For those seeking higher education opportunities, it’s a good time to be a Louisiana student. Recently, CLTCC – the Central Louisiana Technical Community College – was approved for federal student loan funding.

The CLTCC has offered various degrees for those looking to expand their skill sets and learn trades. The offering of associate degrees and industry certifications have been critical to the success of hard working individuals, but many have been limited regarding available funds for courses. With rising costs related to inflation and standards of living, high-school graduates face limited options when it comes to well-paying jobs.

Federal loans, however, promise to make a big change for future hopefuls.

Federal student loans are offered by the government to help individuals seeking education past high school. Typically, they are subsidized and unsubsidized amounts with varying interest rates, based on the student’s financial background and amount requested in loans. However, Federal loans are offered for specific institutions. Most colleges and universities have them, but as was the case with CLTCC, some technical or community colleges do not.

Before, the CLTCC alumni relied on the Pell Grant to pay for academic expenses. In most cases students were able to afford curriculum costs, but not enough to cover other purchases such as tuition books. Despite community college having some the lowest tuition rates in the United States, many potential students still inquired about federal and private student loans.

Even with low tuition rates, other factors caused high-school graduates to dismiss higher education. Housing costs and inflation added to various expenses such as food and personal items, especially in parts of Louisiana. Since CLTCC does not offer dorms, students would be responsible for their own room situations. This might require staying with family which would incur expenses related to school commutes. Or, potential students would have to rent nearby apartments, which is its own heavy financial burden.

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Providing students with loans, however, assures that students can focus on education and handle any costs related to education or personal needs.

These new financial aid programs will begin August at the start of the Fall Semester. Loans will be released to students attending CLTCC and their Lamar Salter secondary campus. Those who are concerned about time are still encouraged to fill out a loan application, as the process is expedited when online.

High school graduates looking to attend CLTCC will simply need to fill out the FAFSA. They are not subjected to a credit check and only need to electronically sign the MPN – the master promissory note. Kelly Caruso, head of the financial department at CLTCC, emphasized the speed of the process, encouraging potential students to seek higher education goals now that increased funding is available. She also discussed the importance of responsibility of repaying loans post-graduation, detailing the consequences for defaulting on student loans.

New or returning students are encouraged to go to the main website and learn about the application process directly.

Classes for CLTCC will commence August 22nd, 2016 for its main and sister campuses.