BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Southern University has a new plan to increase enrollment. There are more than 6,000 students at Southern, and now there's a new plan to attract more students from across the country.
In the next five years or so, Southern University chancellor James Llorens hopes classrooms will be at full capacity. He says constant tuition hikes have lead to a decline in student enrollment. The increased tuition is toughest on students from out of state.
"That extra $2,000 that we pay in out-of-state fees puts a damper in their pockets," said Justin Evans, a senior from Houston.
But the university has a new plan to help potential students cross state lines to join the Jaguar Nation.
"Last year we implemented a policy, for the first time, of all out-of-state students, if they met certain GPA requirements of a 3.0 GPA and a 22 ACT score then we would wave out-of-state fees," said Llorens.
Llorens says this year, the university added another waiver for students from Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas: no out-of-state fees if they have a 2.7 GPA and a 20 on the ACT.
"It's important for us as a university to have a diverse population geographically," said Llorens. "Even though we realize we're a Louisiana public institution, we're here to serve the students of Louisiana...we're also here to serve the regional and national population."
While the change only applies to incoming students, some current Jaguars say it's one that is much needed.
"I wish they could've did it earlier. Maybe I would have been able to benefit from it, or my friends would be able to benefit from it. But hopefully it will help out with attracting different students from different areas to come to Southern," said Dmitrius McGruder, a senior from Atlanta.
The waiver doesn't come without some added responsibility. If at any time a student's GPA drops below the requirements, those out-of-state fees will be reinstated.
Chancellor Llorens says some schools in Mississippi and the University of New Orleans have also recently done away with out of state fees.