 529 START and START K12 Saving Programs are among the eligible college savings plans that can benefit from a new increase of 1.529% in cashback rewards when linked to the Upromise Mastercard program.

Upromise helps save money for college by offering rewards for everyday spending, like dining out, shopping, and more. Those rewards are automatically deposited into a 529 savings account to invest and grow tax-free until needed for qualified education expenses.

Click here to learn more about Lousiana's 529 programs and Upromise.
Social Media
On March 30 and 31, LOSFA Programs held its first virtual Financial Literacy for You (FLY) Tour.

This year's theme was Meet Your Match: Virtual Edition, a game show production with information about what it takes to get to college and how to be successful while there. 

Our LOSFA College Advocates lead students in fun and interactive games to expose them to their postsecondary options and learn the costs associated with college. They also discussed how financial aid helps to pay for college and which institution might be their best match.  

Students met with their respective advocate in breakout rooms for further grade-level discussions about the college process. Postsecondary administrators and presidents also met with students, in breakout rooms, to discuss financial aid options, majors, and more.

A total of 5,146 students tuned in for the virtual performance, including students on Spring Break! Another 687 viewers were exposed to the FLY Tour on LOSFA's YouTube channel.
Other Related News
Federal COVID-19 relief could help Louisiana higher education avoid budget cuts this year
Public universities in Louisiana are anticipating avoiding budget cuts for the next academic school year, with state and federal dollars.

In addition to a possible three rounds of federal relief packages, Governor John Bel Edwards has called for a $56 million increase for higher education.

According to the article, part of those proposed dollars would fully fund TOPS awards. Also included: an $11 million increase for the GO Grants (need-based financial aid).

“Our issue is a chronic lack of prioritization for higher education,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System. “If we are to be competitive in recruiting and retaining the faculty necessary to prepare our graduates for life and career in the future of work, we have to properly fund higher education.”

Click the button below to continue reading about why institutions say this money will offset their losses.
Intelligent.com announces best colleges in Louisiana for 2021
Intelligent.com, an online degree ranking, and higher education planning resource released its findings for the Top 46 institutions in Louisiana.

The company compared 399 education programs at 201 accredited colleges and universities in Louisiana. Each program was evaluated on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment.
Click here to see how Louisiana's colleges and universities were ranked.
Updated NSC data: Class of 2020 fall enrollment dropped nearly 7%
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has released new findings related to high school graduates who immediately enroll in college.

In December, the NSCRC reported a 22 percent decline in high school students who enrolled at a postsecondary institution; however, after adding more data, they found the decline is closer to 6.8 percent. While that number is better, the research center says it is still four times more than the class of 2019's pre-pandemic enrollment decline. 

For low-income high schools, college enrollment dropped 10.7 percent. According to the report by NSCRC, that is 13 times more than in 2019.

Low-income high schools also decreased in community college enrollment, while four-year enrollment by high-income high schools were unaffected.
Gen Z is paying double what boomers paid for college - and the gap will only widen in the future
A recent report from GoBankingRates found that since the 1970s, the cost of a college education has doubled.

The report compared how much four generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z) paid for tuition at a four-year postsecondary institution - including fees and room and board.

Their findings:
  • Baby Boomers who attended college from 1973-1977 paid about $39,780 for a four-year education.
  • Millennials who attended college between 2006-2010 paid $70,000.
  • Gen Z, those currently attending college will pay about $90,000.

According to the report, some students believe college has become so expensive that the value may not be there. However, with a shift toward more service sector professions (banking, technology support, manufacturing), a degree has become increasingly important.
A ‘gobsmacking number’ of students in need aren’t applying to college. Are we missing 'an entire generation?'
Remote learning, COVID diagnosis, students overwhelmed by college and scholarship applications, and the FAFSA - all reasons why many high school seniors are contemplating gap years.

"The handoff from high school to college is a space that nobody owns," said Steve Desir, a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California. Desir studies the high school to college transition for Black, Hispanic, and low-income students. He says because no one owns that space, students are often navigating on their own.

"What we are seeing is a system that was separate and unequal, and you add a pandemic, and you have a system that is more separate and more unequal."

Angel Perez, CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, says if the pandemic has highlighted anything about college admissions, it's how the system perpetuates inequality and how complex the application process has become. Coupled with the drop in FAFSA completion, many access professionals conclude that low-income students may be less likely to attend a postsecondary institution this fall.

Connecting virtually has left many students without access to conversations and guidance that could help shape their decisions. If they (students) feel lost or that they are not college material, they are not applying.
LOSFA's student engagement efforts provide a direct connection, virtually, to the one-on-one support and advocacy that students are missing because of COVID; It's a direct correlation to students making it through summer melt.
College applications in the pandemic year show deepening inequities in access to higher education
Those students who've been hit hard financially due to the coronavirus pandemic's economic impact were forced to decide between pursuing their education and providing necessities for their families. 

Other students have not had access to counselors to guide them through the college and financial aid process.

Higher education professionals say the inequities are not new, but the pandemic has brought them to the forefront, as many are choosing to put their college and career goals on hold to ease family struggles.

While some Ivy League institutions have seen a bump in student applications, community colleges, which traditionally serve as a stepping stone to a career or four-year college, have seen declines. The number of students completing a financial aid form is also down (one measure which indicates a student's college plans), with the most significant decrease among low-income students and students of color.

The worry now becomes whether those students will ever enroll, or if this downfall will lead to larger achievement gaps for generations to come.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), a program of the Louisiana Board of Regents, strives to be Louisiana's first choice for college access by promoting, preparing for and providing equity of college access.