Louisiana House agrees to let colleges continue to set fees

BR. legopening.050520. 0203 bf.JPG                               (Photo Credit: Bill Feig)

Published: May 15, 2020

By: Hailey Auglair, LSU Manship School News Service

The Louisiana House passed legislation Friday that would let public colleges and universities in Louisiana continue to set the levels of their mandatory undergraduate student fees.

The institutions must report any changes in fees to the Legislature and explain why they decided to adjust them.

Universities have raised fees substantially in recent years to offset cuts in state appropriations, and a law allowing them to set the fee levels was due to expire on June 30.

All 95 of the House’s 104 members attending Friday approved House Bill 689, sending it to the state Senate for consideration.

Many students and their families have been upset about the steadily rising fees. But with the state facing a budget hole of at least $1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities are bracing for more cuts in state appropriations. The extension would provide them with leeway to raise fees if they cannot otherwise make up the shortfalls.

The universities turned to fees to raise funds because Louisiana, unlike most states, requires legislative approval of tuition increases.

During another freeze in state aid in 2018, LSU raised student fees about $282 a student, for a total of about $17 million, according to a report from The Advocate.

Interim LSU System President Tom Galligan said recently that he is planning for about a 10% cut in state funding, and LSU has instituted spending and hiring freezes.

Galligan added that the university gets most of its funds from tuition and fees and only 25% from taxpayers. LSU officials have said in that 75% to 80% of the school’s budget came from state appropriations a decade ago.

Read more at The Advocate.

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