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September 28, 2000

Pitt submits request to state for FY2002

Tuition increases for University of Pittsburgh in-state undergraduates would not exceed 5 percent next fall, if state lawmakers grant Pitt the money it's requesting for the 2001-2002 fiscal year.

Also under Pitt's FY 2001-2002 funding request, submitted to the state Department of Education recently, the pool of money for staff and faculty salaries would increase by 5 percent.

A 5 percent raise in the salary pool is needed to help the University remain competitive in recruiting and retaining high quality faculty, according to Pitt's administration.

For the current fiscal year, the University's salary budget increased by 4.5 percent. Raises, retroactive to July 1, will show up in faculty and staff paychecks Sept. 29.

Last year, the median salary of a full professor among Pitt's fellow members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) was $5,800 more than the median among Pittsburgh campus full professors. Pittsburgh campus associate professors trailed the AAU median by $3,600, and assistant professors by $3,700. Pitt faculty librarians ranked near the bottom of their AAU/American Research Libraries comparison group, and trailed the median by $3,400.

q Pitt is asking for a total state appropriation of $187.7 million for next year, 5.8 percent more than the current $177.4 million.

Next year's requested total would include a 5.25 percent hike in Pitt's base budget (from the current $168.4 million to $177.25 million) plus $10.5 million in one-time funding for three initiatives that Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said would "better position the University and the Commonwealth to be leaders in the new economy."

Those proposed initiatives are:

* A $4 million "biotechnology fund" to supplement Pitt's substantial investment in biotech research and other activities.

* A $3.5 million "information technology investment fund" to implement the second year of Pitt's three-year plan to upgrade its technology infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art instructional facilities and expand central file storage.

* A $3 million "laboratory investment fund" to continue lab renovation and procure cutting-edge equipment in disciplines "that have the greatest potential to contribute new knowledge, new products, and innovations for the 21st century economy."

Pitt's requested base budget funding includes $157.6 million for educational and general purposes; $8.96 million for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic; $7.26 million for the medical school; $1.2 million for the dental clinic; $961,000 for rural education outreach; $578,000 for Western Psych's teen suicide center; $373,000 to recruit and retain disadvantaged students, and $291,000 for the Graduate School of Public Health's Center for Public Health Practice.

Chancellor Nordenberg said Pitt's requested 5.8 percent increase in its total appropriation would still be below "the 6 percent level recently identified in a national study as the annual increment state funding for higher education will have to rise in the upcoming years for public universities just to maintain current services.

"We believe, however, that this [requested] level of funding, when coupled with our other substantial creative efforts to increase revenues and control costs, will permit us to continue to address our priorities while maintaining the excellence of our programs," Nordenberg said.

Pitt's three-decade-long partnership with state government "has yielded extraordinary benefits for Pennsylvania and its citizens," the chancellor said. "Now that the Commonwealth and the nation are in the midst of one of the most profound economic transformations in our history, we know that even more will be expected of our partnership in the years ahead. Knowledge, information, and discovery are the raw materials of this new economy, and these resources are the unique province of research universities. These are the institutions that are already driving and shaping the characteristics of the new economy, and they will only become more important in the months and years to come."

The state Department of Education does not require Pitt or other state-funded universities to include information in their funding requests on possible tuition hikes for non-Pennsylvanians and for graduate and professional students.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 3

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