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SOWELA Bucks Downward National Trend and Records 11% Year-Over-Year Enrollment Uptick for Spring 2022 Semester


SOWELA’s Retention Rate From Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 Also Leads State at 82%

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – February 3, 2022)

Despite the colossal challenges from COVID-19 and the massive rebuilding after two disastrous hurricanes, SOWELA’s Spring 2022 enrollment bucked a downward national trend and experienced an increase in enrollment of 11% year-over-year. Nationally, two-year college enrollment rates have fallen by 3 to 5% for three consecutive semesters.

SOWELA’s Machine Tool Technology program saw the largest increase at 133.3% followed by Forest Technology at 57.1%, Industrial Electrical Technology at 46.4% and Culinary Arts at 39.0%.

SOWELA also recorded the highest retention rate in the state of Louisiana from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 at 82%. This retention rate is the best semester-over-semester retention rate of any community college in the entire state of Louisiana with community colleges in the state reporting an average retention rate during the same semester-to-semester period of 78.82%. SOWELA has led all Louisiana community college retention rates from Spring to Fall since 2020.

In addition to the highest retention rate in the state, SOWELA was recently named WalletHub’s (opens new window) #1 community college in Louisiana for the fourth straight year and nationally recognized as a Great College to Work For. SOWELA is also ranked #36 on the “Top 100 Community Colleges in America” by Stacker.

“Even in the midst of great adversity during the past two years, SOWELA has managed to remain focused and continue to provide the quality educational programming along with great support services not only for the students but also for our faculty and staff,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “The ability to achieve growth when other higher educational institutions are still experiencing decline is a testament to the dedication of every SOWELA employee who shows up each day to ensure that we achieve our mission of workforce development. The best days for SOWELA still lie ahead.”

SOWELA is currently offering online, hybrid and in-person options dependent on course availability and requirements since it began the Spring 2022 semester. SOWELA’s main campus is in Lake Charles with satellite campuses in Jennings, Oakdale and Leesville, which is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SOWELA offers more than 30 technical and academic programs including Practical Nursing, Machine Tool Technology, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, Surgical Technology, Accounting Technology and Forest Technology.

For more information or to apply online, visit this page. Anyone needing additional assistance can contact onestop@sowela.edu for more information.

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.