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A new statewide program is looking for ways for the more than 650,000 college dropouts in Louisiana to find their way back to class.

Called Compete LA, the thought behind the program is to make returning to college easier for those who never finished their degree. The program includes a variety of online degree programs and other convenient class structures designed for Louisianians with some college credit.

According to, personal coaches will guide students through the process of re-enrollment and find their fastest pathway to a degree. The free coach will also provide support to help them navigate their college journey through graduation.

In Louisiana, one in five adults — 653,000 — have dropped out of college. Those eligible for Compete LA have completed some college credit but not enough for a bachelor’s degree and have been out of college for at least two years.

The program is powered by the University of Louisiana system, which includes Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of New Orleans, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“Compete LA is a completely free program and the Universities of Louisiana are committed to maintaining low cost educational opportunities for returning adults,” according to the website. “Partner universities have waived the application fee for Compete LA students. Your coach will guide you through the application process and help identify other available aid based on your major and circumstances.”

There’s also grants and financial aid available for military students.

Louisiana’s workforce is changing and the program is designed to eliminate barriers so working adults can take advantage of these new jobs. We applaud the state’s effort in helping our residents have a better future.

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Crystal Stevenson, John GuidrozMike Jones and Jim Beam.

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