Louisiana higher education in 39 charts

By Robert Mann

It’s not the whole picture of Louisiana higher education, of course, but these charts from various sources provide some interesting longitudinal information about the trajectory of higher education and its overall health.

Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.

First up: How much Louisiana has cut funding to higher education in the last ten years.

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Here is where the revenue to support higher education in Louisiana now comes from:

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The University of Louisiana System has been hit particularly hard by the budget cuts. And so have students, who’ve been forced to pay an average 61 percent more in fees and tuition to attend UL System schools. Remember, many students in the UL System do not receive TOPS.

UL System Budget chart

Grambling State University and other have taken huge cuts in total funding:

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By percentage, Louisiana has cut direct appropriations to higher education more than any other state in the nation since 2007-08.

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The percentage cut depends on which source you consult, but everyone seems to agree that Louisiana has cut the most. And Louisiana’s tuition increases are also among the highest in the nation.

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No matter how you look at it, Louisiana has increased tuition by an enormous percentage since 2008.

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And those enormous tuition and fee increases have made attending school much more difficult at most state universities. In most cases, Pell Grants are not covering the increases.

At Grambling:

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At the University of Louisiana at Monroe:

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At the University of New Orleans:

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Despite what you may have heard, TOPS funding has been fairly stable in the past five years.

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And TOPS students are performing much better than some would have you believe.

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TOPS students at four-year institutions are doing especially well.

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Here are the funding figures for TOPS in the University of Louisiana System since 2003:

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While funding for TOPS has gone up, money for Go Grants (awards to underprivileged college students) has been flat and the number of awards granted has recently tumbled.

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Here’s an excellent graphic from The Advocate on tuition, appropriations and enrollment at historically black colleges in Louisiana:

HBCUsChart

What’s happened to faculty and staff in Louisiana higher education? Their numbers are down by about 10,000 since 2005.

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Faculty numbers are down by 10 percent since 2008. Managerial and administrative employees are down by 25 percent. Service and maintenance are down by 22 percent. Clerical staff are down by 26 percent.

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Since 2008, faculty salaries are up by a pitiful 3.6 percent. But executive and administrative personnel have fared much better. Their salaries increased by 12.4 percent in the same period, more than three times that of faculty members.

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How do Louisiana faculty salaries compare to the rest of the nation and the South? Not so well.

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Here are some stats on graduation rates over time at several universities in the UL System.

First up, Grambling:

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Northwestern State University:

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The University of New Orleans:

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Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond:

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Louisiana Tech University:

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Here are the graduation rates of all Louisiana colleges, public and private:

Louisiana-College-Graduation-Rates-600

And, now, some stats on spending for athletics by Louisiana universities.

The Advocate published this excellent graphic a few weeks ago:

HigherEdSportsSubsidies

At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, comparing athletic spending per student vs academic spending per student. (Source: The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics)

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The same LSU:

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Finally, a report card for Louisiana higher education:

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7 Responses to Louisiana higher education in 39 charts

  1. John Thomas says:

    Hi Bob, thank you, great stuff here.
    One typo “Southwestern Louisiana University in Hammond’ should be “Southeastern…”

    Regarding administrators’ salary increases, wrongly or rightly, could this be due to position mergers creating an overall contraction in high-level administrative positions at higher pay levels?
    For example, Jim Richardson is both chancellor of the AgCenter and dean of college of Agriculture (making more than when he was just chancellor) or similar folds and absorption throughout the various org charts with the collapse of the LSU system into LSU: there was once a system-level VP for Finance and a Vice Chancellor for Finance at LSU A&M now there is one position that likely makes more than either position once did. Other mergers such as the creation of the College of Human Sciences and Education, mergers within student affairs, auxiliary areas, I believe are within this same time frame and could possibly account for overall salary increases but lower numbers of high-level administrator positions.
    It’s likely similar mergers occurred at lower levels, with support and clerical personnel doing far more work than before mergers, but without the corresponding pay increases, sadly.

    I was also thinking this could be due to a need to remain competitive, since such administrators could leave for universities and other public sector (and private) jobs across the US that likely pay much more, but this is equally true of faculty and staff as well.

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    • rtmannjr says:

      Thanks for catching the typo and for the thoughts on administrator pay. Makes sense.

      Like

    • Stephen Winham says:

      John, I am sure you mean Bill Richardson.

      Bob, Thanks for injecting facts into the discussion. Ideologues don’t like to be confused by facts, but maybe without the fog of illusion created by our former governor, even a few of them will be able to see reality.

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  2. msternb says:

    You could have put a little postage size photo of a smirking Bobby on each chart to enliven it…

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  3. jechoisir says:

    Thank you for these tables and charts. Above all they seem to speak to the privatization of public education in our state and our state’s tolerance for mediocrity in government and education.

    (One question about them: are the TOPS scholarships included in the portion of state funding in the “UL System Budget” charts?)

    I hear people say, “Well, if we don’t have the money, we can do no better. You can’t manufacture money,” when the subject of funding higher education arises. That’s false, for the education budget exists within the larger state budget. We make choices about where we spend state dollars. We have not prioritized education in general. No governor in recent history has presented a coherent plan for improving the student achievement and/or the over-all academic quality of our state universities—or lower public schools, for that matter. And that lack of a plan and prioritization shows up in the way we spend our moneys.

    If we had a real plan for achieving excellence in education, it would be reflected in state budgeting.

    Priorities matter. in my family, we did without many things in order to send our children to a private school that we were certain was better than the local public school. We had friends who probably made more money than we who said they “could not afford” the private school. And yet they had boats and kept newest model cars and leased places on a lake. Those moneys alone would have provided tuitions at a private school. Their priorities were simply different.

    The same thing is true in our state with higher education. Almost surely we can afford better than what we have. Our leaders simply have not prioritized educational upgrades. Some things can be foregone. Costs can be lowered through good management. Countless administrative positions can be combined or eliminated altogether.

    We need to go back to the boards and review the mission of public education in our state and then make it happen. You can’t achieve excellence with second-rate profs, decaying buildings, and an electorate that has not been lobbied.

    This is a sad picture, Bob. But it’s one we ought to post in our homes and offices. She should demand better.

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  4. Louis Sparks says:

    Hear is a link to a recent Reuters article entitled “After Jindal, Louisiana reels from corporate tax giveaways.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-louisiana-budget-politics-insight-idUSKCN0WA2OG?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews

    According to Reuters, business subsidies shot up during Jindal’s tenure.

    The cure for Louisiana’s budget problems, in a large part, would be to claw back Jindal’s giveaways.

    Apparently Louisiana’s pro-corporation / anti-people Republicans benefit too much from the status quo.

    Louis Sparks

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