A Message from the President

I hope everyone is experiencing a good start to the fall semester. Although there are still a few adjustments that could occur prior to our official census date, initial student enrollment numbers are tracking fairly closely with projections.

As you may have noticed from recent media stories, the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference recognized a small shortfall in the State budget on August 14. While any budget shortfall is cause for concern, this one is somewhat different than others experienced in previous years.

Because of the extraordinary number of new revenue measures enacted by the Legislature during the recent legislative session, it was necessary for the Revenue Estimating Conference to analyze and validate revenue estimates early in the new fiscal year which began on July 1. The recently reported shortfall of $4.6 million is due to this process of reconciling anticipated expenses and revenues given all the newly enacted revenue measures.

Today we learned that higher education’s part of the shortfall is $3.8 million, and Southeastern’s allocation is $146,000. Although every dollar counts, the reduction for Southeastern represents a very small percentage of our nearly $116 million operating budget. In addition, we are very early in the fiscal year, giving us more options to accommodate this modification to the budget. As a result, there will be no changes in previously approved campus budget allocations at this time.

Going forward, we are concerned about the potential impact of persistently low oil prices on the State budget. Revenue estimates for the 2015-16 State budget are based on oil prices in the range of $60 per barrel, while actual prices have been closer to $40 per barrel. If oil prices continue to be significantly lower than what was budgeted, the Revenue Estimating Conference will have to adjust budget projections accordingly. This could have a much more profound impact on our campus resources.

As always, we will continue to monitor these and other issues of importance to the university and keep the campus informed.

John L. Crain