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CFO addresses students to ease budget woes

TSG hosted Anthony Wagner at a meeting to inform students about the university’s recent budget cuts.

Because of the economic crisis, Temple has been pressured to cut corners in order to satisfy budget cuts.

CFO Anthony Wagner gives a State of the Campus Address focusing on the budget at yesterday’s TSG meeting (Kevin Cook/TTN).

Temple’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Wagner discussed budget cuts and tuition increases at the Temple Student Government’s State of the Campus Address Monday.

Wagner attended the meeting to answer questions and assuage students’ fears regarding tuition increases.

Temple gets its money from three sources, he said. State appropriations make up 20 percent of the budget, while 70 percent comes from tuition. The last 10 percent comes from investment income.

“The most important revenue source is you guys,” Wagner told the students.

The funding from state appropriations was cut five times in the past 10 years. Due to inflation, Temple lost $40 million worth of its buying power this past year.

Wagner said the main reason for this state funding cut is that Pennsylvania must use more of its funds to cover the cost of Medicaid due to the Federal Entitlement Program. Pennsylvania must match the amount the federal government contributes to Medicaid.

Wagner told the students the Board of Trustees and President Ann Weaver Hart are concerned with Temple’s tuition.

“There is an effort on our part to keep next year’s [tuition] increase as low as possible,” Wagner said.
Temple has raised tuition 5.9 percent every year for the past three years, Wagner said. The tentative number for next year is half that number.

Instead of merely raising tuition to cover the cuts, Wagner said Temple plans to cut the operating budget by 5 percent. Another way to cut costs is to increase productivity and have fewer employees complete the same amount of work.

“Most of what we spend our money on is people,” Wagner said.

The number of unfilled positions is at an all-time high due to the fall’s hiring freeze. Although Temple wants to keep this number low, it does not plan to conduct any layoffs of faculty in the tenured or non-tenured tracks.

“We want to do everything we can to protect the academic side of the house,” Wagner said.

Student-worker positions were not included in the hiring freeze, but many of the departments now hire fewer student workers to ease their own cuts.

Some students raised questions about increased class sizes due to the stagnant number of teachers. Wagner said in order to keep the tuition increases low, class sizes may rise slightly.

Temple did cut the amount of students admitted this past year. The Class of 2011 remains the largest class at Temple.

Other students had concerns about private student loans. Wagner told the students the current credit crisis has definitely impacted students. He said Temple helps students in need more on a case by case basis.

Wagner said the Pell Grant program is being significantly increased, which will aid students. This will have an impact on students taking classes in the summer and fall.

Temple also intends to switch some resources to institutional aid to help students.

Rebecca Hale can be reached at rebecca.hale@temple.edu.

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