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Survey shows LA residents worried about cuts to higher ed


POSTED: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 2:05pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 3:18pm

What are most Louisiana residents thinking about in 2011? One LSU research team found out. A survey shows most people are concerned over state budget cuts, especially when it comes to higher education.

In the 2011 Louisiana Survey, certain policy issues rang loud and clear.

"I have a daughter in college right now, and from an education side, that's a big hit," says concerned resident Ron Camet.

"It's definitely something that needs to be a big concern," says LSU senior Alissa Allphin.

LSU researchers found that 88%of Louisiana residents are worried that cuts to higher ed will hurt academic programs across the entire state. The frustration is there, but no one's really sure what to do about it.

"When it comes to allowing colleges and universities to increase tuition, they're iffy," says LSU professor and LSU Public Policy Research Lab Director Kirby Goidel. "When we ask them about consolidating colleges and universities, they're outright opposed."

According to the survey, 71% questioned say no to consolidating schools. "I think merging should be a last resort," says Allphin.

But not everyone agrees with that idea. "If it's not a use to my tax dollars, then shut the university down," says Camet.

Raising tuition wasn't much of an option either. Only 42% said they'd pay more to help offset those cuts. "I think I'd be willing to pay more for tuition, so that more things are available to all students," says LSU music student Eduardo Jimenez.

Still, most residents agree, soemthing needs to be done. "It's not just me that I'm worried about," says Jimenez.

Goidel says the survey is sent out to the legislature, so that lawmakers have access to it's results.With the legislative session right around the corner, researchers hope lawmakers will use the survey to help bring about change. "The public is a little more open than we give them credit for. Let's see if we can move them in a specific direction," says Goidel.

The Louisiana Survey is done annually. This year, 725 people were interviewed over the phone about all kinds of issues affecting the state, including tax revenue and health care.

Check out the links below to see the full survey, and the survey's website.

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