Budget Cuts Could Mean Big Changes For LSU
When they're trying to get elected politicians will often speak of the importance of education. Once they're elected it sure seems like education is the first place the people we elected like to take money away from. If I didn't know better I would swear some of these guys aren't telling the truth all the time. Speaking of the truth, here is the truth. If you're a student or the parent of a student who attends college in Louisiana you're about to have to pay more and probably be offered less.
Let's look at LSU at Baton Rouge, the state's flagship university. The President of LSU, F. King Alexander, says the proposed $65 million dollar cut in funding for the university will have devastating effects. He is suggesting that this shortfall will mean a rather large increase in student fees and a significant reduction of faculty and courses. He estimates hundreds of faculty members could lose their positions if the shortfall is not covered.
The question you have to ask yourself is F. King Alexander painting an accurate picture or is he painting a worst case scenario to avoid losing money in his budget? Barry Erwin, President of the Council for a Better Louisiana told the Louisiana Radio Network,
People are going to be saying this is what we’ve been trying to avoid, we’ve got to do something so that something like this doesn’t happen. The others are going to say well it’s scare tactics to get us to vote for taxes.
In his comments Alexander eluded to staff and faculty reductions. Those cuts wouldn't just happen in Baton Rouge but in New Orleans and in Shreveport too. Erwin suggests that Alexander's staff reductions might be necessary if the budget cuts were prolonged and not for the short term.
You go where the money is and the money in healthcare, it’s hard to give that up because the federal dollars are taxed to it, so where do you go? Higher education. What does it look like when you do it? About what LSU described.
What if the money just isn't there? What is the reality that students and parents of students will be facing? According to President Alexander that just can't happen.
People who are paying the bill are tired of that, legislators I think are tired of it too. We’ve just got to find a way to fix this problem where everybody contributes, not just the students.
Dr. Alexander's office speculates that the average increase in fees for students attending LSU would increase by as much as $690 if this worst case budget scenario was allowed to happen.