University of Louisiana System CLOSEPRINT

Clausen: “Economic Development Depends on Priority Investments in Higher Education”

Clausen: “Economic Development Depends on Priority Investments in Higher Education” - May 24, 2002

If Louisiana expects to move ahead economically, the state must continue to invest in higher education as a priority, University of Louisiana System President Dr. Sally Clausen said today.

“Among other things, our universities train the teachers who make all other professions possible. We must continue our advancements in education if we intend to grow the state economically,” said Dr. Clausen. “That means continuing to invest in quality faculty and nationally accredited programs at our universities. Our graduates start businesses in Louisiana, create payrolls, invent new technologies, contribute to the tax base and create vibrant economic development.”

Dr. Clausen noted that the UL System graduates about 11,000 students annually, each with an average lifetime earning power of $2 million, according to a recent study. “These college graduates are economic engines that will grow Louisiana.”

“Governor Foster and the Legislature have invested in higher education as a priority in recent years, but our universities are still funded below their Southern peers, and we cannot afford to lose competitive ground,” Dr. Clausen said.

She noted that the latest figures from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) show that Louisiana appropriates about $3,700 per student enrolled in a public, four-year university compared to the Southern average of about $6,800 per student. Neighboring states, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi, appropriate about $5,700, $6,600 and $7,100 per student, respectively.

Senate President John Hainkel agreed that Louisiana must continue to invest in education. “There’s only one thing that will change Louisiana overall, and that’s more educated people. In the last six years, we’ve made more advances in education than we have in the 28 years I’ve served. ACT scores are going up, and the dropouts and remediation are going down.”

The Legislature is considering tax renewals that would provide $7 million for the eight universities in the UL System to pay higher state-mandated costs for employee insurance premiums and civil service merit raises. If the funds are not provided, the universities will have to divert funds from faculty, classrooms and other essential areas, campus officials say.

LOCAL ANGLE: Following is a list of ULS universities and the funds needed to cover the higher mandated costs: Grambling, $539,599; Louisiana Tech, $1,022,952; McNeese, $662,591; Nicholls, $739,722; Northwestern, $700,086; Southeastern, $1,126,758; UL-Lafayette, $1,455,723; and UL-Monroe, $1,155,818.

ULS officials say their universities must remain competitive when it comes to attracting and keeping quality faculty. While average faculty salaries in the UL System have been raised by almost 28% in the last six years, they were nearly 13% below the Southern average in 1996 and remain 7% below the average today. More progress is needed, university leaders say.

“Investing in higher education as a priority ensures that our universities have quality faculty and the resources they need to produce quality college graduates,” Dr. Clausen said.

Two Louisiana business leaders agree that education is key to economic development. John L. “Jack” Donahue, Jr., past chairman of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), and Bill Hines, chairman of MetroVision in New Orleans, noted that the UL System trains the majority of Louisiana’s K-12 teachers who help prepare students for their careers and professions.

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For More Information Contact:
Catherine Heitman
225/342-6950
Clausen: “Economic Development Depends on Priority Investments in Higher Education” - May 24, 2002

If Louisiana expects to move ahead economically, the state must continue to invest in higher education as a priority, University of Louisiana System President Dr. Sally Clausen said today.

“Among other things, our universities train the teachers who make all other professions possible. We must continue our advancements in education if we intend to grow the state economically,” said Dr. Clausen. “That means continuing to invest in quality faculty and nationally accredited programs at our universities. Our graduates start businesses in Louisiana, create payrolls, invent new technologies, contribute to the tax base and create vibrant economic development.”

Dr. Clausen noted that the UL System graduates about 11,000 students annually, each with an average lifetime earning power of $2 million, according to a recent study. “These college graduates are economic engines that will grow Louisiana.”

“Governor Foster and the Legislature have invested in higher education as a priority in recent years, but our universities are still funded below their Southern peers, and we cannot afford to lose competitive ground,” Dr. Clausen said.

She noted that the latest figures from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) show that Louisiana appropriates about $3,700 per student enrolled in a public, four-year university compared to the Southern average of about $6,800 per student. Neighboring states, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi, appropriate about $5,700, $6,600 and $7,100 per student, respectively.

Senate President John Hainkel agreed that Louisiana must continue to invest in education. “There’s only one thing that will change Louisiana overall, and that’s more educated people. In the last six years, we’ve made more advances in education than we have in the 28 years I’ve served. ACT scores are going up, and the dropouts and remediation are going down.”

The Legislature is considering tax renewals that would provide $7 million for the eight universities in the UL System to pay higher state-mandated costs for employee insurance premiums and civil service merit raises. If the funds are not provided, the universities will have to divert funds from faculty, classrooms and other essential areas, campus officials say.

LOCAL ANGLE: Following is a list of ULS universities and the funds needed to cover the higher mandated costs: Grambling, $539,599; Louisiana Tech, $1,022,952; McNeese, $662,591; Nicholls, $739,722; Northwestern, $700,086; Southeastern, $1,126,758; UL-Lafayette, $1,455,723; and UL-Monroe, $1,155,818.

ULS officials say their universities must remain competitive when it comes to attracting and keeping quality faculty. While average faculty salaries in the UL System have been raised by almost 28% in the last six years, they were nearly 13% below the Southern average in 1996 and remain 7% below the average today. More progress is needed, university leaders say.

“Investing in higher education as a priority ensures that our universities have quality faculty and the resources they need to produce quality college graduates,” Dr. Clausen said.

Two Louisiana business leaders agree that education is key to economic development. John L. “Jack” Donahue, Jr., past chairman of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), and Bill Hines, chairman of MetroVision in New Orleans, noted that the UL System trains the majority of Louisiana’s K-12 teachers who help prepare students for their careers and professions.

-30-
 
For More Information Contact:
Catherine Heitman
225/342-6950

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact: Cami Geisman
225.219.0270  |  Cami.Geisman@la.gov


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