The oil bust that has seen crude prices fall by more than half since last year is putting a financial squeeze on universities in states such as Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Alaska where the energy sector is a major source of higher-education giving, reports the Associated Press.
Schools are pausing or scaling back major construction projects and financial-aid programs are taking a hit as oil royalties drop and donors seek more time to fulfill big pledges, according to A.P. At Louisiana State University, oil-linked giving has fallen from a fourth to a 10th of all fund raising, and the University of Texas is considering its first tuition increase in three years.
At Oklahoma State University, where half of the 10 biggest athletic boosters come from the energy sector, "The answer we're hearing [from donors] isn't 'No.' It's just, 'Not right now,'" said Kirk Jewell, president of the OSU Foundation.