- Louisiana has funded new construction at its flagship campus in recent years of slashed higher education funding, but the state of deterioration at LSU is significant — and it is repeated across all of Louisiana’s public colleges.
- The Advocate reports the backlog for deferred maintenance at LSU reaches $510 million and has led to unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. Estimates for the bill statewide could be as high as $2 billion, all for projects that can’t be covered with tuition increases.
- This type of higher education funding competes with all other construction and infrastructure requests statewide, including legislative pet projects, and funding has been harder to come by for maintenance rather than new construction — but this year, the Board of Regents is requesting funds for deferred maintenance only, and in another year of budget crisis, they can only hope some of it comes through.
Under Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana slashed spending on its public universities by 55% since the economy crashed in 2008. The Advocate is running a series of articles chronicling the “startling, unique changes” that have transformed the university system over the last decade. Like many states, higher education spending in Louisiana is completely discretionary, meaning it is especially vulnerable to tight financial times.
Funding in states has swung widely depending on who is in office and what the economy has looked like. In Illinois, legislators still have not compromised with the governor on a 2016-17 budget, putting several colleges at risk of closing at the end of this academic year. Nationwide, however, state legislatures, on average, are slowly reinvesting in higher education following years of cuts.