The high cost of higher ed cuts

The $425 million the Jindal administration has cut from higher education could set Louisiana back decades. This Advocate story spells out just how devastating those cuts are to the future of higher ed in the state.

Since April, two system presidents and three campus leaders have either retired, been dismissed or announced they would retire from Louisiana's higher education system, The Advocate notes in a Monday story analyzing the long-term effects of the Jindal administration's decision to cut $425 million from higher ed budgets since 2008.

Those cuts have also led research faculty to look elsewhere - taking with them the millions in research grants. Now department heads, deans, faculty - and yes, even students - are checking out of the state. What's more, some universities' accreditation may be at risk, not to mention the blows being dealt to quality education.

Other universities see the state as fertile recruting ground, according to the story:

Former LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said Louisiana's dire budget outlook led other schools to target him in the months before August when he left the Baton Rouge campus to lead the Colorado State University system.

On Friday, Martin said he's heard from several people at LSU who have asked him to be a reference as they look for new jobs. "There's always going to be people leaving, but what we're seeing at LSU is people making lots of lateral moves," Martin said. "The image of Louisiana among higher ed folks is of a state still struggling. It makes Louisiana vulnerable. I hope people choose to stay because LSU really is a fine institution."

Louisiana's solution to balancing the state budget has just been cut, cut, cut higher ed, while other states have found more creative ways to keep higher education adequately funded, the story points out.

Barry Erwin, head of the Council for A Better Louisiana, which lobbies on public policy, told the newspaper Louisiana has a good example of how to protect higher education next door in Texas.

Read the story here.