Former state Representative Vic Stelly said Wednesday he is stepping down from the state Board of Regents on Friday because he is "disillusioned and disappointed at the direction" higher education is going throughout the state.
"Higher ed budgeting from the state has gone down almost $500 million since 2008," he
"It's just taken a nosedive.
Something has got to change in Louisiana."
is leaving the board six months before his
term was supposed to end Dec. 31.
was appointed by then-Gov.
said higher education is "not a high priority" for Gov.
said the high point came in 2008, when the state's higher education funding level reached the national average of the southern states for the first time in 25 years.
Since then, he
said, the board has dealt with annual budget cuts, including a $25 million reduction one month before the end of the current fiscal year.
"That's almost impossible," Stelly
"But then, we've already been told to get ready for the mid-year budget cut next year."
was not pleased with comments from state Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Jim Purcell that the cuts could have been worse.
"How many times do we say that," Stelly
"Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?
I say there isn't."
said that "perception is reality" when it comes to claims that the state has too many universities.
A study he
did comparing Louisiana with other southern states showed similar numbers.
"We're in the ballpark," Stelly
"Why is less necessarily better?
If that was the case, let's close every school in Louisiana (and) build one gigantic school right in the middle of the state."
said the state's universities are raising tuition to make up for the cuts.
has raised its annual tuition by 10 percent over the last three years.
One of Stelly's
"pet peeves" is how the nation counts its college graduates.
This spring, 770 students graduated from McNeese
, but only 330 were counted.
Only students who start and finish a university within six years are counted as graduates, he
"(If) you start McNeese and transfer to another school or drop out to go to work, you don't count," he said.
"It's misleading when you say the graduation rate at McNeese
is only 40 percent."
is leaving the board "on his
"Government should provide for the education of our citizens," Stelly