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July 22, 2004

Trustees Increase Salary Pool 3%, Hike Tuition 6% for Most Students

Trustees last week approved a 6 percent hike in tuition and a 3 percent increase in the salary compensation pool for faculty and staff as part of Pitt’s fiscal year 2005 budget.

The 3 percent compensation pool increase matches the percentage okayed by trustees last year. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg told the University Times that he had not decided this year’s percentage breakdown of the compensation pool, but that he expected to make that decision “in the relatively near future.”

Nordenberg annually decides on a percentage split of the compensation pool among raises for satisfactory performance, and merit, market and equity pay increases. In most years, the senior administration also has withheld a percentage of the pool for centrally allocated market adjustments.

In a statement released by Pitt following the July 14 actions of the trustees, Nordenberg described the 3 percent increase for compensation, “as an absolutely essential investment that better positions us to successfully recruit, retain and support the people whose work has been so central to our many successes.”

But officers of the Staff Association Council (SAC) told the University Times they had argued for a higher compensation increase during the budget-forming process. SAC has two voting members on the University planning and budget committee, an advisory group chaired by the provost that includes administrative, faculty, staff and student representatives.

SAC officers declined to specify what their recommendations were.

“I will say this, that we argued that the cost of living is going up, health insurance costs are going up, especially for families, including prescription drug costs and co-pays, and there is the potential for some staff of a decrease in real salary,” said Linda Marts, SAC vice president for marketing and communications.

But SAC President Rich Colwell said the staff council would have to live with the outcome. “We were part of the committee and the committee did vote. Being part of the shared governance, we support what the committee agreed to recommend. We have to.”


The 6 percent tuition increase is the lowest in four years, following boosts of 9.5 percent (7.5 percent for out-of-state students), 13.9 percent and 7.5 percent in fiscal years 2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively.

In-state continuing Arts and Sciences undergraduates now will pay $9,130, while continuing out-of-state students will be charged $19,000 in tuition.

Entering freshmen will feel the pinch even more – by $1,000 for in-state students at the Pittsburgh campus, and $500 for out-of-staters here – under a differential tuition plan approved by the trustees last fall.

New in-state, full-time undergraduates at the Bradford, Greensburg and Johnstown campuses will be charged $200 more than their returning counterparts, while there will be no differential rate at the Titusville campus.

The differential rate for new students will be rolled into their base tuition for succeeding years.

To help counter the tuition increase, Pitt is increasing the financial aid component of the budget by nearly 8 percent, from $102 million to $110 million, officials said.

Following action earlier this month by the state legislature, Pitt was granted a 3.29 percent increase in its commonwealth appropriation (see July 8 University Times), which, along with tuition revenues, are the two biggest sources of the University’s educational and general funding, Pitt officials said.

But those officials pointed out that the $168.8 million in the FY05 appropriation represents a decline in the percentage of Pitt’s overall $1.49 billion operating budget, and is more than $9.5 million less that the state approved for Pitt in FY 2002. State appropriations have dropped from 19 percent of the overall budget in FY 1996 to 12 percent this year, the officials said.


The executive committee, acting for the full Board of Trustees, also approved a $58.8 million capital budget July 14. That budget will support construction and renovation projects on the Pittsburgh and regional campuses.

-Peter Hart

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