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Fort Polk Families to Receive More Educational Opportunity with SOWELA

Leesville, Louisiana – May 12, 2021

A recent Lake Charles American Press article SACreported that SOWELA Technical Community College will acquire Leesville’s Lamar Salter campus, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

The acquisition will provide Fort Polk soldiers and their families with expanded educational opportunities, through additional degree plans and more flexible credit transfers.

Fort Polk Progress, as part of its Education Initiative, has long had the goal of improving educational opportunities for Fort Polk soldiers and their families as one way to enhance quality of life.

“The Fort Polk Progress Board and I are so thankful that SOWELA could see the value in the investment they have made in our community, and we are looking forward to seeing how far the partnership with the Vernon Parish School Board will go,” said Fort Polk Progress Chairman Rick Allen. “Lamar Salter has been a solid partner, but with the expansion of programs offered by SOWELA we are absolutely sure that the military families at Fort Polk can get the training they need to go into the fields of their choice right here in Vernon Parish, if they choose. We are honored to retain the hero’s from Fort Polk as permanent members of our community.”

“SOWELA is very excited about the acquisition of the Lamar Salter Campus in Leesville. This will provide us the ability to further support the current educational programs and services being offered and allow us to expand educational training opportunities where needed and possible. One great opportunity of this campus acquisition is the chance to work with Fort Polk,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “Since SOWELA is SACSCOC accredited, we can provide the avenue for soldiers to earn credit and then transfer that credit into other higher educational institutions to earn additional or advanced degrees. SOWELA’s enrollment usually includes between 150-200 veterans/soldiers each semester so our hopes are we can further develop partnerships with Fort Polk that will not only benefit the soldiers but also their family members.”

SOWELA Technical Community College is a military-friendly campus with military personnel and veterans receiving priority registration. SOWELA’s Main Campus in Lake Charles houses the Veteran’s Center which is staffed by a LAVetCorps member. The center supports military and veteran students at all SOWELA locations.

SOWELA was recently named WalletHub’s (opens new window) #1 community college in Louisiana for the third straight year. SOWELA is also ranked #27 overall in the entire U.S. out of all 698 community colleges in the rankings. In addition, despite the challenges from COVID-19 and damage from two disastrous hurricanes, SOWELA has achieved a student retention rate of 83.71 percent from the Fall 2020 to the Spring 2021 semester. This is the highest retention rate in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS).

Fort Polk Progress is a regional organization focused on coordinating the efforts of the local communities, the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Congressional delegation on supporting the Army, the mission at Fort Polk, and the quality of life for soldiers and families stationed in Louisiana.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 80 years.