Louisiana State University has been hurt by a loss of $45 million in state aid over the last two years, LSU provost Jack Hamilton said this week, but additional cuts could cause longer-lasting damage.

Gov. Bobby Jindal last year said that higher education could expect a 32% reduction in state aid in fiscal 2012, but has since lowered the target to a 10% cut. The state is expecting a $1.2 billion revenue shortfall in fiscal 2012.

Hamilton told the Press Club of Baton Rouge that LSU would be forced to cut academic programs and further reduce services if it loses another $20 million of state general fund aid.

“We are trying to protect the academic core of LSU,” he said.

A $10 million cut could be absorbed, Hamilton said, but even Jindal’s revised 10% reduction would mean the school would lose more than $20 million a year. LSU has laid off 376 employees, including 140 faculty positions, at the Baton Rouge campus since state aid began declining in early 2009.

“Even before these cuts began, LSU was one of the most poorly funded major research institutions in the country,” he said. “That’s 140 faculty who would be teaching class, producing research, winning federal grants, and shaping students’ lives.”

Hamilton said increased tuition has softened some of the financial blow, but LSU has had to eliminate some foreign language programs.

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