The decision-making process of Louisiana's executive university leaders during declining state appropriations from 2008 to 2016
Since 2008, the Louisiana state legislature has continually defunded public higher education. Decreased state funding has significant implications for public higher education, including decreased student access and college affordability. Overall, state funding for Louisiana higher education has decreased over $700 million resulting in a comprehensive reduction of 53% in state funding since 2008 (Comprehensive Approaches to Higher Education Funding, 2015; Russell, 2016). University leaders have had to make difficult decisions to adapt their campuses to constant fiscal depravity. Through pragmatic qualitative research design, this research examined the decision-making process of executive university leaders of public institutions in Louisiana that have led their institutions through financial instability. Through interviews with 17 current and former presidents of institutions within the University of Louisiana System, along with presidents of the University of Louisiana System and Commissioners of Higher Education, the researcher sought to investigate how university leaders made decisions during times of continuous decreases in state funding. This research focused only on the University of Louisiana System because of the similarities of their institutional revenue streams. This study answered how university presidents made decisions during times of continuous decreases in state funding, what important factors were considered during their decision-making process, and the key moments during their decision-making process.