LSU to increase fees, cut classes, jobs if $65M in proposed cuts passes legislature

LSU to cut classes, jobs, increase fees if $65M in proposed cuts passes Legislature

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As expected Monday, LSU released a budget plan in response to $65 million in proposed cuts from Gov. John Bel Edwards' office. Higher ed across the state combined is facing $131 million in cuts.

President F. King Alexander's memo to the LSU community noted several drastic measures to deal with cuts.

For the Baton Rouge campus, it includes immediately raising student fees almost $690 for each student as well as cutting 275 classes, 135 faculty jobs, and 270 staff jobs. It all adds up to an expected 12 percent d rop in undergrad enrollment.

At the close of last year's session, President Alexander praised lawmakers for bailing out higher ed from $600 million in proposed cuts statewide under former Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"We commend our legislators for prioritizing higher education," he said in a statement.

The president now hopes a new legislature and new governor will have the same priorities.

"Higher education is well aware that we already lead the nation in the last eight years in terms of the disinvestment in higher education," said Edwards in New Orleans Monday.

One political analyst said LSU has good reason to be prepare. Before last year, higher ed was cut every year going back to 2008.

"F. King Alexander and other college presidents have seen the worst happen over the course of the last eight years and last year the only way it was averted was by raising some taxes," said political analyst Jim Engster.

The Governor's Office said balancing the budget could mean raising taxes again.

Analysts said the state has limited choices facing a $750 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year and a $1.9 billion deficit the year after that.

"There's no way around it," said Edwards. "This is not the situation I wanted to step into. Any governor would rather have a $1 billion surplus to start office rather than a $1.9 billion shortfall."

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