Southern University System President asks Louisiana lawmakers to fix $1B underfunding

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Southern University System President Dennis Shields went before Louisiana lawmakers and asked them to make good on a reported long-term funding shortfall of well over a billion dollars.

Shields was basing the number off a letter issued last year by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In a letter to former Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, the agencies cited data from 1987 to 2020 stating that funding per student equal to LSU would have led to another $1.1 billion dollars being provided to Southern due to its land grant status.

“A recent report indicated that, that parity is, has not been happening for Southern University over the last 30 years. Something north of $1.1 billion is where we’re trailing. I would ask this body to take action this year to immediately begin addressing that by increasing our base funding significantly and by addressing our physical needs,” said Shields.

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Shields told lawmakers that Southern University has more than $430 million in capital projects waiting to be approved.

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