Higher ed cost cuts could cost students

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana's current college graduation rate is at 37%.

Governor Bobby Jindal and his higher education commission sat down earlier this week to discuss how to boost the graduation rate and cut spending at four year universities.

"Our universities do a great job, but we need to do a couple of things. One, we can't afford duplication," says Governor Bobby Jindal.

The commission is proposing possibly shifting college introductory classes to community colleges.

"We need to have regional and unique areas of excellence where each school focuses on what they do best," says Jindal.

This change would cut the cost of spending at four year universities,and set aside more money towards improving areas of focus.

However, this change could be costly for some MSU students.

"My basic courses are different from other people's, because they are courses preparing me for my clinical experience," says Katherine Mire, a nursing student at McNeese State University.

Since she has specific introductory courses, she fears going to a community college for basics would not properly equip her for the nursing program at MSU.

"I'm concerned that they wouldn't roll over or that they would end up making my degree take longer," says Mire.

While it might disrupt some students' college careers paths, some students have other concerns about having to complete their basics at a two year college before transferring.

"Moving here as a junior, it would really be hard to be involved in things. Because people are already here, it would be like starting all over again," says Martha Pittman, MSU Junior.

And while it may be saving the state money, it could be costing the students more money.

"It sounds good at first because two year colleges are normally cheaper, but you've got to worry about all the little details like how are you going to get there, where are you going to stay, things like that," says Andrew Connell, MSU Junior.

The review commission plans to meet a few more times to discuss more higher education improvement opportunities.

Legislators might vote on the proposals as early as the next legislative session.

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