ALEXANDRIA, La., (WNTZ) — If federal student-centered innovations emerge over the next few years, you may have members of Congress and the Louisiana Council of Student Body Presidents (COSBP) to thank. Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) Student Government Executive President Stephen Gatch was part of an annual initiative connecting students with members of Congress. Every year the Louisiana Board of Regents, Louisiana Community & Technical College System, COSBP, and the other Systems of Higher Education meet with United States congressional leaders to dialogue on issues and opportunities for students.

Gatch joined student government leaders in late January to meet with state officials in Washington, D.C., including Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, as well as 5th Congressional District Representative Julia Letlow.

“I had a question about student financial assistance and provided a few suggestions, and Sen. Bill Cassidy and Rep. Julia Letlow were very interested,” Gatch said. Under the current system, students applying for federal financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which looks at a variety of factors.

This trip was the Grant Parish native’s first visit to the nation’s capital. “It was a great experience. I got to see all of the artwork, statues, and paintings. We went to the White House. We got to see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and go to the Smithsonian. The students were also able to go to the Mardi Gras Ball,” Gatch said.

CLTCC Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Sawtelle said the college is pleased to be able to provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for student leaders. “We are very grateful to Louisiana’s members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate for taking time to meet with Stephen and COSBP. It truly is a win-win as it allows our student leaders to see how government works at the national level and gives our elected officials an opportunity to hear first-hand about the issues that affect our students and our community.”

While Gatch’s visit to Washington D.C. ignited his interest in the inner workings of Congress, his
current focus remains on his course of study at CLTCC. He is currently taking classes in instrumentation and electrical technology as well as cloud computing is on track to earn certifications this summer.

“Right now, I’m not fixated on a specific job,” he said. “I’m focused on expanding my skills. I don’t want to stop learning.”

For information about enrollment visit For more information, contact the school via email at or call 800-278-9855.

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is a two-year technical and community college offering associate degrees, technical diplomas, industry certificates, and customized training in more than 20 disciplines to support local workforce development and prepare students for high-demand and high-wage careers. CLTCC serves seven parishes in Central Louisiana through its five campuses and provides instruction in one state prison and one federal correctional institution. For more information, visit