• You are potentially eligible for admission or readmission if you are nineteen years old or younger as of September 30th of the current academic year, or if you are twenty years or younger as of September 30th of the current academic year and you have enough credits to be classified as a senior.
  • Persons with disabilities may receive a public school education up to age 22.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an education plan that is developed to meet the specific and unique needs of a child with a disability through direct special education and related services. A student with a disability has the right to an IEP.
Disabled students who are eligible for an IEP can stay in school until high school graduation, or through the end of the school year in which you turn 22.
Louisiana requires students to attend school from age 7 to 18, or until you graduate from high school if under 18. Students are required to attend school regularly and must attend at least 167 days to earn credit and be eligible for promotion to the next grade.
In Louisiana there are many options. Louisiana has community colleges, career schools, four-year public colleges and universities, and four-year private colleges and universities.
  • Community College: Community or junior college awards associate degrees and sometimes certificates in traditional fields such as pre-engineering, film making, veterinarian technology, paralegal, video game design, nursing, construction management, accounting, and many others. Community and junior colleges are similar, except that a junior college is usually a private school.
    • Louisiana’s community colleges are “open admissions” institutions, which means they have an unselective and non-competitive college admissions process. New applicants generally must take the COMPASS Placement Test to determine their level of college readiness. Because costs are often lower and admission is more open at two-year colleges, many students begin their college careers here.
    • If you plan to attend a two-year college and transfer to a four-year college, you should make sure your community college courses will transfer to those colleges that you are interested in and that your courses will count toward your bachelor’s degree.
  • Career Schools (also known as technical, vocational, or trade schools): Career schools may be public or private, although many are for-profit businesses. They typically offer programs that are two years or less and provide students with formal classes and hands-on experience related to their future career interests.
    • Technical schools teach the science behind the occupation, while vocational schools focus on hands-on application of skills needed to do the job. You may earn a diploma or a certificate, prepare for a licensing exam, or study to begin work as an apprentice or journeyman in a skilled trade.
  • Four-Year Colleges and Universities: Students who attend a four-year college or university typically earn a bachelor’s degree once they have successfully completed a program of study, which usually takes about four years. A college usually offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in the arts (such as English, history, drama, etc.) or sciences (such as biology, computer science, engineering, etc.). Four-year colleges and universities may be public or private. Public schools are operated or funded by state and local governments. Private schools are not affiliated with a government organization, but may be affiliated with a private foundation or religious groups. Since private schools receive less or no money from state and local governments, they generally cost more than attending a public school in your state. Because costs can vary significantly from school to school, you should make sure to research all of the schools you are interested in.
    • Financial aid options: There are many types of financial aid: grants, scholarships, work study, and loans. Aid can come from the U.S. federal government, the state of Louisiana, the college you attend, or a nonprofit or private organization. Financial aid is awarded by need or merit. Financial aid can be used to pay for a variety of school expenses including: tuition, room and board, and books and supplies.
    • Grants and scholarships: Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based. Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Do your research, apply for any grants or scholarships you might be eligible for, and be sure to meet application deadlines! Occasionally you may have to pay back all or part of a grant if, for example, you drop out of school before finishing some enrollment periods (such as a semester).
    • Loans: A student loan is just like any other loan; it is borrowed money that needs to be repaid with interest. If you plan to take out a loan, consider federal student loans first because they offer fixed interest rates and flexible repayment plans.
    • Work-study: This is a federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses.
    • Need-based aid: Eligibility for this type of aid is based solely on the assets and income of the prospective student and his or her family. Test scores or athletic ability do not affect need-based aid. All federal student aid is need-based. To apply for federal student aid, you need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online at After you fill out a FAFSA form you will receive an award letter from every school you are accepted to that you list on the FAFSA form. This letter will explain the federal and nonfederal aid a school will offer you.
    • Merit-based aid: Merit includes a variety of talents and interests: academic, artistic, athletic, and so on. Scholarships are the most common type of merit–based aid (though some do have a need-based component), which may come from the school or from outside sources. Assuming need is not a condition. A student with extensive assets and income is just as entitled to a merit-based award as a student with limited assets and income.
  • The Youth Challenge Program (YCP) is a free, alternative, 17-month educational program for Louisiana residents between 16 to 18 years of age. The program offers a non-traditional school setting where you learn self-discipline, leadership, and responsibility, while working to obtain a high school equivalency diploma. There is no tuition cost to participate in the program. Students live on the school campus for five months of the program. All uniform, meal, educational, and housing costs are provided free of charge. After graduation, students are assisted by YCP case managers and community mentors to continue their education, enroll in college, begin job training, find employment, or enlist in the military.
  • Although YCP is administered by The Louisiana National Guard, graduates are not required to join the military.

Louisiana State Bar Association
601 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 421-LSBA(5722) / (504) 566-1600