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Expanding LSCO may be possible during the next session

By Dawn Burleigh

Texas Senator Robert Nichols was in Orange on Thursday and met with Dr. Thomas Johnson, president at Lamar State College Orange (LSCO) regarding future higher education plans and expansion at LSCO.

“We are laying the groundwork for the next session on how we can meet the needs of our region,” Johnson said.

The institute of higher education is seeing record numbers for enrollment this summer due to the tuition reduction passed last year, a proponent Dade Phelan was instrumental in making happen.

Last year the number of students was 3,003 in 2019 compared to 3,309 in 2020, a 10 percent increase. Increased students is also increasing the number of contact hours and credit hours students are obtaining while attending the college.

Students took 42,751 total credit hours in 2019 compared to 48,642 in 2020. That is almost 14-percent increase.

Nichols was also asked to serve on the Policy and Advocacy Workgroup, at the capital, where the goal is to determine the changes needed in federal and state laws and regulations related to connectivity.

“I have and will continue to do my part in advocating for the needs of Senate District 3, which I represent,” Nichols said.

As many students are now studying from home, the lack of resources has become more apparent for students of all ages.

LSCO also used funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in early April and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund within the Act to help students who suffered financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

The application requires students to describe how they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they will use the funds, if they receive them.

The program also offered all students tuition and fees for two 3-credit hour courses in the Summer 2020 semester.

The program also helped increase Summer enrollment by 57-percent.