Ferriday technical college expands to community collegePublished 12:01am Friday, July 6, 2012
FERRIDAY — Concordia Parish students wanting to continue their education after high school will have more options starting in January thanks to a recent legislative amendment.
Central Louisiana Technical College, and its six branches, has been granted permission by the Louisiana legislature to begin operating as a community college.
The colleges have been renamed Central Louisiana Technical Community College and are authorized to grant certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and associate transfer degrees.
Ferriday Campus Dean Mignonne Ater said the expansion would allow each branch to offer more programs and degrees to best suit the area’s students.
“This change will allow our college to grow with new programs, while also expanding our existing programs,” Ater said. “We’re extremely excited and proud to be part of this change and offer our current and future students these opportunities.”
The expansion will allow the college to serve as a stepping-stone for students who plan on attending a four-year university by offering developmental education courses that can transfer as credit to those universities.
“By offering those courses, a student could take classes here for one or two years, while still living at home, and enter a four-year university as a junior later down the road,” Ater said. “Our area is one to two hours away from any kind of (Louisiana) community college, so I think this will greatly benefit residents of Concordia Parish.”
While no specific programs or degrees have been decided under the new community college umbrella, Ater said they would be tailored to what is needed in each community.
“We’ll complete feasibility reports and talk to local businesses and industry to determine what programs are in highest demand,” Ater said. “Concordia Parish is always in high demand for (registered nurses), so that will probably be one of the programs we will look to establish.”
But students interested more in the technical programs offered by the college shouldn’t worry about any attention being taken away from their needs.
“Our goal isn’t to diminish the technical programs while expanding the community college programs,” Ater said. “The technical programs will continue to expand and receive just as much attention as the others.”
And while the changes will affect administrators most by having to rebrand their colleges, Ater said students might see an increase in tuition and fees once those programs are offered.
“It is possible that there will be an increase in the tuition and fee schedules, but that’s to be expected with the expansion,” Ater said. “For years, Louisiana had some of the lowest tuition and fees in the Southeast, so now we’re slowly getting back on par with the rest of the region.”
Part of the expansion also included dropping the Shelby M. Jackson from the Ferriday campus name.
Jackson was a former Concordia Parish superintendent and the campus was named in his honor in 1994.
Ater said the decision was strictly for branding and recruiting purposes.
“The decision to drop Shelby M. Jackson from our name was not meant in a dishonoring way at all,” Ater said. “It just allows us to be branded more with the Ferriday area.”
All the colleges will operate under a provisional status until receiving full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which could take three to five years.