By Alexia Hinton
Grambling State University Media Bureau
Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue said the institution has lots of good things happening and more good things are in store, but the university is facing layoffs for the first time in recent memory as a result of declining state contributions.
“I think it is fair to say that Grambling State University is open with a financial emergency today,” Pogue told the fall convocation audience as students, faculty and staff listened. He said the nation’s economic downturn and a significant reduction in state funding of higher education institutions are the causes.
The president said the university’s state funding has declined by 44%, from $30.5 million in the 2008-09 academic year to $16.9 million this fall – and there may be more cuts coming. “In the past … years, we have been able to avoid laying people off because of budget cuts,” the president told the audience. “This will not be possible this year.”
“Grambling has essentially gone from a state-funded institution to a state-assisted institution that will soon be a state-located institution,” said Pogue.
The University of Louisiana Systems plans to implement ways to manage out- of -state fee waivers. Reducing the waivers by 100 students can reduce the annual budget by $1.3 million. Although this strategy saves a huge amount, it will affect the university significantly since 40% of Grambling State’s students are from out of state.
Pogue said later that decisions regarding layoffs and budget cuts are being worked on and announcements would be forthcoming after key administration officers and his Budget and Priorities Committee review options. He did say there would likely be a reorganization of some departments and units.
The president said changing admissions criteria will change how the university considers and accepts students in the future, something that will have an impact on enrollment in the future. He said about 32% of Grambling’s first-time, full-time students have needed at least one remedial course. But, starting in fall 2014, any student needing to take a remedial course, or more than one, will not be accepted at Grambling State – or any other Louisiana four-year university – because the state will not support remedial courses at four-year institutions. One exception will be transfer students from community colleges who need a developmental course.
Some of the most welcome news came when the president said the university has established a beautification committee. In the coming months, landscaping will be upgraded or repairs made to Carver Hall, T.H. Harris, Charles P. Adams, Long-Jones Hall and A.C. Lewis Memorial Library buildings. In addition, he said there will be several road and street repairs, including fixing the parking lot behind the student union.
In other information and news, the president said:
- Since our international student population makes up 8% of enrollment, Pogue has developed a task force charged to better help the international student body with their needs.
- Grambling has teamed up with Jackson Parish, Monroe City and Farmerville high schools to increase dual enrollment for high school students taking college courses
- Purchasing in bulk to consolidate campus wide purchases has been implemented to cut back on school budgeting
- Providing excellent customer service has been made priority, and all administration, faculty and staff in each unit, department and college is expected to offer quality customer service, internally and externally
- The full name of Eddie G. Robinson will be added to the football stadium
- To enhance the campus infrastructure, a Beautification Committee has been established to enhance campus landscaping. Carver Hall, T.H. Harris, Charles P. Adams, Long-Jones Hall and A.C. Lewis Memorial Library will be renovated or upgraded. Repairs will also be made to roads and parking lots.
Pogue reminded everyone that he wants to see Gramblinites on campus who speak to each other, who are kind to each other and who are proud of Grambling State University.