UL System Graduates are Louisiana’s Workforce

Dear Editor,

This month thousands of Louisiana college students will walk across a stage and leave with degrees in hand.  They will join the 123,000 graduates the University of Louisiana System’s eight schools produced over the past 10 years.

Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe awarded 86,681 degrees in Louisiana’s 64 parishes over the past eight years.

That includes 4,147 degrees to residents in East Baton Rouge Parish, 1,069 degrees in Ascension Parish, 2,038 degrees in Livingston Parish, 178 degrees in East Feliciana Parish, 122 degrees in West Feliciana Parish, 164 degrees in West Baton Rouge, 284 degrees in Iberville Parish and 230 degrees in Pointe Coupee Parish, 6,618 degrees to residents in Lafayette Parish, 1,401 degrees in Acadia Parish, 1,887 degrees in Iberia Parish, 1,901 degrees in St. Landry Parish, 1,094 degrees in St. Martin Parish, 1,518 degrees in Vermilion Parish, 222 degrees to residents in Lafourche Parish, 2,878 degrees in Terrebonne Parish, 1,202 degrees in St. Mary Parish, 735 degrees in St. Charles Parish, 436 degrees in Assumption Parish, 436 degrees in St. James Parish, 278 degrees to residents in Jefferson Parish, 1,174 degrees in Orleans Parish, 4,014 degrees in St. Tammany Parish, 723 degrees in St. John the Baptist Parish, 311 in St. Bernard Parish, 202 in Plaquemines Parish, 703 degrees in Washington Parish, 106 degrees in St. Helena Parish, 887 degrees to residents in Rapides Parish, 1,626 degrees in Vernon Parish, 645 degrees in Sabine Parish, 1,859 degrees in Natchitoches Parish, 395 degrees in La Salle Parish, 390 degrees in Grant Parish, 411 in Concordia Parish, 317 in Catahoula Parish, 498 in Avoyelles Parish, 6,305 degrees to residents in Calcasieu Parish, 958 degrees in Jefferson Davis Parish, 882 degrees in Beauregard Parish, 644 degrees in Evangeline Parish, 450 degrees in Allen Parish and 282 degrees in Cameron Parish, 547degrees in Winn Parish, 455 degrees in De Soto Parish, 232 in Red River Parish, 4,267 degrees to residents in Caddo Parish, 2,466 degrees in Bossier Parish, 932 degrees in Webster Parish,  436 degrees in Bienville Parish, 2,910 degrees to residents in Lincoln Parish, 674 degrees in Union Parish, 570 degrees in Jackson Parish, 395 degrees in Claiborne Parish, 6,094 degrees to residents in Ouachita Parish, 858 degrees in Morehouse Parish, 587degrees in Richland Parish, 347 degrees in West Carroll Parish, 95 degrees in Tensas Parish, 264 in Madison Parish, 501 degrees in Franklin Parish, 198 degrees in East Carroll, 219 degrees in Caldwell, and 436 in Assumption Parish.

Chances are you interact with a UL System graduate as our universities lead the state in bachelor’s degrees in education, computer and information sciences, criminal justice, engineering and engineering technology, health professions, public administration and social work, and business, management and marketing.  Approximately two-thirds of UL System graduates remain in the state and make up a large proportion of Louisiana’s professional workforce.

UL System graduates have added $6.5 billion to Louisiana’s economy over the last 10 years, as a result of additional taxable earnings due to degree attainment.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, students graduating with a bachelor’s degree will earn on average $2.1 million in a lifetime.  That grows to $2.5 million for a master’s degree, $3.4 million for a doctoral degree, and $4.4 million for a professional degree.

UL System graduates stimulate the economy beyond earning power.  Research shows college graduates have improved health and longer life expectancies, participate in their communities through service and charitable giving, are more likely to participate in civic activities such as voting, are less likely to participate in crime, and will most likely support the higher education of their children and grandchildren.

With only 20 percent of Louisiana’s citizens holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, the UL System’s spring 2009 graduates will become part of an elite group.  Yes, higher education pays, and in more ways than one.

Randy Moffett, President
University of Louisiana System