Nearly a year after requesting that the state-related universities’ appropriations be cut in half, the governor proposes another major cut that could result in tuition increases.
Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a fiscal year 2012-13 budget for the commonwealth today, Feb. 7, that would decrease Temple’s state funding by 30 percent. If approved as is, the cut would lower the university’s state appropriation from $139.9 million, to $97.9 million.
The proposed reduction comes nearly a year after Corbett announced that he wanted to cut the state-related universities’ state funding by over 50 percent. Temple, along with Penn State, Lincoln University and the University of Pittsburgh, received a 19 percent decrease in state funding.
Still, the cut amounted to $1,172 and $1,170 increases in tuition for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively, at Temple. In addition, the university reduced its operating budget by nearly $36 million.
“It’s a 30 percent cut, almost $43 million, it’s substantial. When you combine it with the near 20 percent cut that we took last year, over the last two years that would be a 50 percent reduction in our state funding,” said Anthony Wagner, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. “It’s a substantial cut for the governor to propose. We’re just at the beginning of understanding what this could possibly mean.”
Temple Student Government Student Body President Colin Saltry added that the cuts have the potential of raising tuition for students.
“Last year, we lost $40 million. This is another $40 million this year on the proposed level. That’s just bad policy,” Saltry said. “What that would do is raise tuition levels for in-state and out-of-state students, which is just bad policy, bottom line. The governor likes to say, ‘We’re not going to raise taxes on Pennsylvanians, we need to conjure up jobs.’ Fact is that higher education institutions like Temple are probably some of the best job creators in [Pennsylvania].”
Unlike last year’s budget proposal, which called for all of the state-related universities’ appropriations to be cut in half, this year’s proposal calls for different cuts to the four universities. Along with Temple’s 30 percent cut, the University of Pittsburgh would also see a 30 percent decrease, and Penn State would see a 28 percent cut–but Lincoln University’s state appropriation would remain at $11.16 million, the same level it is currently funded at.
On top of last year’s 19 percent cut, the state-related universities also saw a 5 percent “freeze” in its current funding, in January, because of a state revenue shortfall. This cut approximately $7 million from Temple’s current appropriation.
“The governor called it a freeze, but essentially it’s a cut in the sense that we’ve been told that it is very likely that $7 million or approximately 5 percent of the state’s appropriation would not be forthcoming,” Wagner said.
Temple requested $144.1 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which would have been a 3 percent increase from the $139.9 million it was granted for the current fiscal year.
Sean Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on this, pick up The Temple News on Tuesday, Feb. 14.