LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Board of Regents announced Wednesday more than 450 academic programs from universities across the state are at risk of being cut due to low-completion rates. Among the list - 22 programs from McNeese State University.
Since receiving word from the Board of Regents last week, university officials have been reviewing data from those programs from the 2007 to 2010 academic years.
"We're looking at enrollment histories, we're looking at graduation rate histories," said Candace Townsend, MSU Spokesperson.
To avoid qualifying as a "low-completer" program:
Undergraduate programs: an average of 8 graduates per year or a minimum of 24 over three years.
Masters programs: 5 graduates per year or a minimum of 15 over three years.
Doctoral programs: 2 graduates or an average of six over three years.
"It is critical that we improve the efficiency and productivity of our institutions" delivery of academic programs. Today we will address a more stringent review that launches a very aggressive step in this process," said Board of Regents Chairman Bob Levy. "Regents will begin by putting all low-completer and duplicative programs on the table so as to drive our state's effort to become more productive and efficient concerning degree offerings. This is extremely important because it marks the first step in a series of actions which will culminate in a post-secondary education system that delivers services more efficiently, yet maintains quality and accessibility."
No ones ready to talk specifics, but Townsend says they're working to minimize the impact to students and faculty. They have until the end of February to justify why the programs should not be dropped.
"We'll be looking to see if we can perhaps restructure the degree programs. Perhaps merge or consolidate degrees so that students will not see an academic impact. But we may have one less degree program to our inventory but the courses would still be taught," explained Townsend.
Townsend says there is still a chance all won't be saved. "Practically speaking... We're probably not going to be able to save all 22," said Townsend.
However Townsend says McNeese is in a good position to defend their programs. McNeese is the most geographically isolated university in the state.
"There's some courses and degrees we offer that may have low enrollment, but are necessary for people to go out and work in our area," said Townsend. "The nearest university in Louisiana is University of Louisiana at Lafayette. And those students would chose not to travel an hour to get a degree in that subject they may go to Lamar and then you run the risk of them going to job fairs there and taking a job out of state."
The universities have until the end of February to make their cases to the Board of Regents on why the programs should not be cut.
"We will require systems and campuses to vigorously defend any request to continue a low-completer program by the use of clear data and analysis to overcome the presumption against maintaining a low productivity degree," said Levy. "In addition to this effort at improving productivity, the board will make additional recommendations that support the overall goal of increased educational attainment."
The following list represents the number of programs by system and campus that have been identified as "low-completer":
LSU A&M 34
LSUHSC-New Orleans 24
Southern A&M 36
Southeastern Louisiana University 22
Nicholls State University 16
University of Louisiana at Lafayette 27
McNeese State University 22
University of Louisiana at Monroe 32
Louisiana Tech 46
Grambling State University 31
Northwestern State University 16
Bossier Parish Community College 5
Baton Rouge Community College 3
Delgado Community College 14
Fletcher Community College 6
Delta Community College 2
Nunez Community College 5
River Parishes Community College 2
South Louisiana Community College 2
Southwest Louisiana Community College 5
Capital Area 4
South Central 2
Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.
PAGE 3-Low-Completer Review
Louisiana Community and Technical College System 72
The Board of Regents is an Equal Opportunity and ADA Employer
University of Louisiana System 212
Southern University System 53
LSU System 122