Temple students saved a little money this year thanks to Dennis Lynch, the man who successfully worked to prevent a hike in this year’s tuition.
Lynch, the assistant vice president of Temple Government Relations, spent his summer lobbying in Harrisburg on behalf of Temple last year, when the school was faced with an unprecedented blow to the budget: what could have been more than $37 million in state appropriation and federal stimulus funding lost for the 2009-2010 academic year.
“I did not have a summer vacation last year. It was spent in Harrisburg,” Lynch said. “I was constantly e-mailing, making phone calls. It was my job to be there.”
The budget crisis began in Spring 2009, when Temple was left out of the state Department of Education’s application for federal stimulus funding, which stated Temple was no longer classified as a “public” university.
Faced with a major budget crisis, Lynch worked feverishly last summer to secure Temple’s funding to its original level before the Fall 2009 semester began.
“I work with a hardworking bunch of people and students. This is a good school, consistently heading in a positive direction. I’d hate to see anything change our current trajectory,” Lynch said.
By the end of the summer, Lynch and a Temple team submitted a letter, complete with the signatures of 14 Pennsylvania congressmen, asking the Department of Education to once again categorize Temple as a state school. The perseverance paid off, and Temple was saved from making severe financial cuts.
“I would like to say I didn’t do this on my own. There was a group of us, and we came up with strategies to get the school in the application,” said Lynch, who said he feels Temple students don’t deserve to face setbacks caused by university budget cuts.
The two biggest sources of Temple’s income are student tuition and state appropriation.
“To lose a big portion of that state appropriation is just a major hit,” Lynch said. “The school was in unchartered waters, and I had never seen anything like it.”
Lynch has been with Temple for five years, and he sees to it that Temple has a good relationship with the government. A good portion of his job includes making sure new bills that are introduced and laws that are passed affect Temple in a positive way, and if they don’t, “we fight them,” he said.
Lynch is confident Temple will receive stimulus money again for the 2010-2011 school year, when the two-year plan ends. As for 2012, Lynch said he isn’t horribly worried.
“The fact that we are in this stimulus bill is the best position we can be in,” he said.
Matt Finn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.