The UL System stands to lose between $87 million and $130 million if deep state budget cuts are approved to cope with the projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall. UL Lafayette could lose between $17.5 million and $26.3 million, according to documents obtained by KATC through a public records request.
But there are no hard plans for how these cuts would be implemented. Instead, the university appears to be focusing on a strategy to avoid the cuts from ever happening.
The system’s nine universities, including its largest one — UL Lafayette — discussed this situation at a meeting of presidents on Jan. 30.
The discussion also included a look at their policies for budget cuts — employee furloughs, academic program discontinuation and terminations, among them — but didn’t get into the nitty gritty.
That’s a much different strategy than university officials have taken in the past, and much different from the LSU System, which has laid out hard numbers on the 1,400-plus jobs that could be eliminated, in addition to the 1,572 courses and 28 academic programs that would end.
UL System officials did talk strategies and potential revenue — like getting more revenues from the tobacco tax and dedicating internet sales tax to higher ed among them.
They also plan to attend chamber meetings, meet with legislators and launch a “unified message” in an attempt to spare them from the cuts.
KATC also requested information about planning for cuts from SLCC, which also has not made plans for cuts. The following email was sent by Chancellor Natalie Harder to the SLCC staff on Jan. 30:
As we prepare for the 2015 legislative session there is real concern among many about the 2016 budget. There is a looming deficit and the discussions about the impact on higher education are going on throughout the state. As different numbers and scenarios are tossed out to the media, know that Dr. Sullivan and the college CEOs are working daily with the administration, the legislature, other higher ed leaders, and the business community in order to find real solutions for the long-term.
Trust me that when there is something concrete, focused, and relevant for me to talk about with respect to SLCC and the FY2016 budget, I will certainly update you.
It does no good to panic in response to rhetoric. So, please keep doing what you do best – serving the students and communities throughout Acadiana.
Thank you for all of your good work.
Spokespersons for both UL Lafayette and SLCC said they are not ready to comment on budget cuts because it is still too early to tell what kind of cuts will be made.