Hurricane Frequently Asked Questions

T- T T+

Greetings students,

The hearts of SOWELA’s faculty and staff are with you during this difficult time.  Much more information will be forthcoming in the days and weeks to come but for now, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.  Please continue to monitor this page for updates and answers to additional questions.

SOWELA Student Frequently Asked Questions:

      1. Q:  Will SOWELA reopen for the Fall semester?
        A: Yes, all originally scheduled hybrid and online classes will resume on Friday September 25, 2020.  On-campus classes will resume on September 25, 2020 at the Jennings and Oakdale Instructional Sites only.  Due to significant damage to the main campus buildings in Lake Charles, on-campus classes in Lake Charles will not resume at this time.
        Fall classes that began face-to-face on the main campus in Lake Charles will be converted to online instruction where possible until buildings are ready for use. Students will be notified via Canvas, whether their Lake Charles face-to-face classes will be converted to online instruction until buildings are ready and if those classes are converted, they will also resume on September 25, 2020.
      2. Q: Will financial aid be disbursed? 
        A:  We anticipate that financial aid will disburse and refunds will be issued to students 3-4 weeks after we resume the semester.
      3. Q: If a student borrowed a student loan from a private company, where is this money?
        A:  Right now, all loan disbursements have been postponed.  The lender has retained the money so that no interest is accruing. Once the campus reopens, the loan will disburse.
      4. Q: How can a student gain access to funds if they are expecting a refund from the college?
        A:  All students should log in to their LoLA account, navigate to the Student Account section, and click to select a refund preference.  Students can set everything up online.  SOWELA utilizes a company called BankMobile to deliver refunds to our students.  At this time, we are unable to issue paper checks for refunds therefore, it is important that students set up a refund preference so that SOWELA can wire funds to a personal bank account or a BankMobile account.
      5. Q: How can I withdraw from classes?
        A:  While SOWELA’s faculty and staff will be taking all possible measures so that students can continue the semester, we understand that in some instances students will need to withdraw.  Beginning the week of September 21st, students will be able to log in to LoLA and self-withdraw from classes.  If the student is receiving financial aid or TOPS, it is highly recommended that the student consult with the One Stop Center to insure that there are no penalties for withdrawing.
      6. Q: Will students still have to make the September payment if signed up for the tuition payment plan?
        A:  At this time all late fees will be waived.  Students can still make payments if desired but they will not be penalized if they cannot make the September payment.  Students will need to have balances for the Fall semester paid prior to the start of the Spring semester in January.  The college will do all that is possible to accommodate students during this time.  If a student needs to suspend the September payment and was set up for automatic draft payments, please log in via LoLA and suspend the auto draft.
      7. Q: Can I reach the One Stop Center via phone?
        A:  Yes, the office is currently operating with temporary phones. To reach the One Stop, please call (337) 438-1653, (337) 438-1689, (337) 438-1621, or (337) 438-1651.
      8. Q: If I cannot attend this semester, how will my TOPS scholarship be impacted?
        A:  The Governor has announced a suspension of TOPS rules for students affected by Hurricane Laura. Please view this document (PDF) for details.
      9. Q: Will SOWELA provide any internet access for students to complete classwork? 
        A:  Yes, SOWELA is ordering portable WiFi devices for student use.  More information will become available very soon so that students know how to request use.
      10. Q: How can students purchase books or reach the bookstore with a question?
        A: The bookstore is available by appointment. Students can place orders online at http://sowelabookstore.com/home. The student can text (337) 421-6538 with a request for pickup. A convenient time to meet for order pickup will be arranged.
      11. Q: Why does my loaner hot spot say X number of days left?
        A: The hot spots will automatically renew each month to the end of December. The number displays how many days that are left in this billing cycle. Should you have trouble after the number counts down, please contact help@sowela.edu.