New Orleans, La. – Governor Jindal says the transfer will be a better match for U-N-O to work alongside similar research facilities instead of under the flagship Louisiana State University. It comes after he failed to persuade lawmakers to merge UNO with Southern University of New Orleans, which was loudly opposed by that school's faculty and students. After the signing ceremony, Jindal said he still expects SUNO to improve its student retention and graduation rates.
"SUNO is the only school in the state where over 50 percent of the students don't make it from their first to their second year. We as a state rank 13th worst in the country in what we spend on state dollars in terms of students who drop out with a year or less of education. Over the last six years alone we've spent over $200 million on kids who dropped out with a year or less of education. That's bad for those students. It's bad for taxpayers. It's not sustainable. So if we want to continue to grow our economy. If we want to continue to do a better job for students, we've got to improve the status quo."
UNO Acting Chancellor Joe King says new programs are planned to help students stay in school.
"We're developing a student success center, retention programs for students, student help programs, math tutor labs, English tutoring and so forth. So when students come in to the university we can tell them where to go to get help and they're not just lost in the system because we have a lot of first-generation students that don't particularly know where to go."
LSU President John Lombardi has discharged the search committee for a UNO chancellor, saying the UL system should be in charge of its own process. The transition plan now must be approved by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, which is expected at its December meeting.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming