UPDATE: La. higher education funding gets major boost - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

UPDATE: La. higher education funding gets major boost

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UPDATE: BATON ROUGE,La. (KNOE 8 News)-Tuesday in Baton Rouge Governor Bobby Jindal announced a higher education funding increase of over 140 million dollars for the next fiscal year.

That's a 6.6 percent increase in the budget compared to this year one needed by Louisiana colleges.

A many colleges can't wait to get their hands on it.

"The state funds have been reduced more than our revenue has come in on our tuition so by stabilizing our state funds it allows us to keep our revenue then it gives us some money to offset the cost without increasing funding being available" says ULM President Nick Bruno.

The funding also includes a higher education workforce initiative of 40-million dollars.

The new incentive fund will be called the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund.

It's the Governor's hope that universities work with private businesses to better prepare students for their careers after graduation.

For schools like Grambling State University, who have seen cut after cut, they are happy for the stability.

"Grambling will have a steady state of funding which means for the first time we will have some stability in funding" says President Poe.

Now the funding will go into effect next year.



BATON ROUGE (KNOE 8 News) – Governor Bobby Jindal joined leaders from higher education systems across Louisiana to announce a funding increase of $141.5 million for higher education institutions for the next fiscal year. The funding hike represents a 6.66 percent increase over the budget for the current fiscal year. This funding includes a new higher education workforce incentive initiative of $40 million that will better prepare Louisiana students to compete in the new global economy.

The money in the incentive fund will be made available to state research institutions that produce nationally recognized commercial research and to state colleges and universities that partner with private industry to produce graduates with high-demand degrees and certificates, and enable them to link their coursework to industry needs and projected workforce demands.

Governor Jindal said, "Our higher education institutions have done an incredible job over the past six years instituting a number of reforms to help more of our students graduate. These results are a testament to the incredible work of our faculty and students at schools across Louisiana.

"The reforms are working, but it's time to redouble our efforts. We are in the midst of an economic renaissance in Louisiana. Since 2008, we have announced economic development wins that are resulting in more than 80,000 new jobs and more than $50 billion in private capital investment. Because of these job wins, more people are employed than ever before in Louisiana.

"Tens of thousands of jobs are now in the pipeline that must be filled, and our next challenge is to ensure we have the skilled workforce to fill these jobs of the future. Economists have recently said they have never seen an industrial expansion like the one under way in Louisiana, but have also warned that we must do a better job training skilled workers that will be needed to fill the demand for jobs at the major industrial and high tech projects coming to Louisiana. That's why our top priority must be making sure we have the resources to prepare our students and train them for the jobs of the future.

"In order to help meet this goal, our budget for the next fiscal year will increase state general funding for higher education and increase total higher education funding by $141.5 million – a 6.66 percent increase over last year. This funding includes a new higher education workforce incentive initiative of $40 million that will better prepare Louisiana students to compete in the new global economy.

"A few months ago I sat down with our higher education leaders and said we have brought thousands of jobs to Louisiana. If you had new money, how would you reinvest it to make sure we have the qualified workforce to take those jobs? The leaders of our higher education institutions came up with an innovative plan. The fund will strengthen the critical linkage between college coursework and employment needs in our state."

LSU President & Chancellor F. King Alexander said, "We appreciate the Governor supporting the investment plan that will ultimately assist us in helping to address the state's increasing workforce and innovation needs. We want to be an active partner in the future economic development and prosperity of Louisiana."

President of the University of Louisiana System Dr. Sandra Woodley said, "In the University of Louisiana System, there is a deep sense of responsibility and urgency to increase the pace at our nine universities to meet growing workforce demands and to achieve national competitiveness. We are greatly appreciative of Governor Jindal's support of the WISE plan and are committed to leveraging these new dollars, engaging in unprecedented collaboration across higher education systems, and enhancing our partnerships with business and industry to drive economic development."

President of the Southern University System Dr. Ron Mason, said "The fund promises to invest in the enhancement of Southern University System's high demand programs, which is an investment on our future success."

President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Dr. Joe May said, "Today's announcement by Governor Jindal reaffirms his commitment to advancing Louisiana to the forefront of economic development, building strong communities, and shaping a higher education landscape where students will compete locally, nationally, and globally. Specifically, community and technical colleges will continue to meet the needs of students and business and industry by training citizens in high demand programs that lead to well paying jobs. The work of the administration, LED, and the Workforce Commission to spearhead the state's economic growth has been nothing short of amazing. Today is the result of collaboration and doing what is in the best interest of the state and our citizens will be the benefactors."

Board of Regents Chairman Clinton Rasberry said, "The Board of Regents recognizes the critical role that higher education plays in economic development in our state. To ensure that Louisiana remains preeminent in workforce development, all entities have collaborated to achieve unprecedented success. We are grateful to Governor Jindal and his team for working with the Regents and all of our higher education systems for the development of the WISE plan. This initiative will help our universities prepare individuals to meet the evolving demand for skilled labor."

The new incentive fund will be called the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund – or WISE Fund. The funds will be made available to state research institutions that produce nationally recognized commercial research and to state colleges and universities that produce graduates with 4 and 5 STAR job ready degrees.

This performance based formula rewards and incentivizes the degrees that occupational forecasting and industry have shown are the most employable and the most in demand. To receive these funds, institutions will have to partner with private industry by recruiting at least a 20 percent private match in cash or in kind, such as technology and equipment.

Each institution will present a business plan that will demonstrate how the funds will be invested to reach the number of degrees we need as a state to fill the jobs we have now and in the next few years. And every year, each institution will be held accountable for reaching their goals to produce those degrees. Using data-driven predictive modeling with actual numbers from business and industry, experts were able to figure out how to predict how many and what level of degrees needed to meet workforce demands.

Governor Jindal said this collaboration between Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the leaders of higher education has created a targeted investment strategy that spends dollars on the degrees needed to for the jobs coming to Louisiana.

These partnerships are already in the work at Louisiana's colleges and universities. IBM has entered into a partnership with the LSU School of Engineering. As part of IBM's project in downtown Baton Rouge, LSU committed to triple its computer science graduates in five years, which will place the LSU Computer Science program in the top 10-15 nationally for the number of B.S. degrees in computer science awarded nationally. The College will also expand its computer science programs and curriculum innovation, as LSU students will benefit from internship opportunities and more jobs upon graduation, keeping the best and brightest in the state.

In the UL System, LED recently partnered with UNO and GE Capital for the creation of the GE Capital's Software Engineering Apprenticeship program. By the end of 2015, GE Capital plans to hire 40 UNO students enrolled in the computer science program in apprentice positions. SWEAP provides students at UNO with specialized training, experience and mentorship opportunities which will set them apart from other graduates.

Bossier Parish Community College recently received a $750,000 investment from EnCana Oil & Gas and Shell E&P to create an Oil & Gas Production Technology program. In New Orleans, Delgado partnered with 45 regional manufacturing and construction firms such as Laitram, Cornerstone, Shell, and Bollinger, in addition to UNO, Southeastern, and Nicholls, to produce 1,500 qualified graduates over four years for the booming manufacturing sector.

Southern University recently partnered with Genesis Energy to create a $100,000 scholarship fund, invest $25,000 in Southern's Civil and Engineering labs, and help Southern ensure its curricula were aligned with the workforce needs of Genesis, among other things.

Statement from Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue:

Grambling, La. (January 21, 2014) Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue called Gov. Bobby Jindal's Tuesday announcement that the state will support higher education with a $141.5 million infusion in the coming fiscal year "great news" that will help GSU and all higher education institution across the state.

"This commitment from the governor is wonderful news for students and higher education in the state generally," said Pogue. "Having spent several consecutive years with multiple budget cuts -- at least two each year -- the thought of being able to plan for the next academic year and beyond is nothing more than absolutely exciting."

The total funding, equaling about 6.66 percent increase beyond the current fiscal year budget, will provide GSU with a part of that amount, providing some much-needed relief, the president said.  In the last six years, Grambling State has instituted multiple layoffs, reduced the number of vice presidents and associate vice presidents, reduced the number of deans and reduced the number of degree programs from a high of 67 to the current 47.

"A state commitment to stabilize tuition and to allow campuses to retain the revenue generated from student tuition is an important development, and one that allows university presidents, chief academic officers and chief financial officers and others to do their jobs," added Pogue.

The governor also announced a $40 million workforce incentive initiative fund that will match higher education research institutions with additional financial help for those producing students with high-demand certificates and degrees.

"While $40 million for all of higher education is not going to be enough to help all community colleges and four year institutions," said Pogue, "it's a good start and a good opportunity for Grambling State University and others to consider ways we can connect university needs to these specific state requirements so we can better meet student needs.

"Overall, this is a good day for higher education in Louisiana, and very good evidence that Louisiana can turn things around for its deserving students and employees."


MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A higher education funding announcement is set to be made Tuesday in Baton Rouge.

Gov. Bobby Jindal will make the announcement today at 12:30 on the Louisiana State University campus.

KNOE 8 News has confirmed that Dr. Nick Bruno from ULM and Dr. Frank Pogue from Grambling State University are headed to the announcement.

When asked about further information regarding the announcement from both universities' communications offices, we were told to contact the governor's office. No details were given.

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