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July 8, 2010

No appropriation increase for Pitt for FY11

Pitt and its fellow state-related universities will see no increase in their state appropriations for the 2010-11 fiscal year but they’re being considered relative winners in a difficult state budget year.

In conjunction with a $28 billion state budget passed June 30, legislators held funding flat for Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln universities.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s initial budget, announced in February, proposed $29 billion in spending (see Feb. 18 University Times) but lagging state revenues forced further belt-tightening.

The general fund budget signed by Rendell July 6 totals $28.04 billion, including $25.29 billion in state money and $2.75 billion in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

Pitt’s $168 million appropriation for the new fiscal year, which began July 1, includes $160.49 million from the state’s general fund and $7.5 million in ARRA stimulus funding.

Pitt’s Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations Paul A. Supowitz said recent state budgets have included “a lot of pain,” but “We’ve fared better than most in the budget,” due to rules that require the state to maintain support for public institutions in FY11 at least at the level of FY06 support in order to receive the ARRA education funding.

“Legislators recognized the importance of taking advantage of that program to minimize the impact on the state-related universities,” Supowitz said.

He said exact figures for Pitt’s medical school appropriation, a combination of state and federal funding that comes through the Department of Public Welfare, had yet to be received, but support is expected to be only “slightly different” from last year’s appropriation of approximately $17.4 million.

Penn State’s appropriation includes $304.5 million for general support from the state and $15.1 million in ARRA funding; Temple’s $172.7 million appropriation includes $165 million from the state and $7.76 million in ARRA funding, and Lincoln’s appropriation totals $13.8 million — $13.6 million from the state and $159,000 in ARRA funds.

In its budget request last November, the University sought $194.68 million, a 5 percent increase over FY10. Administrators told the state Department of Education that with that level of state support, the University intended to limit tuition increases to 4 percent and raise the compensation pool by 3 percent. (See Nov. 25, 2009, University Times.)

Harrisburg’s move clears the way for the University to set its own FY11 budget, tuition and compensation pool, but as of press time the University had not announced when those would be set.

Temple last month announced a 5.9 percent tuition increase.

Penn State’s trustees meet this week; tuition rates will be announced after the board’s approval.

Lincoln’s board has yet to approve tuition rates, but a university spokesperson said a 3 percent increase is planned.

John Fedele, associate director of news, stated, “Given the enormous budget challenges facing the commonwealth, we are grateful that vital Recovery Act funds were provided by the federal government and utilized by the commonwealth to lessen the impact of state funding reductions, keeping our appropriation stable. We recognize and appreciate the work of the General Assembly, its legislative leaders and the governor in supporting Pennsylvania’s public research universities that are so vital in educating Pennsylvania students and driving the economies of our home regions. It certainly is a relief for the University, its students and their families to have the budget on time, thereby avoiding the cost and uncertainty created by last year’s budget impasse.”

Last year, the governor signed the state’s FY10 budget on Oct. 9, but delayed finalizing appropriations for the state-related universities and other non-preferred institutions until legislators reached agreement on table games legislation.

Rendell signed Pitt’s FY10 appropriation on Dec. 17, 2009. (See Jan. 7 University Times.)

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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