EUNICE, La (KLFY) – Louisiana has officially closed the books on last year’s budget, leaving the state with a $313 million deficit.
State agencies and public colleges have been warned to prepare for cuts.
For the LSU system, funding could be slashed by as much as 7%, which would mean cuts across the board at Louisiana State University at Eunice.
“We were hoping not to have to prepare for this,” said LSUE Chancellor, Kim Russell.
However, LSUE officials are preparing for the worst as the cuts would affect the university a great deal.
“We did not anticipate such a deep cut,” said Russell. “They’re looking at 7%, that would affect us about $340,000 out of our operating budget for this year.”
Russell says all departments would take a hit.
Our total budget is only $20 million,” said Russell. “The state of Louisiana provides about $4.8 million total to our institution, which represents about 24% of our total revenue.”
Russell says this disappointing news comes at a time when the university is seeing incredible growth.
“Our enrollment is up 16%, we have more out of state students then we’ve ever had in our history, and this is one of our largest freshman classes,” explained Russell, but that growth could be impacted.
“To have a cut mid-year, that is going to be devastating for our students,” said Russell.
“We definitely had a scare in the spring time with this, but we thought that it was just a theory going around and so now I’m definitely terrified that this will affect my education and what is to come,” said LSUE sophomore, Sage Bischoff.
Bischoff says she’s afraid her tops scholarship will be affected more than ever.
“That was my one concrete part in my life saying, ‘It’s going to be okay, I have TOPS, I can afford this,’ and now that that’s being cut that’s throwing me completely off, now I’m wondering what I’m going to do for my future,” said Bischoff.
Russell says students will see about a 60% reduction in their TOPS awards come this spring, but university officials are just remaining hopeful that the budget shortfall can be fulfilled without tapping into public college funding by as much.