Wolf budget proposal keeps Pitt funding same as last year


In his budget proposal released this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf noted that “Pittsburgh has continued to build on its reputation as one of the nation’s leading cities for startup businesses, in part due to the presence of its universities and the graduates they produce.”


Faculty, staff and students can add their voices to the state budget request during Pitt Day in Harrisburg on March 17. Participants meet with elected officials to discuss some of Pitt’s accomplishments and urge legislators to make Pitt a budget priority.

Buses depart the Oakland campus at 7 a.m. and leave Harrisburg for the return trip at 4:45 p.m. Separate groups also will be traveling from the regional campuses. Find information to register here.

The event is hosted by Pitt Advocates, the Pitt Alumni Association, and the Office of Community and Governmental Relations.

Despite this praise, he once again proposed flat funding for Pitt and the three other state-related universities — Penn State, Temple and Lincoln. In documents submitted in the fall, Pitt requested a 5.5 percent increase. The University now receives less than 8 percent of its overall budget from the state versus the more than 30 percent it received in the mid-1970s.

Conversely, the State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) — 14 state-owned universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock in Western Pennsylvania —would receive a 2.71 percent increase under Wolf’s plan. The budget also would repurpose $204 million from the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund to support the Nellie Bly Tuition Program, which will provide financial assistance to full-time PASSHE students who agree to stay in Pennsylvania for the same number of years they receive the benefit. It also asks for $12.9 million to support a redesign of the PASSHE system.

Last year, Wolf’s budget proposal also sought no increase in funding for the four state-related schools, but the final budget ended up with a 2 percent increase. The budget proposes $151.5 million in general support for Pitt, plus $3.35 million for Rural Education Outreach. 

2020-21 BUDGET PROPOSAL: Find full details of Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal here.

The capital budget also provides funding for several projects at Pitt, including $7.8 million for phase three of the Hillman Library renovations and nearly $11 million for Clapp/Langley/Crawford complex renovations.

The state appropriation for Pitt has increased for the past six years, but Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations, said last year that the University is still not up to the funding levels it received before the 2008 recession and the drastic cuts during the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett from 2011-15.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and the leaders of the other state-related universities will appear before the state House and Senate on March 3 to discuss their budget proposals.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.


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