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College students from across Louisiana to rally on steps of capitol

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Students from all over Louisiana are preparing to rally on the steps of the capitol in Baton Rouge Wednesday.

They want to put pressure on the state legislature to protect higher-education as Louisiana's budget crisis continues.

"Now that it's effecting thousands and thousands, I mean over 200,000 students, yes it's something that should be concerning for everybody," said Dennis Henderson.

The students participating in the rally hope to bring H.E.A.T., or Higher Education All Together, to the state legislature.

Students from LSU-Shreveport, Centenary, Bossier Parish Community College, LSU Allied Health, Northwestern State University, Tech, and Southern in Shreveport will be heading to the capitol on Wednesday to raise awareness on the importance of saving higher education in Louisiana. 

"We have hundreds of thousands who are in panic mode right now, and they don't want to see their hard work go to waste," said Henderson.

Dennis Henderson is the president of the student government association at LSU Shreveport. He is heading to Baton Rouge to stand up for students across Louisiana during the budget crisis and potential cuts to higher education and programs like TOPS.

"We're just going out there to show our presence that higher education is important to us and by unifying in our solidarity that's when we are able to stand up for all of us," said Henderson.

Around 200 students from LSU-S will make the 4 hour drive to bring attention to the importance of education. It is projected about 1,000 students will attend. Some believe even more students will show up on the steps of the capitol.

"So many students are justifiably worried. They're worried about the quality of education they're going to get if higher education cuts continue. But they're also worried about TOPS. And they should be," said Johnette Magner, the executive director for the Shreveport Bossier Business Alliance.

Louisiana is facing a budget shortfall of more than $900 million. Best case scenario, the state funding for higher education would be cut by more than $71 million.

"We have cut funding to higher education more in the state of Louisiana since 2008 than any other state," said Magner.

Students like Henderson will be taking every opportunity to speak with delegates about the importance of finding other ways to balance the budget.

"That's just the cause to let our voices be heard and come up with a viable long-term solution to this budget crisis," said Henderson.

The Shreveport Bossier Business Alliance will bring students and legislators from Northwest Louisiana together so the students can voice their concerns. The Alliance has also started a petition they will bring to legislators next week to find a way to save higher education from cuts to their budget.

The rally will be on the steps of the capitol Wednesday from 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. Students are asked to wear red.

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