ULS Concerned About Current Funding Status

ULS Concerned About Current Funding Status – June 16, 2005

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2005
Contact: Jackie Tisdell – 225-342-6950
E-mail: jtisdell@uls.state.la.us

Baton Rouge, La. – As the Legislature focuses on House Bill 1, the University of Louisiana System is faced with a potential funding shortfall.

Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie has expressed concern over the current posture of the general appropriations bill and its potential negative effects on Louisiana’s colleges and universities.

University of Louisiana System President Sally Clausen shares that concern.

“In the coming fiscal year, the UL System currently faces $6.2 million in mandated cost increases for employee insurance premiums, retirement system contributions, and civil service merit pay,” said Clausen.

In addition, admissions standards implemented in August 2005 will result in 1,400 to 1,800 fewer students enrolling in the UL System and an annual loss of $4 million in tuition revenues for ULS.

The University of Louisiana System’s eight universities also made the conscientious and cost-effective decision to improve graduation rates, enhance student advising and mentoring, reduce class sizes, and provide more focused instruction essential in our new economy.

While these initiatives are designed to improve student success and allow each university to focus on its primary mission, the benefits will be diluted without appropriate funding support.

In addition to the mandated cost increases, ULS universities face increased insurance and utility costs and must provide state-of-the-art instructional supplies and equipment that faculty and students deserve. Further, when accrediting bodies mandate new standards, ULS universities must abide by those standards or lose programs.

According to Clausen, “Hopefully, the Legislature will appreciate what research has confirmed over and over again, that is, we need more college graduates in Louisiana and we need them to be prepared for the knowledge-based economy. The momentum is strong but resources must be there to ensure it continues.”