Winners and losers of Louisiana’s state budget

The roller coaster ride that was the 2015 Louisiana Legislative session recently came to a merciful end as fears that higher education funding would be cut by nearly 85% were calmed.

By way of, “Louisiana’s higher education institutions will receive approximately $630 million of the $750 million in extra revenue raised through the tax increases and tax credit rollbacks passed by the Legislature this session.”

That’s an abrupt departure from what was reported earlier this year due to the state’s billion dollar budget shortfall.

It was so bad that LSU started the process of filing paperwork for academic bankruptcy just in case their funding was slashed. If so, the university would have laid off staff, cut student programs, and stopped production on upgrades to the student recreational center.

Instead funding levels will remain the same from 2014. But while the state’s public colleges and universities breathed a sigh of relief, future college students will take a slight hit.

The state’s scholarship program called TOPS will see funding limitations which will require families in the state to assume more responsibility “for coverage more of their tuition bills moving forward.”

But it wasn’t all bad. K-12 education will see a funding boost of nearly $85 million from last year.

This all seems to be good news, sans what may happen to TOPS, considering where the state’s education system was headed just a few short months ago. With higher education funding safe this year, the budget shortfall closed, and more money for K-12 education all in the face financial doom and ruin, Louisiana state lawmakers may have pulled off one of the best magic tricks of the decade.

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