How much is the budget reduction?
The Governor’s office released its FY 16 Executive Budget on Feb. 27 to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. The proposed budget includes $581 million in reductions to higher education, equating to a historic 81% cut to Louisiana’s public colleges and universities. The Governor’s office budget includes proposed tax credit changes of $372 million to help offset the cut.
What percentage does the state contribute?
When the recession began, LSU – all campuses – was 74% supported by the state while student tuition and fees made up only 26% of its funding. Currently, LSU is 41% state-supported, with 59% of its funding coming from tuition and fees.
What reductions in state funding are being proposed and why?
- The Governor’s budget was presented on Feb. 27 and includes $581 million in reductions to higher education.
- This represents a historic 81% reduction for Louisiana’s public colleges and universities.
- The Governor’s office budget includes proposed tax credit changes of $372 million to help offset the cut.
- We remain optimistic that the Governor and legislators – working with higher education leaders – will find solutions to help protect the investment that has already been made in higher education in Louisiana.
When will a decision be made about the budget and who makes it?
The Governor’s Executive Budget was released on Feb. 27, but it is not final or binding. Final deliberations and decisions will be made during the 2015 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, which is scheduled to begin on April 13 and end on June 11. No decisions about specific reductions are being made at this time.
Which programs and areas are likely to be cut?
Each LSU campus is in the process of analyzing what such cuts would mean to their campus. The fundamental principles will be to safeguard our mission of education, research, and service as much as possible. It is unfortunate that the higher education planning cycle for next year occurs BEFORE the legislature begins. LSU will have to make preliminary decisions not knowing what the outcome of the session will be.
What solutions are being proposed?
- While we support the Governor’s proposals to help offset much of the reductions, we also have to take the initiative to identify and support LSU-specific solutions so that we remain nationally competitive. It is clear that the proposed higher education budget cut requires that we accelerate efforts to change our funding model. We started that process with the implementation of structural changes in the University’s organizational model and operational autonomies in risk management and purchasing that are generating recurring savings.
- A significant part of the long-term solution for LSU’s future is gaining additional control over institutional operations. Having greater autonomy over fee revenue and operational areas across the institution such as risk management, purchasing, benefits and construction projects will allow us to protect our obligations to our faculty and staff, stabilize revenues and realize savings that can be directed to our highest priorities of enhancing the quality of education, advancing innovative research and solving Louisiana’s most pressing problems. These autonomies, coupled with the commitment of recurring revenue for higher education generated from changes in state tax credits, would significantly improve the long-term stability and predictability of funding for LSU.
What can I do?
- Your continued support of LSU is greatly appreciated. As President Alexander recently said, “Information discussed publicly about this issue is difficult to hear, and it feels quite personal to all of us, but I ask you to remain positive and continue the great work you do in service to our students as they are the reason we are here.”
- LSU administration will work to keep you informed of budget updates. In the meantime, if you have ideas or questions, please visit Share Your Ideas.
- Several groups exist to support LSU and higher education. LSU Student Government formed the Unite Louisiana group, the LSU Alumni Association established Tiger Advocates, and the Louisiana Flagship Coalition exists to support LSU.
Why is LSU still renovating and constructing buildings on campus?
Construction and renovation funds are typically provided by the state Legislature, by private donors, or through student fees. This type of funding is restricted to use for new buildings or renovations to existing buildings and cannot be used to cover budget shortfalls. Often, it takes as many as 10 years for these projects to get fully funded, so buildings being built or renovated now may have been in the works for a decade.
Does the Athletic Department use money that could be spent on academics?
No. None of the athletic departments in the LSU system use state tax dollars. LSUA, LSUE, and LSUS charge a modest student athletics fee. The LSU Athletic Department donates millions of dollars to the university each year in support of academics.