GRAMBLING, LA (KNOE 8 NEWS) Grambling State University President Dr. Willie Larkin hosted a town hall meeting Thursday. He addressed some of the concerns at the university...mainly related to proposed cuts to higher education. This meeting came just hours before the State announced the suspension of TOPS.
President Larkin said the University of Louisiana System proposed a $2.5 million budget cut, which will create some big challenges for Grambling.
"We're trying to create additional revenue streams in addition to tuition that we get," said President Larkin.
It normally takes about $3 million fund a university according to Leon Sanders, Vice President for Finance at GSU. Sanders said that Grambling is working with less than $800,000. That number could be even less with the suspension of TOPS financial aid payments. TOPS -- the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, is a Louisiana college scholarship program that generally covers tuition for in-state students.
President Larkin said increasing tuition would push students away...the university has already lost about 700 students. Grambling instead will look into reorganizing the university by increasing recruitment strategies, addressing furloughs, hiring freezes and even moving to a 4-day work week to save energy and electric costs..
The crowd was full of questions. One woman asked when would the nursing program come back to the university. President Larkin’s response was that the nursing program closed three days before he arrived to the university, but he did say the university has until July 1, 2016 to file for reinstatement.
Others were concerned why the public has not been given specifics about budget cuts, but President Larkin said the university is not trying to hide any specifics...they're just waiting until they know exactly what the budget cuts will be, and that answer will likely be in March.
Additionally, Grambling has to submit a plan to the University of Louisiana System by Friday on how it will approach the multi-million dollar budget cut.