BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With a $70 million state budget shortfall still remaining for this fiscal year, higher education is bracing for cuts.
At a meeting of the LSU Board of Supervisors Friday, LSU President F. King Alexander called any impending cuts "manageable" compared to the impending cuts they were preparing for just a matter of months ago.
In February before the special legislative session, the Edwards administration released a budget proposal that would leave a $107 million cut that would be divided between higher education and the Department of Health and Hospitals.
Colleges are already having to cover $28 million cost of TOPS that the state is no longer able to afford. LSU's share is approximately $10 million, according to Alexander.
This will not be the first cut that higher education will have to undergo. LSU has seen budget reductions 14 times in the last nine years.
"I find it ironic that we're expected to beat everyone on the football field and baseball diamond, but for some reason we're okay with allowing slipping to 46th in spending out of 50 institutions," Alexander said. "That concerns me, we should expect to beat them in the classroom also."
Alexander said that in part thanks to budget cuts, the amount LSU spends per student has d ropped by more than $2,000 in the past eight years, from approximately $12,000 per year to $9,600 per student.
"The faculty are concerned that there is no long-term commitment in the government to support the university and to help raise Louisiana to a level of excellence," said Prof. Kevin Cope, the president of the Faculty Senate.
Next fiscal year, with the state facing a $750 million shortfall, higher education and the DHH could once again be under the knife. Alexander said a worst-case scenario would have the university facing a 30 percent reduction.
The cuts that would fill this fiscal year's $70 million shortfall are expected to be announced early next week.