Nicholls faces mid-year budget cuts

THIBODAUX – The University of Louisiana System advised the administration of Nicholls State University that the university’s share of the $83.9 million mid-year budget cut announced by the governor’s office to higher education would be $1.64 million. The implementation plan for Nicholls and all of higher education is due to the governor’s office by Jan. 8, 2010. Nicholls has yet to be given any specific guidelines by the administration of the University of Louisiana System.

The Nicholls administration will look at what can be done to reduce the budget by over 5 percent with less than half a year left of the 2009-10 budget.  With the short notice, the specifics cannot be discussed until the week after Christmas.

“Although we budgeted conservatively because of the possibility of a mid-year budget cut, to implement a cut of this magnitude in two weeks is indeed a daunting task. However, we will make the reductions necessary with as little impact on our students and their progress to degree as we possibly can,”  Stephen Hulbert, president of Nicholls said.

This is the third budget cut to higher education in a year’s time. The total cut to Nicholls over the last year stands at $6.1 million.This amounts to almost a 17 percent decrease in state funding from the 2008-09 budget year when state funding to higher education was at about 96 percent of the southern average. The governor’s office has also asked the Postsecondary Education Review Commission (PERC) to determine how to cut higher education by another $146 million for the 2010-11 budget year. If this occurs, the total cuts to higher education in 18 months will be about $400 million dollars.

“With these anticipated drastic cuts, it becomes very difficult for higher education institutions, including technical schools, community colleges and universities, to provide the education and graduates that support the high end economic development of the region and the state. We will do what needs to be done, but it cannot be without a high cost to our region and the state,” Hulbert said.

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