Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo


The state legislature couldn't figure out a way to solve the budget shortfall for next fiscal year. That leaves Louisiana’s universities — and students on TOPS scholarships — wondering how to pay for school. An answer isn't likely to come before June.


Louisiana's Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo talks about restoration of TOPS and continuing budget woes on college campuses in our state.

Higher Education Getting Desperate

Jan 11, 2017
media commons

The Revenue Estimating Conference meets Friday to put an official number on the mid-year budget shortfall and start the wheels moving on cuts – which are expected to exceed $300-million. Where will the axe fall?

“Because Higher Ed and parts of health care are not protected, I believe that once again, sadly, we’re going to take a large part of the burden," says Louisiana Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo.


Higher Education officials are asking the House Appropriations Committee for $1.1 billion next fiscal year. That’s $188 million more than they received in the current budget. 

Snapshot: One Lunchtime at the Capitol

Apr 6, 2016
Sue Lincoln

The noon sun was dazzling, reflecting off hundreds of yellow shirts.  But not all those attending the disabilities rally could ascend the capitol steps. Jamie Duplechine of Lafayette, for example, was one of dozens in wheelchairs.

“Last year made 25 years that the ADA has been around, and it should have definitely made this accessible,” Duplechine said, as she craned her neck to look up the steps at the speaker’s lectern.

Only an Abundance of Caution

Feb 18, 2016
Sue Lincoln

The House Ways and Means Committee took testimony on 20 revenue-raising measures Wednesday, but voted on none, returning all of them to the calendar.

Meanwhile, in House Appropriations, committee members continued to cross examine officials about the budget crisis. 

Bell is Tolling for Higher Education

Apr 9, 2015
courtesy LSU

Louisiana’s House Appropriations Committee has been asking every agency to present their worst-case scenario when showing up for budget hearings. Wednesday, the committee got the grim prognosis—full force—from higher education.

“Higher education would be reduced by $600-million. That’s an 82-percent reduction from 14-15,” legislative budget analyst Willis Brewer stated.

"Excellence Fee" Idea Not Measuring Up

Mar 3, 2015

At first, it seemed as though everyone was breathing a sigh of relief, as the 2016 executive budget proposal unveiled last week did not slash higher education as deeply as expected.

“The true reduction to higher education is $211.3 million,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the Joint Budget Committee last Friday.

But Nichols went on to admit that number is built on “ifs” and “maybes” that include capping the business inventory tax credit, as well as asking college students to pay what the administration is calling an “excellence fee”.

Higher Education’s Waiting Game

Feb 24, 2015

“It’s horrible. It’s as bad as we’ve seen, for sure.”

Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana, says the budget cuts looming ahead for Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are nothing short of brutal.

“We’re talking about three, four, five hundred million—they’re saying—in one year? That is an insurmountable obstacle for these schools.”

Erwin attended Monday’s meeting between governing board members for all of the state’s higher education systems, and some influential lawmakers. With the governor’s budget proposal due to be unveiled Friday, all are asking the same question: How bad will it be?