A Message from the President
July 14, 2016
As described in my most recent campus budget updates as well as recent media reports, Southeastern suffered a frustrating and unexpected setback when the Louisiana Board of Regents modified its funding formula, resulting in a nearly $1.4 million reduction in our state funds for the new fiscal year. Given our prior 16 reductions in state funds totaling approximately $50 million on an annual basis, this is certainly not an insignificant cut.
In addition to this reduction in state funds, we will again experience an increase in mandated costs passed through to us from the state for risk management and legislative audit costs.
Given these developments, I have worked with staff in our budget office and others to determine the best course of action going forward. While we are pursuing every opportunity to achieve additional operational efficiencies, state budget cuts over the last eight years have resulted in numerous streamlining efforts as well as program and staff reductions, thus leaving little additional savings to be achieved through efficiencies.
Accordingly, we are left with no choice but to turn to additional revenue measures. Like other higher education institutions in Louisiana, over the last several years we have significantly increased student tuition/fee rates. However, Southeastern historically has had tuition/fee rates that are lower than other comparable Louisiana institutions. As other institutions appear to also be increasing tuition and fees at this time, Southeastern's cost of attendance should remain very competitive with other regional institutions in Louisiana.
I am highly sensitive to the impact any additional increase will have on our students. Therefore, we will implement a very modest increase in tuition for both the fall and spring semesters of slightly more than 3%. This will amount to approximately $124 for a full-time undergraduate student for the fall semester and an additional $124 for the spring semester.
To help ease this financial strain on our students, we will take the following actions:
- Structure this increase in such a way that it will also result in an increase in our baseline TOPS awards, thus defraying a portion of the increase for students who are eligible for TOPS.
- Increase our internal budget allocation for scholarship funds for students who have the most pressing financial need, thereby helping partially mitigate the impact of the increase in cost of attendance for these students.
- Increase our budget allocations to departments for work-study funds to provide additional opportunities for students to work on campus and help defray the increased cost of attendance.
I hope these steps will provide some relief for our students and their families while the university maintains financial stability despite suffering our 17th reduction in state support in the past eight years.
John L. Crain