“The budget approved by the House would be catastrophic for the university,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb.
Over 70 percent of the State of Louisiana’s operating budget is protected through constitutional or statutory dedications, federal mandates and unavoidable obligations. Higher education does not enjoy any constitutional protection from cuts. Consequently, when the state faces significant shortfalls, higher education, along with healthcare, takes the brunt of the reductions.
“Higher education has been notified that of the $268 million shortfall in the budget for next year, $134 million will be taken from our allocations,” said University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett.
Over the past four years, reductions to higher education have been mitigated in part by one-time funding and raising tuition and fees. Even with modest increases in tuition over the last few years, it has not been enough to close the gap in funding. Since FY 2008/09, Northwestern’s net total funding reduction would be $13.9 million (17 percent) given the current budget scenario.
To date, Northwestern has taken several steps to address declining resources such as eliminating numerous academic programs and reducing the size of the faculty and staff by nearly 200 positions.”
Webb stated the additional loss of $9.4 million “could require Northwestern State to declare financial exigency to have the authority and flexibility for extensive personnel reductions, which is the only way we would be able to meet this large of a reduction."