Yes, with the state ranked 18th among all states and the District of Columbia in per capita spending it’s clear that higher education spends money inefficiently, primarily because of its overbuilt nature. And it’s not like spending generally has not been increasing for higher education in Louisiana: going back to former Gov. Mike Foster's first year, total spending on higher education to this past year has increased 95 percent. During this same period, the inflation rate increased only 51 percent. Adjusted for student credit hours delivered, which gives an indication of output, the increase still is 63 percent. In other words, in the past 18 years, changes in spending on higher education outpaced inflation.
Yet as previously noted, any plan to rectify revenue shortfalls cannot be done hastily in the breech, as this year’s budgeting task would dictate, so offered as a solution was the temporary suspension of unproductive tax exceptions. However, the tuition-raising option also makes sense. Under current law, because the Legislature oddly has a veto power over tuition hikes, that was modified to allow up to 10 percent increase unilaterally by institutions if they met certain performance benchmarks. So, the Legislature could amend it to allow for something like a one-time hike beyond 10 percent to help bail out higher education this year.