BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards was very straightforward in his message to higher education officials Wednesday morning, strongly urging them not to raise tuition this year.
"We need to see zero, or minimal increases in tuition this year," Edwards said to the Louisiana Board of Regents.
He pointed out that despite the severe budget deficit, their schools were cut by less than one percent.
"It should be obvious to everyone that higher education really is the priority that I said it would be," Edwards said.
On Wednesday, the Board of Regents allocated $483 million in state funding for the state's two and four-year universities, which is around $8.1 million less than last year.
LSU President F. King Alexander hasn't made a decision yet on tuition increases, but on June 24, the LSU Board of Supervisors increased student fees by $177 per student per semester starting this fall. Southern's board also increased fees for its students as well.
"We need to know these numbers so as we move forward in the next couple days, next week or so, what we're gonna have to do to adjust to the fiscal environment that we're in," Alexander said.
TOPS remains a big question mark. The board did not discuss it at its meeting Wednesday.
An amendment passed by the Louisiana legislature at the end of the second special session would frontload the scholarship program, fully funding it for the fall semester. However, it would face a big cut for the spring semester. The governor could still line-item veto the amendment.
"Parents are probably a little more at ease going into the fall semester, but a little more worried about spring semester because that's a 60 percent reduction in the spring unless new revenues are generated," Alexander said.
Right now LSU lists tuition as just over $8,800 per year for in-state students.
The board of regents will meet again on August 24, while LSU's first day of classes is on August 22.