Around the industry: Governors ask colleges to do more with less

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) administration recently told colleges to prepare for funding cuts of $200 million to $300 million. That would be approximately one-third of Louisiana State University's operating budget—or the same as the total operating budget of the Louisiana Community and Technical College system in 2014-15. Other state legislators call the proposed cuts "devastating" and "unsustainable." Since 2008, the state has cut funding for higher education by $673 million, more than any other state except Arizona. Louisiana faces an estimated $1.4 billion deficit next year, possibly more if oil prices keep falling (O'Donoghue, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, 1/12; NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, 5/2/14).

  • Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad (R) challenged the state's Board of Regents to develop a set of degrees for Iowa's public universities that will cost students $10,000 or less. Branstad also proposed an Iowa Student Debt Reorganization Tax Credit, which would help people pay off their student loans in exchange for volunteer work. In 2013, average student loan debt for Iowa students was $29,370, ninth worst in the country. Heather Doe, communications coordinator at the Iowa Student College Aid Commission, calls the $10,000 degree idea "interesting," adding that she hopes the range of degrees will be broad enough to allow for different student interests and strengths (Charis-Carlson, Iowa City Press-Citizen, 1/13).

  • Utah: Dixie State University has returned a controversial statue depicting Confederate soldiers to the artist in exchange for a new statue of bronze horses. A university spokesman says the statue was the last symbol of Confederate ties on campus, and removing it will allow the school to "move forward." Before it was moved to storage in 2012, the statue was a staging area for anti-racism rallies—a "lightening rod," says former Dixie president, Stephen Nadauld. In the past, school officials embraced a connection to the antebellum South, but in recent years, the school has worked to move away from that image. "Dixie" is a nickname given to the school's surrounding area that refers to its cotton industry and warmer temperatures relative to the rest of Utah (Knox, Salt Lake Tribune, 1/13).

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