WISE Council Approves UL System Campus Plans for $9.5 Million

83% in Match Funding Brings Total Investment to $17.4 million

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Council today approved the University of Louisiana System’s campus plans for $9.5 million of state funding for workforce and research initiatives.  Pending final approval by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the UL System’s nine universities can move forward with plans to grow student enrollment and graduates in high demand workforce fields as outlined in their WISE plans.

University of Louisiana System President Sandra K. Woodley presented the campus plans.  “As the largest higher education system in the state, this investment in our universities coupled with the 83 percent match funding will significantly help Louisiana close the workforce gaps.  I am particularly proud of the high level of private industry support that will go towards new faculty and staff positions, scholarships, technology upgrades, and incentivizing research,” said Woodley.

Members of the WISE Council were complimentary of the UL System’s plans.

Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said, “I want to compliment the UL System on its presentation and plans that addressed every point that we needed to approve with tremendous clarity and vision.”

“I agree,” said Stephen Moret, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development.  “I went over the proposals in detail and thought they were everything they should be.”

To download the UL System’s presentation and campus WISE plans, visit www.ulsystem.edu/WISE.


Combined, the UL System’s plans will grow enrollment by 4,984 and degree completion by 1,167 in the following high demand fields by 2018:

  • Engineering and Engineering Technology (workforce gap of 2,866)
  • Computer and Information Sciences (workforce gap of 377)
  • Accounting, Business, Finance, and Marketing (workforce gap of 3,363)
  • Health Professions and Clinical Sciences (workforce gap of 2,477)


One of the key strategies to grow enrollment and degrees in high demand fields is to invest WISE and match funding in scholarships.  UL System schools are leveraging $1.9 million with private matches for a total of $2.8 million in scholarships for low-to-moderate income students, first-generation students, adult student, and community college transfers to earn a degree in one of the high demand fields.


Seven of the nine universities will use WISE and match funding to enhance instructional labs with upgraded software, hardware, and equipment; renovate and furnish classrooms with state-of-the-art “smart” technology; and open centers for workforce development and cyber security (at Grambling State University).


UL System schools went well beyond the 20 percent match requirement for WISE, securing $7.9 million in private monies to supplement the $9.5 million WISE funds.  The 83 percent match funding includes 59 percent, or $5.6 million, in cash matches, bringing the WISE investment grand total to $17.4 million for the UL System’s nine universities.  Below is the breakdown by campus.


Total Match

% Match

Total Investment

Grambling State University

 $            414,027

 $     364,838


 $        778,910

Louisiana Tech University

 $        1,633,088

 $  2,300,000


 $     3,933,088

McNeese State University

 $            667,997

 $     133,600


 $        801,597

Nicholls State University

 $            476,208

 $        95,242


 $        571,450

Northwestern State University

 $            676,208

 $     317,650


 $        993,858

Southeastern Louisiana University

 $            965,102

 $     522,750


 $    1,487,852

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

 $        2,012,458

 $  1,322,058


 $    3,334,515

University of Louisiana at Monroe

 $            787,732

 $     585,000


 $    1,372,732

University of New Orleans

 $        1,866,052

 $  2,277,000


 $    4,143,052


 $        9,498,871

 $  7,918,138


 $  17,417,009


Act 803 of the Louisiana Legislature’s 2014 Regular Session established the WISE Fund to increase degree and certificate production in high demand fields and spur additional research and innovation in alignment with industry needs.  The UL System’s share of the $36.5 million WISE Fund distribution totals $9.5 million.  In order to receive its distribution, each campus implementation plan must first be approved by the UL System, then the WISE Council and Louisiana Board of Regents.

For more information about the WISE Council, visit http://regents.louisiana.gov/slider/wise/.   


ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana enrolling almost 89,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.