By DONOVAN HARRELL
Pitt faculty and staff will be eligible for salary raises at rates not seen since 2015 after the Board of Trustees’ Executive and Budget Committees on July 10 approved Pitt’s 2020 operating and capital budgets.
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In an emailed statement to faculty and staff Chief Financial Officer Hari Sastry explained that this increase will greatly benefit the Pitt community.
“With this move, the University is well positioned to recognize individual faculty and staff members for their exceptional contributions while addressing the demands of an increasingly competitive employment landscape,” Sastry said.
Faculty and staff who have performed at a satisfactory level or higher and who make $47,638 or less annually could earn a “maintenance salary” increase of 2.5 percent. Those earning more could receive a raise of 2 percent.
A 0.5 percent pool also will be available for employees for merit, market or equity increases, the release read. These raises will be paid out on Sept. 30 for employees with a monthly salary, and on Sept. 13 for biweekly employees. It will be paid out retroactively from July 1.
The $2.4 billion operating budget for the fiscal year 2020, according to a Pitt news release, will include $12 million in cost savings and a projected research base of $874 million in external support.
The capital budget is $641 million, an increase from last year’s $340 million, according to a statement from Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. This funding will aid projects outlined in the campus master plan, according to the release.
In the previous academic year, Pitt froze its tuition rates for students. However, this year, Pitt students can expect tuition rate increases of 2 percent at the regional campus and 2.75 percent for most in-state students and 5 percent for most out of state students on the Pittsburgh campus.
Students in the School of Computing and Information and the Swanson School of Engineering will see a 4.75 percent increase for in-state students and 7 percent for out-of-state students. Sastry said this is because of equipment costs associated with the schools.
These increases come as Temple University’s Board of Trustees voted on July 9 to freeze base undergraduate student tuition for the second year in a row, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education froze tuition for the first time in 21 years for its 14 schools. Penn State has not set its tuition rate yet.
Sastry said that while student tuition has increased, Pitt has invested more into financial aid — investments worth $130 million, according to the release.
“We’re increasing our financial aid to students, as we mentioned, in the largest restructuring of financial aid that we’ve ever had,” Sastry said. “So, we’ve tried to balance all those needs while providing a high-quality education, so that resulted in the slight increase.”
The board also voted to dissolve the University of Pittsburgh Trust along with other companies that the trust controls, including TSH Corp., BCR National Laboratory, Forbes-Schenley Land Company, and Schenley Park Apartments Company, according to the resolution.
Gallagher said each of the entities were unused and the funding used to maintain them will be redirected into the budget.
"They’re all inactive, so these are basically zombie trusts,” Gallagher said. “We’ve been paying the financial reporting costs, the legal costs, the insurance costs for things that weren’t being used.”
The full Board of Trustees will meet again in September.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-383-9905