UNO boasts $470 million in total spending in economic impact study _lowres

Advocate Staff Photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Jennifer Elaine Grace smiles as she receives her doctorate in educational administration at the 2016 commencement ceremony for the University of New Orleans at UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Louisiana students reliant upon TOPS got a big wake-up call at the end of the recent special session when legislators only funded the popular scholarship program at 70 percent for the upcoming school year. Because of these cuts, a college education just became even more expensive for many families across our state. But for those students in the New Orleans metro area, there may be a silver lining or, rather, a better option for a quality, affordable education right here at home.

As a University of New Orleans graduate who’s built a business and a career in the local economy, I think too often people overlook my alma mater as the great educator of our metropolitan workforce. Just about everywhere you look you’ll find UNO graduates working and living in New Orleans — more than 40,000 alumni live in the metro New Orleans region. There’s a reason for that. UNO offers many great programs that prepare students for productive and successful careers right here in our city. Whether its naval architecture or marine engineering, hospitality and tourism, tech and innovation, film and music, or urban planning, UNO is a great institution of higher learning, and more local New Orleanians should appreciate it for all that it has to offer. With changes to the TOPS scholarship program, I think UNO has become an even more attractive option for students from our region.

The new New Orleans offers great opportunities for our young people. While other parts of America are struggling, New Orleans is vibrant and growing. We’ve created an environment that is attracting people from all over the country. An entrepreneurial spirit is pervasive, and new start-ups are being incubated by creative young minds who’ve found inspiration in our unique culture.

Visitors are coming from all corners of the nation and spending record amounts of money. It’s an exciting time, and it’s a reason to stay at home and be a part of that excitement. With cuts to TOPS, it makes a lot of sense to consider UNO for your college education. It’s much more affordable than other options outside of our region, and it can give students exactly what they need to be successful right here at home.

Roy M. Carubba

president, Carubba Engineering, Inc.