For Immediate ReleaseJune 11, 2012
Contact: Jackie Tisdell
225.342.6950 | firstname.lastname@example.org
UL System President Calls on the Board of Regents for More Equitable Funding of Higher Education
BATON ROUGE - In a series of communications with the Commissioner of Higher Education, University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett has urged the Board of Regents to suspend its current complex funding formula and consider alternatives for distributing declining state dollars to colleges and universities. Given the current dire financial circumstances in higher education following four years of budget cuts, it is time to revisit how monies are allocated throughout public higher education to ensure that all institutions are treated fairly.
"We have always supported performance and the concept of a performance funding formula, but the formula was not designed to distribute diminishing resources. Instead of rewarding performance like the GRAD Act that provides for tuition increases when measures are met, the formula shifts state funding from one institution to another. This is compounded when state monies for higher education are dedicated to specific institutions or purposes, as this reduces the funding available to all campuses. Given the financial crisis facing higher education in Louisiana, a temporary suspension of the formula would allow limited resources to be allocated in a fairer manner," said Moffett
According to Moffett, limitations of the formula include its failure to recognize differences in role, scope, and mission; failure to recognize that smaller institutions are more at risk; and failure to recognize disparate tuition rates relative to peer institutions.
In addition to $66 million in reductions to higher education for FY 2012/13, $74 million of higher education appropriations were redirected before distribution to campuses through the formula. Below is the change in total funding (all means of financing) from FY 2011/12 to FY 2012/13 for UL System campuses including distribution of state appropriations using the funding formula:
Source: Board of Regents
The $55.5 million this year is in addition to $57.4 million in reductions of total funding already sustained by UL System campuses (including recently acquired UNO) since FY 2008/09. Total funding includes state funds and revenue from tuition and fees.
"Our Legislators and the Board of Regents are obviously sensitive to the precarious situation of some campuses, but we are all facing financial dilemmas. UL System campuses have worked very hard over the past several years to become more efficient and remain affordable to students, and they should be treated with the same consideration," said Moffett. "In this period where we find state funding comprising 39 percent of total funding and students are paying 61 percent, it seems appropriate and timely that a healthy, collaborative dialogue about a fair funding model needs to occur."
To date, UL System campuses have taken several steps to address declining resources such as furloughing employees, incentivizing retirement, restructuring administrative offices, eliminating over 200 academic programs, restructuring over 300 academic programs, and eliminating over 1,300 budgeted positions.
"We will continue to deliver quality education while identifying efficiencies and savings, however, results of this budget may mean closing additional programs, further reducing personnel, and offering fewer classes for students. My greatest fear of ongoing reductions is the ability to maintain national accreditation of our programs," said Moffett.
ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana enrolling about 94,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.
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