Dear Faculty and Staff,
Louisiana higher education is getting additional attention since the swearing in of our new governor.
Last week, the final report from the Higher Education Transition Committee was submitted to Governor John Bel Edwards. The report can be found at http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/transition-committee-on-higher-education-releases-final-report.
The committee, on which I had the privilege of serving, made recommendations related to the state of higher education, focusing on ways to improve access and affordability while strengthening outcomes and accountability.
This week, The Advocate is publishing an eight-day series on higher education. Other media outlets throughout the state are running budgetary stories and editorials.
Tomorrow, several University administrators and I will meet with legislative delegates from Acadiana to discuss our concerns and hopes for the future of higher ed funding.
The governor is calling a special session on Feb. 14 to address a projected $750 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. The day before, he will present his executive budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, in which a $1.9 billion deficit is projected.
As discussions ramp up around budgets, please know that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has a strong foundation and it will continue to make progress. We are confident that our elected officials will work together to provide solutions to the state’s financial challenges.
As in the past, we will strive to protect our academic core, preserve our research vitality, and support the community and state through engagement and economic development.
We look forward to working with Gov. Edwards and the state legislature during the budgetary process. Thank you for your dedication to our students and the University.
Dr. E. Joseph Savoie