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.
Here is where the revenue to support higher education in Louisiana now comes from:
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.
Grambling State University and other have taken huge cuts in total funding:
By percentage, Louisiana has cut direct appropriations to higher education more than any other state in the nation since 2007-08.
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.
No matter how you look at it, Louisiana has increased tuition by an enormous percentage since 2008.
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 the University of Louisiana at Monroe:
At the University of New Orleans:
Despite what you may have heard, TOPS funding has been fairly stable in the past five years.
And TOPS students are performing much better than some would have you believe.
TOPS students at four-year institutions are doing especially well.
Here are the funding figures for TOPS in the University of Louisiana System since 2003:
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.
Here’s an excellent graphic from The Advocate on tuition, appropriations and enrollment at historically black colleges in Louisiana:
What’s happened to faculty and staff in Louisiana higher education? Their numbers are down by about 10,000 since 2005.
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.
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.
How do Louisiana faculty salaries compare to the rest of the nation and the South? Not so well.
Here are some stats on graduation rates over time at several universities in the UL System.
First up, Grambling:
Northwestern State University:
The University of New Orleans:
Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond:
Louisiana Tech University:
Here are the graduation rates of all Louisiana colleges, public and private:
And, now, some stats on spending for athletics by Louisiana universities.
The Advocate published this excellent graphic a few weeks ago:
At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, comparing athletic spending per student vs academic spending per student. (Source: The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics)
The same LSU:
Finally, a report card for Louisiana higher education: