Earlier, I mentioned an on-line petition by a father unhappy to learn recently his child might not receive the expected state aid to enroll next fall in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. In the past, Arkansas has worked out deals that allowed nine Arkansas students to enter LSU each year at resident tuition rates. The school has begun notifying new Arkansas students that they might not receive the subsidy next year. (Existing students aren’t losing past grants.)
Shane Broadway, interim director of the state Higher Education Department, explains that this is fallout from state money shortfalls. The department, which had been spending accumulated fund balances to support a wide range of scholarship programs, has spent down the surplus in part because of a rising demand for undergraduate scholarship help. Higher Ed asked the legislature for an additional $7 million to continue all 24 scholarship programs at existing levels. It got only $2 million and legislators directed that all that money go to the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship program, 300 top students who get $10,000 a year. That program was going to be cut by two-thirds without the money and students digitally bombed legislators with complaints.
Somewhat overlooked in the fight to save those scholarships was the department’s broad range of other scholarship aid that now must produce $5 million in savings.
It will mean sharp cuts in the 77 entering slots that had been provided in past years in dentistry, podiatry, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, osteopathic medicine and optometry. There are a range of subsidies — all shown at this Higher Ed link. Broadway said, for example, that subsidies for slots at vet school could drop from 12 to 5. (Each school decides which Arkansas students will receive the benefit, not the state of Arkansas.) The final number will depend on how many students already receiving aid continue in school. Enough are completing chiropractic studies, for example, that Broadway anticipates that the state might even be able to fund additional entering chiropractic slots. Broadway said he’d been broadcasting widely, including with a disclaimer on the website, the possibility of cuts in programs.
Professional schools aren’t the only area where students will feel cuts. The reductions also will affect scholarship for children of people in the military and for children of law officers who died in the line of duty.
I hope to have a detailed list of projected cuts shortly.
UPDATE: Here are the projected cuts. Broadway cautions they are not firm figures.
On the jump is a note Broadway wrote during the legislative session when a parent raised a question about scholarship cuts. It explains circumstances in more detail: