THIBODAUX, LA (WVUE) - The budget shortfall looming over higher education could claim its first victim in Nicholls State University if legislators can't come up with a solution to fill the funding gap.
Nicholls State University President Dr. Bruce Murphy said in a statement that the school would consider closing temporarily in a worst cast scenario as a way to handle the mid-year budget cuts.
"Nicholls submitted a financial planning document listing several options that the university is considering. One of those options includes temporarily closing the campus for several days. Obviously, that is the absolute last option that Nicholls would ever take," Dr. Murphy wrote in his statement.
The news found students shocked to learn their education could be truncated because of budget cuts.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I want my degree just like everyone else. Tuition is high as it is. We're paying the money, we want to be here, we want to finish, and the idea of the school closing is like mind-blowing," said senior Alicia Leveron.
Some students who are nearing their graduation date felt nervous with no actual solution to the budget problem in sight.
"I mean, I've been working for the last two years to get my degree and I have a year left. I'm supposed to graduate in May, and I don't want to push back my graduation back any more than I have to, certainly," said graduate student Sarah Ballard.
While some students are anxious for an answer, others feel the worst-case-scenario is just a way to light a fire under legislators who are responsible for finding a solution that might spare their school from the budget ax.
"I have full faith in Dr. Murphy that he'll make the best decision for the university, we trust the university to make the best decision for us as students here, I have full faith in him and hopefully it doesn't have to come to us closing," said sophomore Grant Henry.
The legislature will spend the next three weeks in a special session in an attempt to find a way to fill the mid-year budget gap.