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Sun Apr 26, 2015, 12:32 PM

NBC: Amid Funding Cuts, Will LSU Have to Declare 'Bankruptcy'?


Under financial exigency, a bankruptcy-like status that gives institutions a legal pathway to change contracts or other financial obligations, schools would have more freedom to lay off tenured professors or eliminate programs and departments.

"We need to have every tool at our disposal to survive," said F. King Alexander, president and chancellor of the Louisiana State University system, who added that the school still hoped to avoid exigency. "We're optimistic that we can get through this but as managers of the institution, we've got to play out every scenario," he said.

Worst-case scenario

But without a rescue from lawmakers, Alexander said programs could be dropped or entire departments shuttered under a worst-case scenario. "Specifically, we don't know which programs or departments we're talking about [but] it would require us to utilize every tool possible," he said.

Even if the worst-case scenario doesn't come to pass, it's possible students could find themselves paying more, through increases in tuition and fees or decreases in the state's TOPS scholarship program. Lawmakers have historically been reluctant to raise tuition -- currently $8,758 for tuition and fees for in-state students at LSU -- but there is discussion about giving schools themselves more freedom to do so.

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