One of the South’s most popular universities, and a flagship public college, Louisiana State University, is currently facing a $55.5 million state funding cut; not only will LSU need to restructure its annual budget, but the regents will also need to prepare for a devastating alternative: bankruptcy. That’s right, LSU is now mulling the possibility of entering into bankruptcy proceedings.
However, more bothersome is the fact that LSU, even with its many impending financial issues, has not embraced austerity. The most egregious example of financial spending gone awry is reflected by the school’s ongoing plan to add and rebuild luxury recreational facilities. At the cost of $85 million, which we all know to be greater than $55.5 million, LSU has begun development of a “lazy river” pool in the shape of the university’s initials.
LSU has released a statement in regards to this lunacy stating that the construction funds will come from increased student recreational membership fees. However, if LSU can generate $85 million from higher recreation fees, shouldn’t the university allocate said money to offsetting its $55 million budget shortfall? Students currently pay an additional $200/semester fee in order to finance recreational construction expenses. Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana is considering a $600 million collegiate budget cut to lessen its $1.6 billion deficit; this represents a 37.5% decline in higher education funding. Nevertheless, LSU is still focused on creating its lavish pool, saying that it will set “the benchmark for the next level [of collegiate recreational facilities].”
If LSU declares bankruptcy, it will be allowed to change its contracts and financial obligations. This allows the school more leeway to either layoff professors or, more preferably, eliminate unnecessary programs. In any case, there is a high likelihood that LSU will raise undergraduate tuition to combat its financial hardships.