Higher education leaders made their case during a legislative budget hearing to not cut state funding to public colleges. Governor John Bel Edwards proposed budget calls for a 17-million dollar reduction in funding for campuses. Louisiana Community and Technical College President Monty Sullivan says their institutions can’t keep doing more with less.
“We’re reaching a point where we have a tough time doing less with less. More with less is not likely to happen,” Sullivan said.
Since 2008, Louisiana has reduced state funding to its public colleges by 700-million dollars. President F King Alexander says the LSU School system is looking at its 17th cut in nine-and-a-half years.
“It places us around 46th in the country in per student spending among 50 flagship institutions, which means that we’re on the bottom of the list when it comes to per student spending,” Alexander said.
Alexander says despite their money troubles, LSU ranks 24th among flagship institutions for its graduation rate. TOPS is also not fully funded in the governor’s proposed budget. Alexander says students are accepting scholarships to out of state schools as a result.
“Parents and students get a little queasy about this topic. We’re starting to see them more readily accept these out of state offers that give them comparable scholarship offers because of the uncertainty of TOPS,” Alexander said.
The hearing on finances for higher ed went on for hours, but it’s too early in the session to tell if legislators can spend more on Louisiana colleges.