College boards need to consider family budgets
Parents and students will have to reach deeper into their pockets for the fall semester in the LSU and Southern university systems to pay for new, campus-wide fee hikes of up to five percent on their students. The fee increases are not covered by the state’s TOPS tuition aid program.
At LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge, full-time students are paying $282 more a semester. Southern’s students in Baton Rouge are being charged an extra $217 per semester and at its New Orleans Campus, $169 additional per semester.
Some lawmakers were surprised at the fee hikes, thinking the students wouldn’t face increases because the colleges were shielded from state financing cuts.
House speaker Taylor Barras was quoted as saying he was surprised and disappointed about this outcome. He was also unhappy with the LSU Board of Supervisors raising fees, as well as with Southern University’s governing board.
The UL System’s Cami Geisman said its member institutions would not increase fees this fall, but has made no decision for the spring semester.
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System didn’t impose mandatory fee increases for the fall semester. However, it did increase fees for some specific programs. In addition, it reportedly may consider minor fee increases for the spring semester.
The various college boards justified the increases by citing rising costs, such as 10 percent pay raises for faculty salaries, health care and retirement costs.
Southern University’s President-Chancellor Ray Belton told the press they have been in a “survival mode” for the last few years.
Blake Chatelain was reported as saying costs are rising every year and that expenditures per student are significantly below par.
The authority for raising tuition costs still resides in the Legislature, but the college systems were allowed to raises fees within certain parameters until mid-2020.
Hopefully the various college boards are also taking into consideration the budgets of Louisiana families, and will not abuse their fee-raising power and not put a college education outside the capabilities of the average income family.