Louisiana Board of Regents officials warned the Senate Finance Committee today that eight higher education campuses may close as a result of planned cuts to the state budget.
LSU System President John Lombardi included in joint testimony the loss of entire campuses, along with reduced freshman and sophomore classes at 4-year colleges as necessary to replace $300 million that will not be available to higher education in FY2011. According to Lombardi, as much as one-third of the higher education system could be lost.
Even with efficiencies and tuition increases, warned Regents officials, deep and substantial cuts are inevitable with the budget reduction. They predicted a 15-year setback in state higher education.
"Sadly, this is not the first wake-up call we've had about a crisis in higher education," said Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan. "But it begs the question: When will we listen? Losing an entire generation of students is simply not an option."
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Advocate reporter Jordan Blum covered the issue for this story.