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June 24, 1999

Tuition to go up 4%

Tuition to go up 4%

Pitt plans to raise tuition by 4 percent this fall. The University's pool of money for salaries likewise is expected to increase by 4 percent, effective July 1.

Those two figures are part of a $916.3 million operating budget for fiscal year 2000 that the Board of Trustees is expected to approve at a 10 a.m. meeting tomorrow, July 25.

The trustees' budget committee endorsed the budget on June 16. The committee also endorsed a $166.7 million capital plan — the most ambitious construction and renovation plan in Pitt history, University officials said.

At a separate meeting later on June 16, the trustees' property and facilities committee also gave its blessing to the capital plan.

With the 4 percent hike, tuition for Pennsylvania full-time undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) would increase by $234 to $6,118 for two terms. Out-of-state, full-time CAS students would pay $13,434 for two terms, up by $516.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said he will decide later this month how the 4 percent compensation pool increase will be distributed among four salary raise components: cost-of-living, merit, market and equity increases.

Faculty Assembly has asked the administration to award minimum 1.6 percent cost-of-living raises (matching this year's inflation rate) in FY 2000 to employees who performed satisfactorily this year.

The University Planning and Budgeting Committee (UPBC) — a provost-chaired, advisory group that includes administrators, faculty, staff and students — recently reaffirmed Pitt's current salary increase policy. The policy specifies that employees who do their jobs effectively should not suffer a cut in real pay.

"But the policy is flexible," UPBC members stated in the minutes of their latest meeting, on May 18. "In years when salary increase funds are severely constrained, the cost-of-living adjustment can be less than the full rate of inflation, so that merit, market, and equity needs can also be addressed."

Click here for minutes of UPBC's last two meetings.

Raises will show up in employees' end-of-September paychecks, retroactive to July 1.

Nordenberg told the trustees' budget committee: "When I moved into the chancellor's office less than four years ago, we were in the midst of a University-wide salary freeze. By the middle of that year, we had been able to provide some relief for our lowest paid employees.

"Since then, we have tirelessly pursued strategies both to enhance revenues and to reduce costs and have worked successfully to restore the University's economic strength. Nonetheless, our competitive position, with respect to faculty salaries in particular, has slipped. We need to begin making up for lost ground by investing more heavily in the people whose work will move us forward."

The state Legislature and Gov. Ridge have approved an appropriation of $167.6 million for Pitt for the next fiscal year, a 5.9 percent increase over the current year. That includes a 3 percent increase for the University's general operating budget and a special allocation of $4.5 million for laboratory improvements and equipment purchases.

Arthur Ramicone, vice chancellor for finance and controller, said Pitt's sponsored research funding is expected to grow by 5 percent next year, to more than $300 million.

Pitt's gross revenues are expected to exceed $1 billion next year for the first time in the University's 212-year history.

The University's FY 2000 capital budget of $167.6 million includes the following projects:

* $69 million toward construction of the convocation and events center. The state has agreed to pay $38 million; the remaining $31 million is budgeted to come from gifts to Pitt and other University sources.

* $34.9 million for the multi-purpose academic complex. The state's share is $20 million; $13.4 million will come from Pitt educational and general funds, and auxiliary reserves will cover the remaining $1.5 million.

* $21 million for a variety of projects in the Health Sciences, including equipment purchases and infrastructure upgrades. Of the total, $11 million will come from unrestricted and restricted funds; $6.98 million from the state, and $3 million from sponsored project funds.

* $9.5 million in Pitt educational and general funds to renovate the Thomas Boulevard building in Point Breeze for library storage.

* $7 million in state funds for a new chilled water plant to serve the convocation center and other upper campus buildings.

The state is expected to fund 44 percent of the total $167.6 million capital budget.

Speaking of Pitt construction and renovation projects, Nordenberg told trustees: "A lot of public attention has focused on the great things happening Downtown and on the North Shore. That's understandable. But I think it also is true that we are on the verge of a renaissance of our own in Oakland. Not all of that is University of Pittsburgh-driven…but most of it will be done at this campus."

Final approval of Pitt's operating and capital budgets by the full Board of Trustees is virtually assured, said trustees budget committee chairperson Frank V. Cahouet.

"It's not a controversial budget and I would expect the board's approval," he said.

— Bruce Steele

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