Bobby Jindal wants to cut over $600 million from higher education
As the 2015 Louisiana Legislative session gets underway, Governor Bobby Jindal has released a portion of how he wants to see the state legislature spend the state’s money.
In an attempt to fill a projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall, Jindal wants to cut over $600 million in higher education dollars.
According to KSLA News 12 in Louisiana, $608 million represents at least 80 percent of the state’s higher education budget. Jindal’s budget outline also includes a rollback of refundable tax credits to the state’s business community.
An example of how devastating the cuts may be, Louisiana State University would see a decrease in overall funding fall from nearly $319 million to just $58 million.
The cuts may go even further. Speaking to NOLA.com, the state’s higher education commissioner, Joseph Rallo, said that some colleges and universities may have to cut classes and programs due to budget uncertainty.
But the state’s budget woes cannot be fixed through cutting higher education alone. Because Louisiana has cut higher ed funding in the past, the state has seen a steep drop in per student spending since the start of the recession through last year. In fact, Louisiana ranks first in the nation in “change in per student spending” from 2008-2014.
In an effort to fill budget shortfalls, students end up paying the price in the long run. According to Pew Trusts, colleges and universities received nearly 50 percent of their revenue from tuition in 2013.
If this trend of cutting continues, many higher education facilities will likely price themselves out of business. That’s a trend we can’t afford in any of the states, particularly not Louisiana. Gov. Jindal has made his war on education clear through other moves like abandoning Common Core initiatives. What will the education system look like when his term is up?