BATON ROUGE, La. – The Board of Regents approved its initial 2020 budget request for higher education today prioritizing investments in innovation and affordability. Regents is requesting an additional $155.6M compared to last year’s state appropriation, designed to support its ambitious goal of doubling the number of credentials produced in Louisiana by 2030.
“We can lift families out of poverty and increase Louisiana’s prosperity through strategic investments in education,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “Our commitment as a higher education community is to improve student success, innovation and affordability so that more students are prepared to participate in the rapidly changing knowledge economy.”
Last year marked the first time in a decade that higher education received an increase in base funding from the Louisiana Legislature, and Regents is optimistic it can continue to build on that fiscal momentum. Since FY09, state funding for higher education has declined by 45% ($708M) while self-generated revenue (tuition and fees) increased by 114% ($822M).
“The Governor and the Legislature worked with us last year to support higher education in a meaningful way and for that, we are certainly appreciative,” said Board of Regents Chairman Marty J. Chabert. “Understanding the limited nature of public dollars available, we will continue working with our stakeholders, sharing information and data, and bringing student voices into the discussions as we advocate for the entire higher education enterprise.”
Back in August, the Board of Regents adopted a new Master Plan for higher education which sets a new strategic vision for talent development in Louisiana. The plan includes a robust attainment goal of 60% of working-age adults holding a postsecondary education credential by the year 2030. Reaching that goal will require the state to more than double the number of credentials produced annually from 40,000 to more than 85,000 over the next 11 years.
To improve results, seed transformational change and support faculty, Regents believes that the following targeted innovation and affordability strategies provide a prudent reinvestment package for higher education.
Innovation Reinvestment Package ($109.3M):
Drive Improved Student Outcomes -$28.7M
- The Board of Regents will support its focus on talent development by leveraging our funding formula to reward improved student success and research through a 5-percentage-point increase in outcomes funding while meeting the mandates pursuant to Act 462 of 2014.
Seed Innovation and Support Accreditation -$10.0M
- The Board will provide funds to drive the transformational system change called for in the Master Plan by focusing on improved student success and better workforce alignment, as well as supporting ongoing accreditation needs for institutions. Currently, Central LA Technical Community College, Northshore Technical Community College, and Northwest LA Technical Community College are seeking Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation.
Fund Annual Mandated Cost Increases -$18.3M
- Since FY09, mandated costs have increased by a total of $219.9M, an average annual increase of $18.3M. Higher education is the only state entity that does not have its mandated cost increases reflected in the executive budget. This increase will allow higher education to retain state dollars for instruction, research and graduating students to respond to the state’s workforceneeds.
Return Faculty Pay to SREB average -$36.3M
- Investing in the retention of quality faculty is critical. In order to increase salaries to the SREB average for professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors, the cost to the state would be $36.3M. This cost is based on current salaries of instructional staff. The amount also includesthe increased cost of benefits associated with salary increases. The last time Louisiana’s faculty salaries were at the SREB average was 2008.
Support Specialized Institutions -$10.0M
- Additional funding will increase research and public service productivity at the LSU and SU Agricultural Centers, as well as enhance instruction and research capacity at the LSU Health Sciences Centers and PenningtonBiomedical.
Expand Nurse Capitation Program -$5.0M
- Increased funding to the capitation program will allow postsecondary institutions to expand the current capacity of nursing and high-demand allied health programs, building on this year’s critical stateinvestment.
Focus on Coastal Marine Consortium (LUMCON) -$1.0M
- Increases will provide for the required match to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) ($0.6M), faculty hires ($0.3M) and operational needs ($0.1M).
Affordability Reinvestment Package ($46.3M):
Full Funding of GO Grants – $34.0M
- Need-based aid is essential to improving student access and success in postsecondary education. To fully fund the current financial aid packaging policy, an additional $34.0M would be required. Each institution sets its own award range and currently institutions can fund a minimum of $300 and maximum of $3,000. The additional monies are based on fully funding the ranges for each institution.
NOTE: To fund GO Grants at the maximum award amount of $3,000 per student, the total cost would be $164.4M. This amount is based on current GO Grant funding of $28.6M and the additional $136M needed inFY21.
TOPS Increases – $8.8M
- Increases for TOPS to cover the increase in participation projections of approximately 1,600students.
Dual Enrollment – TBD
- Providing high school students with increased access to dual enrollment will allow students to enter colleges and universities with postsecondary credits, increasing their likelihood of college enrollment and completion while decreasing college costs and time to degree. The Dual Enrollment Task Force, created by Act 128 of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session, is scheduled to complete its work by February 2020 and issue recommendations to the Governor andLegislature.
Increase Textbook Affordability -$2.5M
- Funding will enable the statewide library network (LOUIS) to continue providing open source documents and eTextbooks to institutions, reducing the cost of attendance forstudents.
START Saving Program Increases -$1.0M
- Increases to the START Saving Program will provide requiredearnings enhancements to accounts.
Additionally, Regents included a request for $150M of the available dollars related to the FY18-19 budget surplus funds to be utilized for deferred maintenance projects at the state’s public postsecondary institutions. Board members stressed that addressing deferred maintenance needs, totaling more than $1.5B, will help mitigate long-term damage caused by years of neglect.
Regents adopted its FY20-21 budget request during its regular meeting which was held in Shreveport, Louisiana after a short, day and a half retreat. Bossier Parish Community College, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport and Southern University Shreveport graciously hosted Regents and spotlighted some of their most successful programs, students and faculty members.