Education leaders look for alternative to failed amendment
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana higher education leaders wanted the right to raise tuition on their own, instead of going through the state legislature. In Tuesday's election, voters said no.
Many students said they were glad it failed, but higher education leaders say a big problem has been left unresolved.
"We're trying to get the decision-making authority down where it should be," Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo explained.
Louisiana is almost unique in the way it requires state lawmakers to sign off on tuition hikes. Rallo wanted to cut out the middleman, but voters rejected the plan.
"The people had their opportunity to speak their voice," he said, "and we respect that. But at the same time, the issue of funding higher education is not going to go away."
"I don't think they should raise tuition because it's already high enough," an LSU student said.
"I think the state would be the better judge because I don't trust the college," LSU international student Daniel Gomez acknowledged.
Rallo says the authority to raise tuition could help regional colleges. For example, raising tuition at LSU might incentivise Louisaina students from areas outside of Baton Rouge to attend a closer university, bringing more money to those campuses and making them less expensive for taxpayers.
"We're going to work with out legislative colleague to see if we can craft something to give them some flexibility," Rallo said.
Louisiana college students face another cut in January, nearly one-third of TOPS scholarships.
The number of people in Louisiana who voted against the proposal is about equal to the number of people who voted for Donald Trump.