The Louisiana Board of Regents is asking the Legislature for a $155.6 million increase in state aid for colleges and universities, or 14.5%.

Officials said the request is aimed at supporting its goal of doubling the number of college credentials produced in the state by 2030.

"We can lift families out of poverty and increase Louisiana's prosperity through strategic investment in education," Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed said in a statement.

Earlier this year colleges won their first basic hike in state aid in the past decade amid recurring budget problems.

The request includes $109.3 million in what officials called reinvestment in innovation, including a $36.3 million to raise salaries of professors and others to the regional average.

The state last met that target in 2008.

Another $34 million of the request would finance need-based aid, including GO Grants, and $8.8 million to fully fund the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS.

An additional 1,600 TOPS students are expected.

Only a portion of the request, which is for the financial year that begins July 1, is likely to win final approval amid conflicting demands for other state services.

Last year the regents approved a new master plan aimed at ensuring 60% of working-age adults have a post-secondary credential in 11 years.

That requires increasing the number of degrees and other credentials from 40,000 per year to 85,000 annually.

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