Higher education incentive fund bill nears passage
BATON ROUGE - A new higher education incentive fund sought by Gov. Bobby Jindal to direct money to high-demand degree and worker training programs would be created, under a bill nearing final legislative passage.
The bill by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, would set up the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, called the WISE Fund. The Senate Finance Committee agreed without objection Monday to the proposal.
Dollars for the fund would have to be allocated through the separate budget process, and Jindal proposes $40 million for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal year. That money is included in the House-backed version of the budget.
A council that includes higher education system leaders and the state economic development and labor secretaries would decide how to divvy up money across campuses, and the Board of Regents would make the final decision.
Each campus wouldn't be guaranteed a slice of the money. To get the dollars, schools would have to work with private businesses and get a funding match.
The bill heads next to the full Senate for consideration.