LSU evaluates state of higher education cuts as second session begins
BATON ROUGE - Officials at LSU updated the university’s future outlook after lawmakers passed the operating budget over the weekend and head into a second session to try to close holes in state funding.
The bill, which did change much from the version approved by the Senate around a week ago, now heads to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk to be signed into law.
LSU President F. King Alexander issued a statement that covered the main points in the bill that could affect the university.
According to the bill, higher education will receive a $55 million cut. LSU’s portion of those cuts has yet to be determined, according Alexander.
The LSU Health Science Center has an operation shortfall of $39 million which remains unfunded. Another roughly $12 million in reductions to other public colleges and universities has not been restored.
The TOPS scholarship program was cut by around $152 million, which equates to roughly half of the program’s total funding.
LSU’s president notes that it is important to keep in mind that Gov. Edwards has called for a second extraordinary legislative session which started just half an hour after the regular session adjourned on Monday night. The aim of the second extraordinary session is to identify opportunities for the state to generate more revenue that could possibly soften the blow to higher education funding.
F. King Alexander says a great deal of change is possible in the next few weeks as lawmakers continue to work on the state’s budget deficit and search for alternative solutions.
“Unfortunately, we are in for another bumpy few weeks, as headlines will undoubtedly oscillate between various scenarios and potential solutions. Your vocal support and willingness to educate your legislators was and will continue to be critical for the duration of the second special session, which ends at midnight on June 23,” said the release from LSU’s president.