BATON ROUGE – The closure of colleges and the loss of nearly 700 positions – including 350 faculty positions – would likely send thousands of Louisiana high school students seeking an education out of state if LSU were stripped of $62 million in state support in the next fiscal year, according to the results of an exercise requested by the State Division of Administration.

“We are looking at long-term cultural, economic and educational disaster for our state,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “It would be unconscionable to do something like this to LSU. Students would leave the state en masse. Our best researchers would flee to other universities. Grants and contracts would dry up. The collateral damage it would have on alumni giving, the athletics program and the local economy would be immeasurable.”

Gone would be the equivalent of approximately seven of LSU’s 14 schools and colleges, reducing the state’s flagship institution to the stature of a regional university. Estimated enrollment would drop by approximately 8,000 students – nearly one-third of the total student body – due to the loss of approximately 50 degree programs, reducing LSU’s revenue from tuition and fees by millions of dollars.

A reduction of $62 million in state funding, added to the $42 million in budget cuts already incurred by the university, would have an even greater actual impact because of the resulting revenue loss from a drop in student enrollment, loss of grants and contracts as a result of fewer faculty, and a reduction in funds brought in by auxiliary units such as residence halls, the Student Union and other self-generating units that depend upon student enrollment. Those additional revenue losses would result in the layoffs of hundreds more faculty and staff.

“It’s not easy to fully calculate the consequences of dismantling a large research university,” said Jack Hamilton, executive vice chancellor and provost who chairs the Budget Crisis Committee that developed the report. “This is our honest and best estimate as to the damage these cuts would do.”

“Some of the most endearing aspects of LSU would be no more,” Martin lamented. “Student enrollment would plummet and valued faculty would be put on the street. The stately oaks and broad magnolias so revered in our alma mater would be neglected. For lack of participation, many residence halls would shut their doors. LSU would truly be a different place, a tragic shadow of its former self.”

Martin and Hamilton stressed that these cuts would not just be quantitative, resulting in fewer course offerings and services for students, but they would also be qualitative, ending in a much lower quality education for citizens of this state.

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