Dear LSU Eunice Alumni, Donors, and Friends:
As the famous American philosopher and baseball great, Yogi Berra, once said, "It's not over ‘til it's over"-and for Louisiana higher education, it's not over!
As many of you may know, this past spring, Louisiana was able to avoid the impact of a fiscal "Cliff Year" upon the loss of the federal stimulus (AARA) money from the state's budget. However, a major shift occurred in the state's college and university funding, with a greater financial burden being passed on to the student. In this regard, historically, while the funding ratio in the state for post-secondary education has essentially been 60% state / 40% student, after this past legislative session, through the GRAD Act, the student now pays approximately equal to 60% of the funding mix, and the state provides the remaining 40% of the funding.
Therefore, for example, at LSU Eunice, tuition has risen from $1154.00 in fall 2008 to $1371 this past year in Fall 2011(+16%). As a result, after five years of enrollment increases through FY 2010, this past Fall 2011, LSU Eunice's enrollment dropped to 2982! Of note, however, in the Fall 2011 student profile, the composite ACT score for all students went up to an average of 18.99 for the Fall 2011 entering class; and, an increase in the entering High School GPA of Freshman went up to a 2.88+. This shows a total increase in the numbers of students at LSU Eunice on TOPS up to 429 -- the highest number of TOPS awardees for any two-year, Louisiana campus on a per capita basis. So, the Fall 2011 academic student profile identifies this year's class as one of the strongest entering classes in recent years.
However, the continuing concern is that our country, and especially our state, is still dealing with a depressed economy as an end result of the continuing recession. Very recently, the State's Revenue Estimating Committee projected continued low state revenues for the onset of the third quarter; and, therefore, an expected shortfall for the 2011-12 FY. Hence, a FY 2011-12, mid-year budget cut has been announced which will again primarily impact higher education and health care. This new 5% cut for LSU Eunice identifies as a $300,000.00+ cut to LSU Eunice's already limited state appropriated funds of $6.25M for FY 2011-12, which was 17.7% less than the $7.59M in state funds that were part of the campus' FY 2010-11 budget. It follows therefore, that along with a $326,000 of unfunded mandates in FY 2011-12, this current cut of $300,000 LSU Eunice's loss in total state funds since FY 2008-09, is now $2.826M, which represents an overall cut of 37% in our campus' state-appropriated funds.
So, clearly, LSU Eunice is in need of your financial support more than ever before -- particularly, if the campus is going to be able to sustain the levels of faculty/student achievement it has had over the past 45 years! However, I know that with your continued generous support, LSU Eunice will cope with these challenges of the present and future, as we have in the past.
So, in closing, my thanks for your commitment to LSU Eunice; and, my best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, along with my hope for a happy and healthy New Year for all!