Lana Fontenot and Anne Falgout – South Louisiana Community College – Affordable Post-Secondary Education Transforming Families and Communities – Discover Lafayette

Lana Fontenot and Anne Falgout - South Louisiana Community College - Affordable Post-Secondary Education ...  Discover Lafayette

Lana Fontenot and Anne Falgout - South Louisiana Community College - Affordable Post-Secondary Education Transforming Families and Communities - Discover Lafayette

Podcast

South Louisiana Community College’s Recent Developments and Rebranding

Introduction

South Louisiana Community College’s (“SoLAcc”) Anne Falgout, Director of Strategic Communications, and Lana Fontenot, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and External Relations and Executive Director of the College’s Foundation, join Discover Lafayette to discuss the latest developments at SoLAcc and its recent rebranding.

Programs Offered

SoLAcc currently offers more than 50 programs, leading to associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates, to almost 12,000 students annually, at its campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte. The College also offers a wide range of non-credit instruction and training, for careers that need certification training such as power linemen, industrial scaffolding, and commercial driving, which students can complete in under six months. Following an Academic Blueprint prepared five years in advance, SoLAcc endeavors to build educational programs that fit the needs of each community they serve.

Adult Basic Education Services

Many people in our region don’t have high school diplomas, and SoLAcc steps up to offer Adult Basic Education Services, assisting individuals in passing the High School Equivalency Exam (“HiSET”) which replaced the former GED exam. Students of all ages come to SoLAcc for this program, sometimes after their own children graduate from high school, and are guided by the college counselors to figure out the best way to obtain an appropriate degree while qualifying for grants, loans, and other institutional aid resources to help cover the cost of their education.

Hunger-Free Campus Award

SoLAcc was awarded the Hunger-Free Campus Award by the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2024.

Affordability and Flexibility

The typical age of a SoLAcc student has declined in recent years, from 27 years of age to 24 years of age today. This is a huge shift in demographics, due to the college’s effective outreach program. Additionally, SoLAcc’s tuition is on average about 40% less than a traditional four-year colleges and institutions. Anne Falgout says, “The top issues that come up when we speak with prospective students is affordability and flexibility in classes as they choose which institution to attend. Affordability plus Quality equals Value!”

Student Success Live

Student Success Live is an in-person new-student orientation that all students take before registering. Guidance on resources and expectations help SoLAcc’s retention rate of students. About 3/4 of the college’s students are first generation college students and have no frame of reference about what to expect. Many know no one who has gone to college. SoLAcc works to help each student holistically and offers free tutoring at every campus.

University Bound

More than one-half of SoLAcc’s students are university bound and find that first obtaining a two-year Associate’s degree at the college is the most economical method to earn their credits. SoLAcc partners not only with UL-Lafayette, but also McNeese, Holy Cross, and Nicholls State to offer a 2 + 2 agreement that allows students to seamlessly transfer their credits from the community college to the universities. Lana pointed out that SoLAcc is the largest feeder of students to UL-Lafayette and its graduates start the university ready to excel.

Early College Academy

The Early College Academy, which is ‘baked into SoLAcc’s Devalcourt location in Lafayette,” is rated in the top 1% of public high schools in Louisiana, and is particularly well-known for its students’ math and reading proficiencies. The high school shares faculty with SoLAcc and the benefit of this dual enrollment program is that students can earn their two-year Associate’s Degree while earning their high school diploma. This enables the students to start at a university as a Junior.

Success Stories

Many people attend SoLAcc after having graduated from a traditional four-year college and established in a career. As an example close to home, Lana’s husband, educated to be a teacher and experienced as a fifteen-year veteran of teaching middle and high school students, became an Emergency Medical Technician after enrolling in SoLAcc during COVID. He graduated after a short-term training program, and was immediately hired by Acadian Ambulance. He worked there for six months driving an ambulance, and then in January of 2021, entered the paramedic program at SoLAcc, and graduated in December of 2021, being presented his diploma by his wife, Lana Fontenot!

Inmate Education Program

A partnership between the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Community Corrections division and South Louisiana Community College offers inmates a technical diploma track in Welding. Working with inmates who are nearing their date of release, mobile welding units are deployed to teach the skills necessary for employment. At the conclusion of the yearlong program, a graduation ceremony is held with SoLAcc supplying the caps and gowns for the students. LPSO sets up apprenticeships and any monies earned are kept secure until the prisoner is released. SoLAcc hopes to add HVAC and culinary to this program.

Rebranding

South Louisiana Community College recently completed its rebranding. Anne Falgout says, “We call it a transformation; we came of age. We didn’t change so much as we evolved into ourselves. While we do compete with traditional 4-year educational institutions, our biggest competitor is LIFE.” So many of SoLAcc’s students choose between the college or getting no education. Their top issues are affordability and flexibility, as they grapple with childcare and transportation challenges.

Conclusion

In closing, Discover Lafayette would like to thank Lana Fontenot, Anne Falgout, and the entire team at SoLAcc for their commitment to helping people reach their full potential by providing them with an education that readies them for their desired career.

For more information about South Louisiana Community College educational offerings and its campuses throughout Acadiana, please visit https://www.solacc.edu/.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 4: Quality Education 4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes Number of students enrolled in SoLAcc’s educational programs
SDG 4: Quality Education 4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university Number of students enrolled in SoLAcc’s associate degree programs
SDG 4: Quality Education 4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship Number of students completing certification training programs at SoLAcc
SDG 1: No Poverty 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions Number of individuals assisted by SoLAcc’s Adult Basic Education Services
SDG 2: Zero Hunger 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round SoLAcc’s receipt of the Hunger-Free Campus Award
SDG 4: Quality Education 4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university Number of students enrolled in SoLAcc’s 2 + 2 agreement programs with partner universities
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value Number of students graduating from SoLAcc’s technical diploma track in Welding
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status Number of students benefiting from SoLAcc’s free tutoring services
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism Partnerships between SoLAcc and UL-Lafayette, McNeese, Holy Cross, and Nicholls State for credit transfer programs

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Fuente: discoverlafayette.net

 

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