Lousiana's colleges and universities will have to take at least $200 million in additional budget cuts based on the way the state budget bill is now structured, higher education officials said Saturday.
Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said he met with Paul Rainwater, Gov. Bobby Jindal's chief budget adviser, and was told that "higher education should expect a cut of $200 million in state funds in the upcoming budget year" that starts July 1. Purcell sent a memo to officials of all state colleges asking for suggestions on "what you think the best way forward will be. The budget conversation in the Legislature will expedite this week, and we will need to articulate the impact of such a cut," Purcell's memo said.
The budget bill, House Bill 1, is expected to be discussed by the Senate Finance Committee next week. The committee or the full Senate could vote to restore money that has been cut by the House.