BATON ROUGE – A decade after Louisiana began making deep cuts in its support for higher education, the effect of those reductions continue to linger. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that tuition at four-year public universities in Louisiana has increased by 106.9% or $4,810 per student, since 2008. State funding per full-time student has fallen by 38% over that time span – or $4,454 per student.
Louisiana’s tuition increases are the second-highest in the nation over the 10-year span.
This is part of a nationwide trend by states to shift the responsibility of paying for public higher education to students and their families. Such cuts have worsened racial and class inequality, since rising tuition can deter low-income students and students of color from college.
The report highlights the need for Louisiana to continue re-investing in its colleges and universities, which have seen their finances stabilize in recent years.
“Obviously these numbers are alarming, but it’s important to note that this report measures a 10 year timespan,” said Jan Moller, executive director of the Louisiana Budget Project. “It shows that while funding has stabilized, we still have a lot of catching up to do.”
Overall state funding for higher education grew by $47 million for the current fiscal year over the 2018-19 budget cycle, though some of that includes additional funding for TOPS tied to higher enrollment.
Higher education cuts particularly affect families of color, which often face additional barriers to employment and difficulty accessing better-paying jobs. Households of color also spend a higher percentage of their income on tuition.
The report recommends that states increase support for need-based aid program, like Go Grants, as this type of support can have a greater effect on college retention and graduation rates.
Click here to read the report.