Higher Education in Louisiana is about to get pushed off the fiscal cliff. The state will enact severe budget cuts to the T.O.P.S. program and university budgets unless there is a deal to raise more revenue or realocate funds to higher education.
T.O.P.S. eligible students would only receive 70% funding for tuition. Students at the University of Louisiana Monroe could see a $1,736 out of pocket cost increase per year to make up for the 30% cut in T.O.P.S.
ULM President, Dr. Nick Bruno says the political process has not worked in Baton Rouge. ULM could see a double-whammy of cuts that could reduce the budget by millions of dollars. $2.5 to $4 million could be cut from the operating budget and students may not be able to pay the T.O.P.S. difference. The decline in students could make the situation more dire.
In 2009 ULM recieved $55 million dollars from the state accounting for 70% of the budget; now ULM gets $23 million in state funding making up 30% percent of the budget. Bruno says," It has been a complete reversal of what the state would pay versus what the student has to fund." Bruno says the failure of the state will result in more debt for students.
Bruno is thankful for the support ULM has recieved from lawmakers and is encouraging everyone to make contact their lawmakers to support higher education. To find your legislator follow this link.
A third special session has been called by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 18.