Southeastern Louisiana University is launching a scholarship program designed to help students finish degree programs after their financial aid or scholarship eligibility runs out.

Whitney National Bank has donated $10,000 toward the university’s Completer Scholarships program intended to raise money for students who are in their fifth or sixth year of study and/or within one year of graduation.

Wendy Lauderdale, Southeastern’s vice president for university advancement, said that more than 80 percent of the university’s students receive some form of financial aid. After four years, those students lose their eligibility for scholarships offered through the Southeastern Foundation and the state’s scholarship program known as TOPS, or the Taylor Opportunity Programs for Students.

“The reality is many of today’s university students take longer than the traditional four-year plan to complete requirements for a degree,” Lauderdale said in a statement. “We’re hoping this initiative will help some of these students attain their higher education goals, allowing them the potential to be more successful in their careers and the workforce.”

The Completer Scholarships initiative will be funded through support from private, foundation and corporate gifts. Call the Southeastern Advancement Office at (985) 549-2239 for more information.