Pitt appropriation remains flat in Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s annual budget address to the General Assembly was filled with promises of more educational programs, but his requested budget appropriation for Pitt and the three other state-related universities is the same as last year.

In his address on Feb. 5, Wolf said, “We must continue to increase funding for education — starting with pre-K and culminating at the end of a student’s journey.”

He proposed several programs for primary and secondary education, including setting a minimum pay for teachers at $45,000, and called for a grant program to help pay off student debt for people who graduate from community colleges and stay in Pennsylvania.

But the line-item general support for Pitt remains $148.5 million, the same as for fiscal year 2018-19. Appropriation requests for Penn State, Temple and Lincoln universities also remained flat, but the proposed budget showed a 1.5 percent increase for the 14 schools in the State System of Higher Education.

The state appropriation to Pitt for 2018-19 was 2.8 percent or $4.4 million more than 2017-18. The increase allowed the University to keep tuition the same for most in-state undergraduate students.

In its annual request, which was sent to the state on Sept. 28, Pitt sought a 6.5 percent increase in funding for 2019-20.

The next step in the budget process for Pitt is the chancellor’s presentation before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 26.

— Susan Jones