BATON ROUGE—As required by the Division of Administration in the Governor's Office, LSU has submitted its plan for meeting a $2.2 million reduction in its 2010-11 budget. The budget reduction was required because of a $108 million deficit in last year's state budget, much of which has been thrust upon institutions of higher education.
LSU announced it will accommodate the mid-year budget reduction with tuition and fee revenue generated from a higher-than-expected freshman enrollment this fall. More than 5,400 new students enrolled at LSU in the fall, the second-largest incoming class in school history.
"Had there been no reduction in state appropriations," said LSU Chancellor Mike Martin, "we would have used the increase in tuition revenue to provide services to these additional students by temporarily increasing classroom support, reducing section sizes and providing necessary counseling and tutoring hours to accommodate the larger population of students."
Should this mid-year cut become permanent, LSU is prepared to implement a series of permanent reductions. These cuts would eliminate a portion of the general fund support of the Louisiana Geological Survey, phase out scholarships in the School of Music, transfer costs associated with Greek Life to a fee basis, eliminate a portion of state funding to the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab and move the funding of the Academic Center for Student-Athletes to the athletic department.
"We cannot assume the financial boost from higher enrollment numbers will continue in the face of further budget cuts," said Martin. "We must plan for this budget cut to become permanent and we must do that planning with the anticipation that enrollment will fall."
LSU has already endured $42 million in reductions in state appropriations since January of 2009, prompting the university to announce its Plan for Greater Impact on Louisiana in March of this year in order to address the continuing budget issues.
In May, LSU released Phase 1 of the plan when it announced the closing of a number of centers and institutes as well as the elimination of the Master of Library and Information Sciences program, the elimination of bachelor's degrees in German and Latin and the reduction of other language options, as well as administrative adjustments to Continuing Education.
The projected funding impact to the Louisiana Geological Survey, Music School scholarships, Greek Life, Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab and Academic Center for Student-Athletes would be part of Phase 2 of the Plan for Greater Impact on Louisiana.
"This mid-year cut, or other mid-year cuts that may still be handed down, will force us to accelerate the implementation of Phase 2 of our plan," Martin said. "These cuts continue to deteriorate the quality of the education we can offer at LSU and the quality of services we can provide."
The reduction in funding to the Louisiana Geological Survey, or LGS, would reduce the state's public source of archived geologic maps including derivative maps for industry location in the state. Users include state, federal and parish agencies for rescue and other work. Additionally, the vital reference logs for oil and gas development, industry reference material and research and teaching as well as the determination of aquifer volume, rate of withdrawals and recharge information critical to the oil and gas industry, agriculture, and human consumption would be reduced.
The reduction in state funding to the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab would likely lead to a loss of accreditation and closure of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. This would seriously hinder the timely diagnosis of animal and animal-related human diseases such as encephalitis, rabies and West Nile Virus.
The reduction in scholarships in the School of Music will inhibit LSU's ability to recruit outstanding music majors in Louisiana as well as nationally and internationally, and the transfer of expenditures to student fees in Greek Life could adversely impact more than 3,500 students in the Greek community. In 2009-10, the LSU Greek community provided over 12,000 hours of community service and raised more than $500,000 for philanthropic efforts.