Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Technology, Welding, Surgical Technology and Practical Nursing Programs All Post Strong Gains of 30% or More
(Lake Charles, Louisiana – February 15, 2023)
SOWELA’s Spring 2023 enrollment bucked a downward national trend and experienced an increase in enrollment of 9% year-over-year. Nationally, according to the latest data from Higher Education Today, enrollment at universities and colleges is only expected to grow by 1.5%.
SOWELA’s Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Technology program saw the largest increase at 85% followed by Welding at 49%, Surgical Technology at 35.7% and Practical Nursing at 30%. The enrollment increase can be attributed to several reasons; some of those being: strong student support services, no increase in tuition or fees for the past seven years, instructional programs tied directly to the workforces needs of the region, and the acquisition of the Lamar Salter Campus in Leesville.
With this semester’s enrollment gains, SOWELA is nearing its historic enrollment record from the Fall 2019 semester before the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Laura.
“After a few years of enrollment decline or flat enrollment because of COVID and the many natural disasters the region suffered, SOWELA’s enrollment is beginning to rebound,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “The enrollment increases are the result of a strategic focus on instructional program areas that are directly tied to the workforce needs in the region. In addition to this focus, targeted marketing and advertising is created and implemented in order to attract students to SOWELA. However, marketing and advertising is no good unless the right student support services (i.e., counseling, scholarships, food pantry, tutoring, early warning systems that identify students who need help long before they stop/drop out) are provided on a regular basis to the students we serve.”
SOWELA offers more than 30 technical and academic programs including Practical Nursing, Machine Tool Technology, Culinary Arts, Drafting and Design Technology, Surgical Technology, Accounting Technology and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training.
SOWELA was recently named #1 community college in Louisiana by Niche. SOWELA is also nationally recognized as a “Great College to Work For” by the Great Colleges to Work For program and ranked #36 on the “Top 100 Community Colleges in America” by Stacker.
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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.