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July 6, 2006

Appropriation hiked 4.7 percent

Pitt’s state appropriation for fiscal year 2007 will be more than $164.6 million, a 4.7 percent increase over last year. Adding in the four former health science line items now funded under the Department of Welfare budget, Pitt will receive nearly $183 million in state funding, making FY07 the first time the appropriation has surpassed FY01’s high water mark of $177.41 million in funding received.

While the University had requested a 10 percent appropriation increase, Gov. Edward Rendell proposed a 4 percent increase for Pitt, which ultimately was sweetened in the final appropriation passed July 2 by the state legislature.

The major line item for educational and general expenses (E&G) was hiked 4.5 percent (to $161.09 million) as was the state appropriation for the recruitment and retention of disadvantaged students ($442,000).

Increases of 4.6 percent were added the line items for student life initiatives ($435,000) and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic’s (WPIC) teen suicide center ($523,000).

The University’s rural education outreach program was a big winner, garnering a 23.8 percent increase ($2.157 million) to fund new programs.

The Pitt-Bradford program benefits the northeastern Pennsylvania region and includes collaborative efforts with Pitt-Titusville.

UPB President Livingston Alexander said the increase had not been requested, but the additional funding is an indicator of the support of Bradford area legislators Sen. Joseph Scarnati and Rep. Marty Causer, who are ex-officio members of UPB’s advisory board.

Pitt’s four health science line items that now are included in the Department of Public Welfare’s budget were increased approximately 1.9 percent to a total of slightly less than $18.34 million.

“We’re very pleased with the budget,” said Paul Supowitz, associate vice chancellor for commonwealth and city/county relations and associate general counsel. “It’s higher than we’ve seen in recent years and should alleviate some pressure on tuition.”

The state’s $26.1 billion overall FY07 budget includes increases similar to Pitt’s for the other state-related schools (Penn State, Temple and Lincoln), as well as 5 percent increases for community colleges and the 14 state-owned universities.

The legislature rejected Rendell’s proposed Salk Legacy Fund, which would have redirected $500 million in federal tobacco settlement fund dollars to fund capital investments in medical laboratory and research facilities for colleges, universities and medical research institutions and “starter kits” to lure new researchers to the state with the promise of grants for research lab equipment.

The executive committee and budget committee of the University’s Board of Trustees will meet July 14 to approve Pitt’s FY07 operating budget, tuition rates and compensation pool.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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