Higher Ed Cuts

Some of Arkansas' best and brightest are getting an education in a new subject: budget cuts.

It's not a class anybody signs up for either.

We visited with one future veterinarian dealing with an unexpected problem.

Patrick McFadden was one of 40 students picked out of 940 applicants to attended Auburn University's veterinarian program. But McFadden decided to become a tiger of a different colored stripe and attend LSU instead, in large part because an agreement between the states will allow him to attend school in Louisiana at in-state tuition rates.

Or at least that is what he thought.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education asked the state legislature for seven million dollars to fund college scholarship and grant programs.

It got two million.

Which means cuts are likely.

"I don't want to give anybody a sense of false hope because as soon as we go down and try to advocate for five million dollars you're going to have twenty other agencies that have just as compelling of a need sometimes as we do," says Shane Broadway, Interim Director of Department of Higher Education.

Patrick McFadden of Cabot is one of the students affected by the likely cuts.

Having already earned a degree in animal science at the University of Arkansas, McFadden wants to be a veterinarian.

But Arkansas is the only southern state without a vet school.

On March 15th McFadden signed on to take one of a handful of spots reserved for Arkansas students at LSU's vet school...spots that come with in-state tuition rates.

About a month later ADHE sent out letters warning that the state would be unable to fund all the scholarships and grants it had funded in the past.

"It's going to mean an increase of $25,800.00 per year for four years," says McFadden.

The Department of Education's budget won't be finalized until July although nothing is set in stone, things don't look good for McFadden and thousands of others.

"Until then we're circulating a petition asking people to call their state reps and senators and try to make a difference," says McFadden.

McFadden and the other veterinarian students accepted into LSU will meet with the Governor on June 30th.

Air date: May 27th, 2013