UL System Campuses Facing a Combined $105.7 Million Cut
BATON ROUGE – The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System will hold a special meeting in Baton Rouge on Monday, May 21, 2012 to discuss the repercussions of pending legislation that would dramatically reduce funding for colleges and universities.
WHAT: UL System Board of Supervisors Special Meeting
WHEN: 2 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2012
WHERE: Room 1-100, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
If the budget bill (HB1) currently moving through the Louisiana Legislature is not amended the University of Louisiana System’s nine universities are slated to lose $105.7 million in state appropriations. This will bring the UL System’s total state funding reductions since Fiscal Year 2008/09 (including recently acquired UNO) to $293 million (54 percent). As the current budget proposal stands, total reductions in state general fund support for all of higher education since FY 2008/09 would reach $585 million.
“Over the last couple of days you have heard from our university presidents calling these proposed cuts ‘catastrophic’ and ‘devastating.’ They are not exaggerating. If nothing is done, we are facing a very real possibility of several campuses declaring financial exigency, which is a measure of last resort,” said UL System President Randy Moffett.
“Our campuses have already cut non-essential services. With reductions of this magnitude, our board and campus leaders need to have some frank discussions about next steps,” said UL System Board Chair Wayne Parker.
Over 70 percent of the State of Louisiana’s operating budget is protected through constitutional or statutory dedications, federal mandates, and unavoidable obligations. Higher education does not enjoy any constitutional protection from cuts. Consequently, when the state faces significant shortfalls, higher education, along with healthcare, takes the brunt of the reductions.
“Higher education has been notified that of the $268 million shortfall in the budget for next year, $134 million will be taken from our allocations. This is in addition to the $71 that higher education was already notified would be removed in HB1,” said Moffett.
Over the past four years, reductions to higher education have been mitigated in part by one-time funding and raising tuition and fees. Even with modest increases in tuition over the last few years, it has not been enough to close the gap in funding. Since FY 2008/09, the UL System’s net total funding reduction would be $162.6 million (19 percent) given the current budget scenario.
To date, UL System campuses have taken several steps to address declining resources such as furloughing employees, incentivizing retirement, restructuring administrative offices, eliminating over 200 academic programs, restructuring over 300 academic programs, and eliminating over 1,300 budgeted positions.
As soon as it is finalized, an agenda for Monday’s meeting will be posted at www.ulsystem.edu/BoardMeetings.