Public universities and community colleges across the state are still funded below the Southern Regional Educational Board average for each full-time student. Among the 16 member states, Louisiana ranks last, according to a report by the House Fiscal Division.

Higher education leaders called on legislators April 10 to increase funding for state colleges in next year’s budget.

The budget bill, proposed by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, would maintain current funding for colleges, but fall about $12 million short of fully financing the popular TOPS scholarship program.

That version of the budget did not include the $119 million of additional state revenue projected by the Revenue Estimating Conference earlier that day. So lawmakers will have more money at their disposal and will face

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