Robert Alford, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round, is a former Southeastern Lion and is certainly making his community proud.
Last season, the Lions football team finished at No. 6 in FCS rankings, went to the playoffs for the first time in school history and captured its first conference title since the 1960s.
The Lions’ success is especially sweet when you remember the history of this program. In 1985, the university was forced to shut down the program due to financial difficulties, but fan support and alumni commitments allowed the program to be reinstated 18 years later.
Since fiscal year 2008, state funding for Southeastern has decreased every year, resulting in more than 400 jobs being lost. Incoming freshmen will pay 80 percent more in tuition costs in fall 2014 than in fall 2008. You read that correctly — in six short years, the tuition cost for an incoming freshman has increased 80 percent.
Amazingly, President John Crain and his administration have been able to run a college with $20 million less than they did in 2008-09. Statewide, investments in higher education have been reduced approximately $600 million.
Programs have been removed to spare critical programs. This is almost a 90 percent reduction in state funding for SLU. Louisiana puts a huge financial burden on our people, through increased tuition and fees. This means that fewer Louisiana residents are getting their college degrees.
Louisiana has cut higher education more than anywhere else in the United States in cumulative reductions. We are literally 50 of 50 at the bottom of the list.
This year’s state budget relies on $75 million in efficiencies that the Division of Administration says it is going to find in various agencies. These efficiencies were identified by a firm the state paid $5 million to give ideas on how to save money. If these efficiencies fail to materialize, we could see Southeastern once again stripped of crucial funding.
Southeastern produces significant employees for fields that are needed such as what the Louisiana Workforce Commission refers to as high-demand jobs. Louisiana must consistently restore funds for Southeastern if we have real expectations for economic growth in our region.
There are over 44,000 SLU alumni residing in the state. It is time for our unified voices to ROAR for Southeastern. It is time to “Lion Up!” Let’s have a rally during the 2015 legislative session to show our governor and legislators that we have had enough!
Email me if you are interested in being involved with helping with the rally at email@example.com.