SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Rallying to save higher education. Students from across the state of Louisiana gathered in a show of support on the steps of the state capitol building.
Their main goal, to save higher ed from cuts during Louisiana's Budget Crisis.
"I felt like a tear was going to come down my eye, because it felt so emotional, power going all through the crowd," said Dennis Henderson, the Student Government Association President for LSU-Shreveport.
More than 2,000 students, faculty and legislators stood together on the steps of the capitol building Wednesday to make sure higher education does not get the drastic cuts to funding proposed in a special session.
The students, came from colleges across Louisiana, to bring HEAT, or to bring higher education all together. All to raise awareness on the importance of saving higher education in Louisiana.
"At one point the wind is blowing, the sun is beating on your face, and I just sat there and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and just listened for a minute. It was just a feeling of jubilation, just amazing," said Henderson.
Louisiana is facing a budget shortfall of more than $900 million. In the best case scenario, the state funding for higher education could be cut by more than $71 million.
"We don't want any institutions to close down and prevent people from graduating from being able to do so. But cuts are going to have to happen," said Henderson.
"The immediate objective is to stabilize higher education. And that's why we're having a special session. We have to stabilize the entire budget for the state of Louisiana," said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
And students were not just rallying on the steps of the capitol. Some students and faculty at Byrd High School in Shreveport were showing support by wearing red. Others, could not stop talking about the potential cuts to TOPS.
"I never even considered going out of state, and now that this opportunity is not there anymore, I feel like an opportunity is gone," said Kayne Lynn, a senior at Byrd.
All rallying behind the future of Louisiana.
The House appropriations committee forwarded $87 million in additional cuts to the state budget. Governor Edwards has already put $30 million on the table, so that's $117 million in cuts to the current budget that the whole House will vote on in the coming days.
After the rally, Governor John Bel Edwards met with Student Government leaders from schools across Louisiana. Local student government presidents were there to represent Northwest Louisiana. The meeting was held to give students a voice when it comes to higher education funding and potential budget cuts.