higher education

As state lawmakers grapple with the $1.6-billion shortfall in the next budget, the House Appropriations Committee has asked budget analysts to investigate each department’s fiscal ups-and-downs over the Jindal administration years. Legislative budget analyst Chris Keaton says overall state revenues have dropped much less than the shortfall would indicate.

“Total state General Fund that we had available to spend went from $9.3-billion in 2006-07, to $9-billion in 2015-16,” Keaton announced Wednesday.

It's late afternoon. Most classes at Randolph College are done for the day but students have begun gathering in the lobby of the elegant, century-old main hall.

A student taps on a piano while he and four classmates wait for their philosophy professor. After-hours sessions like these are a key feature of this small, private liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Va.

It markets itself nationally as a "unique, nurturing community of learners," well worth the $45,000 a year in tuition, room and board.

When it comes to higher education, we've all heard the talking points: More people than ever are pursuing four-year degrees — despite skyrocketing tuition costs — because they don't have many other choices if they want to be competitive in the workforce.

"I went to a four-year university." "That job requires a one-year certificate." "It's a two-semester course." "She's a fifth-year senior." What do these expressions have in common? They use time as the yardstick for higher education.

Essentially, this means measuring not how much you've learned, but how long you've spent trying to learn it.

LSU Faculty Senate President, and the always well informed and loquacious Kevin Cope joins Jim today in the studio for the majority of the show to discuss financial matters concerning LSU and the LSU Faculty. He and Jim discuss the 3% pay raise for the LSU faculty members, how the school was able to find space in the budget for it, and what it means for Louisiana's higher education which has faced budget cuts in the past decade. They as well cover a plethora of other topics including a new smoke-free LSU campus, LSU Baseball, Vladimir Putin, and the San Diego Chargers, as well as much, much more.

Also, newly appointed Curator of the LSU Museum of Art, Katy Pfohl, joins Jim in studio to close out today's show and to promote the upcoming art exhibit "LeRoy Neiman:Action!" Considered the most important and inspiring sports artist of the twentieth century, LeRoy Neiman's artwork displays athletes in their element: whether that be Shaquille O'neal dunking or Tony La Russa coaching in the dugout. The exhibit begins July 31st and runs through February 15th.


 “I don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling about this,” Senate Finance Committee chairman Jack Donahue said, regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to help Higher Ed.

The House-approved measure that would have dedicated state funding for colleges and universities was shot down in Donahue’s committee late last week. Donahue, who also serves on the Senate Education Committee, said he supported the concept but was reluctant to lock up any more state dollars.

In honor of college graduation season, we made a graph. It answers a few questions we had: What is the mix of bachelor's degrees awarded today, and how has the mix changed over the past several decades?

Hover over the graph to see how the popularity of each category changes over time. Click or tap to see a category individually.

A few notes:

LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope stops by the studio to talk with Jim about higher education at LSU, as well as issues concerning LSU's tuition, infrastructure, and health care. Also, LSU Mass Communication Professor Jensen Moore joins Jim to talk about this years best, worst, and most controversial Super Bowl commercials.


When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don't readily come to mind. But many say that's what they are these days.

Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.

Despite being under a “state of emergency” due to Friday’s wintry weather, members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee braved rain, sleet and snow to get their first look at Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

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