01/11 - Saving Higher Education

Can the state’s higher education system withstand more budget cuts?

With the state facing a one point six billion dollar shortfall next fiscal year, higher ed leaders have been preparing for a worst case scenario cut of 32 percent of their state support.. But Governor Jindal is trying to grant higher education a bit of a last minute reprieve. Through the controversial use of one time funds, the sale of state property and privatizing some services, the governor is now proposing to cut one third of what administrators initially feared. Can the state’s higher education system withstand more budget cuts? And how can the state’s postsecondary education system become more efficient while still remaining effective? Watch “Saving Higher Education” on Louisiana Public Square ONLINE!

Backgrounder

As state revenues have declined over the last two years, funding for higher education has been cut nearly $310 million. Just a month ago, university and college administrators were determining how to slash another 32% from their budgets in a “worst case scenario” exercise to cope with the state’s current $1.6 billion budget shortfall. On January 10th, Governor Bobby Jindal said he is optimistic that Higher Ed funding cuts will be less than 10 percent. While the details won’t be available until the Governor releases his budget on March 11th, Jindal has indicated he is exploring ways to generate cash by selling state prisons, privatizing a state employee health plan and getting an upfront portion of the future growth in lottery proceeds. But some of these solutions will involve the use of one-time funds, leaving a funding gap again next year. So, how are universities and colleges preparing for what appears to be an ongoing decrease in funding? And what recommendations are out there on how they can operate more efficiently and effectively?

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Our son, Joseph is a UNO student. We chose UNO after cafeful consideration, research and college visits to many universities. UNO has the best work ethic and general attitude about education and it’s students. It is hard to describe. I am afraid that you will be losing it’s “soul” for lack of a better word by merging.We did not see this at any other college. 
Joseph is receiving his Masters in Bioinfomatics. He received TOPS and a academic scholarship from UNO. He worked at SPAWAR and is currently an RA. He was planning on getting his doctoriate. But has since changed his mind because of the discussion of merging. He is now thinking about going to another state to complete his education. I am concerned that he will not come back to Louisiana. His fiance is a UNO grad also, that may not be returning. We lose too many of our graduates already to other states. Have you considered the impact that this merger will have on the current and future students?
I understand finances, I am a business owner, but there has to be another alternative. I also understand politics and “pork barrels”.

Posted by Gail Coco  on  01/26  at  08:30 PM
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