How Shapiro’s budget proposal affects Temple

In his first budget proposal, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed an increase in Temple’s appropriation.

On top of state allocations, Temple received $7.9 million this fiscal year for mental health services and scholarships. | ROBERT CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

President Jason Wingard will travel to Harrisburg today to testify on Temple University’s state appropriations at a Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ budget hearing. 

The hearing comes roughly two weeks after Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro gave his first state budget address earlier this month, touting the conservative nature of his spending proposals for the 2023-24 fiscal year. Shapiro proposed a roughly 1.8 percent increase in state funding for Temple as opposed to the 5 percent that former Gov. Tom Wolf proposed last year. 

“This budget makes a real investment in our community colleges and technical schools,” Shapiro said at his budget address. “It devotes real resources to our PASSHE system and state-relateds to keep them whole as federal aid shrinks.” 

Wingard will be joined by university leaders from the other state-related universities like Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University at the hearing today and the upcoming State Senate hearing on March 30, said Dennis Lynch, assistant vice president for government relations. State-related universities receive an annual financial allocation from the Pennsylvania government. 

Temple’s requested 16 percent increase from the state was not approved, but it would have allowed Temple to keep in-state tuition flat for the 2023-24 academic year, said Ken Kaiser, senior vice president and chief operating officer. Last year, Temple requested a 3 percent increase, which equates to roughly $4.6 million.

Temple received $7.9 million in cash this fiscal year, used for areas like mental health and scholarships, in addition to the $158.2 million in state allocations the university has been receiving for several years, totaling about $166 million. 

Pending approval by the state legislature, the governor’s $44 billion spending plan includes an approximate $169.4 million proposal for Temple — a $3.3 million increase — to be used to help offset the costs of university operations. 

“What we looked into at this 16 percent increase is some element of recognition that costs go up every year,” Kaiser said. “But the rest of it, if they were to give it to us, we would not increase tuition for in-state students.” 

State funding only comprises about 12 percent of Temple’s overall budget, so a smaller increase from the state does not have a significant impact, Kaiser said. 

“Every increase is helpful,” Kaiser said. “But getting an increase in state funding is not, at this level, is not going to cover the increase in costs for Temple or allow us to not do a tuition increase.”

Between 82 and 83 percent of Temple’s budget is from tuition and enrollment, so state funding will only offset a small portion of declining revenue caused by decreasing enrollment. 

The university has undergone cuts for its past five to seven budgets, Kaiser added. 

“The priority is always to keep tuition at a level that is as low as possible, but as prices go up, the cost of doing business goes up, tuition has to go up as well,” Kaiser said. “And as there’s more demand for more and new services, it’s got to be paid for.”

TUGSA’s recent contract deal with the university is costing “more than anticipated,” also impacting this year’s and next year’s budgets, Kaiser wrote in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple lobbies for state funding by traveling to Harrisburg and using their Owl Advocate network, which sends emails to the Temple community encouraging them to reach out to state lawmakers, Lynch said. Temple will also host their Owls on the Hill program on April 26, which sends interested students to Harrisburg.

For the first time in 12 years, the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats with a one-seat majority, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported

Shapiro’s budget address has received support from both Democratic and Republican state lawmakers. Kaiser is “cautiously optimistic” about the budget’s approval and how a Democrat-controlled house could impact future support for higher education.

Shapiro’s administration plans to convene a working group of university presidents to help advise the future of higher education in the state, according to his address. 

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