As The Hayride wrote yesterday, State Rep. Patrick Jefferson (D-Homer) has filed a bill to bailout Grambling and SUNO. He wants to give both schools, along with Southern and other historically black universities, a special exemption for out of state students on tuition. If an out of state student wants to attend a Louisiana HBU, they would pay the in-state tuition. It’s a bailout for Grambling and SUNO, who are bleeding students.
The math is very clear, the market is trying to kill both of these schools. Grambling is out in the middle of nowhere and suffers from chronic mismanagement. SUNO is just a horrible school by any measure.
Let’s first compare enrollment between Grambling and SUNO versus the five largest four-year schools in Louisiana: LSU, ULL, SLU, La Tech, and UNO.
Grambling has 4,504 students in 2014-15, according to a UL system press release. Last year, Grambling had 5,071 students enrolled, or a 11.18% decline from year to year.
SUNO has 2,734 students in 2014-15, according to the Louisiana Board of Regents. Last year, SUNO had 3,172 students enrolled, or a 13.81% decline from year to year.
Let’s contrast that with the enrollments at LSU (30,700 students and 3,469 black students), ULL (17,514 students and 3,432 black students), SLU (14,510 students and 2,147 black students), LA Tech (11,291 students and 1,456 black students), and UNO (9,234 students and 1,375 black students). LSU and ULL have around a 1,000 black students less than Grambling’s total enrollment and crush SUNO’s total enrollment. SLU has 600 fewer black students than the total enrollment at SUNO.
If given options, black students who qualify for TOPS are almost as likely to choose one of the big five schools, or one of the other schools in the UL system than pick Grambling or SUNO. At the rate Grambling is losing students, LSU and ULL black student population will likely surpass Grambling’s total enrollment in a few years. SLU’s black student population will likely surpass SUNO’s total enrollment in the next year or so.
There is another damning statistic for both schools, their terrible graduation rates. As we pointed out yesterday, SUNO’s graduation rate is an abysmal 11.2% and Grambling’s is a slightly better rate at 31.7%. To be fair, UNO’s and SLU’s graduation rates aren’t that great either (32.1% and 35.8%). But both schools are predominately commuter schools and cater heavily to part-time students, as does SUNO, so the graduation rates will usually be lower. The state graduation rate average is 45% across all four-year schools just for comparison.
Enrollment wise, students are voting with their feet and leaving both schools. Graduation rates are extremely poor at both schools, especially when compared to the state average. If this wasn’t enough to damn both schools, there’s one final piece of evidence about Grambling.
In 2013, a member of the Southern Board of Supervisors wanted to kick Grambling out of the Bayou Classic. The Superdome Management also considered it last summer. The reason, the lack of support from Grambling fans who did not attend the game. Instead of making nasty comments and crying “raaaaaacism!” when someone criticizes Grambling, maybe Grambling grads should support their university.
The market is trying to kill both Grambling and SUNO. The Louisiana legislature should let the market work in the upcoming session and pull the plug.