Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 6, 1997

Ridge recommends 2% increase for Pitt

Pitt would receive a 2 percent increase in its current $148.56 million state appropriation under Gov. Tom Ridge's proposed budget.

In his Feb. 4 budget address, Ridge recommended increasing Pitt's funding by $2.97 million to $151.5 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The University has asked for $163.43 million, which would be 8.9 percent more than Pitt's current state appropriation.

Based on an 8.9 percent increase, Pitt's administration has proposed raising both tuition and employee compensation by 4.5 percent next year. Pitt Director of Communications Ken Service said that Ridge's recommended 2 percent increase, if approved, "will certainly put pressure on our efforts to keep the tuition increase below the 4.5 percent level" and boost the compensation budget by 4.5 percent.

"But it's too early to say anything definitive about either tuition or salaries," Service said. "This is just the opening of the [budget-setting] process." University administrators, lobbyists and others will continue to plead Pitt's case in Harrisburg as Pennsylvania legislators and governor's office staff try to agree on a new state budget by the end of June.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and other Pitt officials are scheduled to testify before the state Senate appropriations committee Feb. 25 at 3:30 p.m. and the House appropriations committee March 3 at 2 p.m. Both hearings will be at the State Capital Building.

Pennsylvania universities rarely get the full amount of money they request from the state. For the current fiscal year, Pitt asked for a 6.8 percent increase but got 0.9 percent. The following is a line item breakdown of Ridge's proposal for Pitt, along with amounts the University requested: * $134.88 million in education and general funds. Pitt asked for $140.17 million.

* $327,000 for services to disadvantaged students. Pitt request: $340,000.

* $6.36 million for the School of Medicine. Pitt request: $6.61 million.

* $7.85 million for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Pitt request: $8.15 million.

* $507,000 for the Services for Teens at Risk program. Pitt request: $527,000.

* $1.05 million for the Dental Clinic. Pitt request: $1.09 million.

* $255,000 for the Center for Public Health Practice. Pitt request: $275,000.

* $306,000 for rural education outreach. Pitt request: $375,000.

All of the governor's proposals amount to 2 percent increases except for a 1.9 increase for disadvantaged student services.

Pitt's requests represent 6 percent increases except for disadvantaged student services (the University is asking for 5.9 percent), Center for Public Health Practice (10 percent) and rural education outreach (25 percent).

Ridge did not recommend funding any of the new line items Pitt proposed for next year. These included $1.75 million for laboratory modernization, $2 million for deferred maintenance, $1.25 million for initiatives to improve student life and $885,000 to continue work on a distance education network. (Pitt received $1.5 million for distance education in its current fiscal year budget, through separate legislation apart from its basic appropriation.) In a written statement, Chancellor Nordenberg said of Ridge's proposal: "Gov. Ridge faces a difficult task in developing a budget that adequately addresses the important, yet sometimes competing, needs of the Commonwealth. In light of that challenge, I appreciate the increase that he has earmarked for public higher education. The governor has said that higher education is one of his priorities. Hopefully, this increase can be viewed as one tangible sign of his continuing commitment to the important work being done by Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities.

"At the same time, Pennsylvania needs to do more in this area if it hopes to remain competitive with other states. On virtually any comparative basis, Pennsylvania has not provided adequate funding for public higher education for many years. As a result, Pennsylvania's public universities operate at a distinct competitive disadvantage with those of other states. "As one of Pennsylvania's major research universities, the University of Pittsburgh provides unique undergraduate learning experiences and educates large numbers of graduate and professional students. It also annually imports roughly $250 million in research support funds and is one of the most likely sources of commercializable ideas that can help reinvigorate the Commonwealth's economy. With this in mind, we will continue to work with the governor and members of the legislature to find ways to address the legitimate needs of public higher education in ways that will benefit all Pennsylvanians." The other state-related universities (Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) and the 14 state universities also would get 2 percent hikes under Ridge's budget.

In addition, the governor proposed a 7 percent, or $16.3 million, increase in student aid available through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

— Bruce Steele

Leave a Reply