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July 11, 2013

Appropriation increased 2.3%

In a year when flat state funding was expected, legislators have increased Pitt’s funding 2.3 percent to a total of nearly $147.7 million in fiscal year 2014, up from $144.34 million in FY13.

The bulk of Pitt’s state funding is in its general appropriation of $136.293 million which, for the fiscal year that began July 1, included $133.993 million in general support and $2.3 million for rural education outreach.

While Pitt’s general support line item remained flat, an increase in the rural education outreach line item (from $2.083 million in FY13) nudged the general appropriation upward 0.2 percent over FY13’s $136.076 million.

Academic medical center funding, however, showed greater improvement, rising to $11.4 million in the FY14 budget. That represents a 37 percent increase over FY13’s $8.27 million.

The state’s medical school funding comes through the Department of Public Welfare as part of the state’s general fund budget while Pitt’s general appropriation is approved in a separate bill after the state budget is finalized.

Even with the increases, Pitt’s state funding has yet to fully recover from $40 million in cuts imposed in FY12. In July 2011, legislators cut Pitt’s FY12 general appropriation to $136 million — a reduction of $32 million, or 19 percent, and halved its academic medical center funding to $8.4 million for an overall reduction in state support of almost 22 percent. (See July 7, 2011, University Times.)

Prior to presenting his proposed budget in February, Gov. Tom Corbett, surrounded by higher education leaders, said he intended to hold flat state funding for the state-related universities, including Pitt, and state-system schools in exchange for leaders’ pledges to keep tuition increases “as low as possible” in the coming academic year. (See Feb. 7 University Times.)

The approval of Pitt’s state appropriation clears the way for the University to set its own budget. Typically the budget is approved during a meeting of the trustees’ budget and executive committees in late July, at which time tuition rates and the amount of the University salary pool for employees are announced.

No date for the committee meetings had been announced as of press time.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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