BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top higher education board is asking for a nearly $220 million state budget increase next year. The Board of Regents says the money would aid its work to boost the number of people obtaining degrees and professional certifications beyond high school.

The panel unanimously agreed to the budget request Wednesday and sent it to Gov. John Bel Edwards and state lawmakers as they consider ways to craft spending plans for the financial year that starts in July 2022. The hefty ask would increase the more than $1 billion higher education budget by nearly 20%. Public college programs received a $97 million spending increase this year.