Nicholls submits balanced budget to Board of Supervisors

THIBODAUX – Nicholls State University submitted a balanced budget to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors today, accounting for last month’s elimination of 11 academic programs and concentrations as well as 76 faculty and staff positions – 27 of which were already vacant. By policy, 14 of these positions will remain in effect until the end of the current academic year.

The university has also eliminated merit raises, cut adjunct positions, departmental operating and travel budgets, and eliminated one sport while reducing the athletics budget by more than $500,000.

The state of Louisiana’s recent budget reductions to higher education, totaling $2.97 million for Nicholls, necessitated these cuts in positions and programs.

“The actual impact on Nicholls, however, is much greater than $2.97 million,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “The reduction outlined in our current budget does not include the $1.45 million already cut from Nicholls in mid-2009, nor does it account for the almost $800,000 in mandated costs unfunded by the state for the upcoming year. When totaled, such figures amount to a 14.5-percent cut – or $5.22 million of our state funding. The 5-percent tuition increase approved by the legislature helps somewhat, but it barely covers the increase in mandated costs.”

Hulbert said his goal has been to protect the academic core of the university, and he is confident that has been achieved. However, with Gov. Bobby Jindal forecasting the possibility of further budget cuts in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the outlook is uncertain.

“With almost every department affected by an increased workload, our faculty and staff have really pulled together to help keep the central mission of Nicholls alive and vibrant,” Hulbert said. “Whatever the future holds, Nicholls remains the university of choice for the Bayou Region – and we will strive to keep it so. I encourage everyone to continue to voice support for higher education in Louisiana. Indeed the future of the entire state depends on it.”