TO: LSU Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM: William Jenkins, Interim Chancellor
DATE: March 21, 2013
There are two significant developments this week that I want to discuss with you.
The presidential search committee has identified a highly qualified candidate to serve as the new President of LSU, a position that combines the leadership position of the System and the University. Dr. F. King Alexander, current president of California State University Long Beach, is the candidate and there will be opportunity to meet with him today and tomorrow.
Also, the Board of Supervisors received a report on the proposed FY2013-14 budget for the LSU System and the University. This presentation was based on the governor’s preliminary executive budget and Board of Regents formula allocation, which is likely to change during the legislative session. The state general funding portion of the proposed budget was partially allocated through the higher education formula, which was modified from previous years and approved at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.
Here is what we know so far. First, the proposed FY2013-14 state funding to higher education is less than this year than last year. The result was that the Regents had less money to apply through the funding formula, yielding $23 million less in state appropriations for LSU next year.
Second, LSU will generate $27 million in gross tuition revenue resulting in what will appear to be a budget increase of about $4 million. However, there’s a difference between gross and net tuition revenue due to the need to provide roughly $5 million in financial aid. The net tuition revenue will not cover the reduction in state funds.
Third, even if the budget is relatively flat as a result of increased tuition revenue, other costs that LSU must incur will require some internal reallocations. Those other costs include unfunded mandates, facility costs and replacement of one-time funds used to plug the holes in last year’s budget. The proposed budget does not address the need for cost-of-living salary increases for faculty and staff that other major research universities are offering.
As a flagship institution, LSU must compete in the national marketplace. Our national peer institutions are emerging from the recession and making investments into physical and human resources that will make them stronger in years to come. For LSU to do the same, we need the resources to make that happen.
If the state is unable to provide the financial support necessary for a top-tier research university, then the Board and the University should be granted tuition and fee authority and other flexibilities to make comparable investments like other states are making in their flagships. We need this so that we can maintain a high-quality experience for students in Louisiana and beyond, an intellectually challenging academic setting for faculty, and a dynamic and rewarding work environment for our staff.
It is very early in the budget process and you will continue to receive updates from this office as we learn more about LSU’s financial future. As we prepare to welcome a new president and we watch budget developments closely, it is important for you to be informed about your university. Visit www.lsu.edu/budget for more detailed information or to share your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns.