The piece begins by alleging “Eight years of state budget cuts have led to some student turn-offs to public higher education in Louisiana, and it's showing,” then further postulates cuts translated into higher tuition and fees, which then discouraged some students from attending. As evidence, it points to the number of attending students in academic year 2010 – a figure derived from what is called the “14th day registration,” or the number enrolled at an institution on the 14th day of the fall term – compared to 2015, a drop of around 10,000.
The obvious question appears immediately – if “eight years of state budget cuts” caused this, why do we view only five years of data; why not view AY 2008 to AY 2016 data? Not including the latter endpoint makes sense at this time because it’s impossible: the 14th day number for all institutions won’t come through for another month. Which then begs another question: why did this piece get written now, using nearly year-old data when waiting a month would have produced fresh data?