Temple University, like many regional universities, is struggling to balance its books as they are faced with a hefty cut in state aid.
Translated into numbers, Temple must find a way to make up a $5.5 million loss for the 2001-2002 academic year.
Temple was promised $183 million in state aid for the current academic year. But due to the economic recession affecting the country, Governor Mark Schweiker has decided to freeze 3 percent of the expected amount, which results in a $5.5 million loss.
This money will be taken from our operating budget, which is Temple’s year to year spending money.
An increase in health care costs also plays into the cut. University employees have seen a 14 percent increase in health-care costs.
“The cut will hurt. We cannot increase our student enrollment and increase the quality of our programs with less money that we originally had. One or the other will be compromised,” said Martin Dorph, Temple’s vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer.
With enrollment increasing, Temple expected state aid to rise also. This increase in aid was designated to improve the quality of education. Plans included a greater focus on existing programs, as well as an increase in the number of class sections to accommodate more students.
With at least a 70 percent commuter population, Temple has realized the necessity of making changes to benefit the student body. Recently, Temple implemented a change to its current policy, extending administration hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For the 2001-2002 academic year, Temple will be able to make ends meet. This is due to the estimated 5 percent enrollment increase for the fall semester. The figures for the spring semester have not been compiled yet.
“The increase in more enrollment was more than budgeted. Therefore, we are sufficient for this year and won’t need cuts to make accommodations,” Dorph said.
However, this is only the case for the 2001-2002 year. The future plans are dependent on the new report that Governor Schweiker will release next week.
“We have to wait to find out whether we are dealing with another cut or if more money will be restored. From there, we will go over our options, but right now we are not ready to make any decisions,” Dorph said.
After the proposal is announced, it will have to go through the legislative processes.
About 90 percent of the state appropriations are given in a lump sum to the University. Once this money is given to the University, Temple has free reign in deciding how to divide the funding. However, they must submit a proposal, showing the expected costs.
For the past year, Temple has been taking on various construction projects designed to improve student life on campus. Some of these have included the construction of the 1300 Cecil B. Moore dorms, the Student Center, and the shops along Liacouras Walk.
There are two different budgets each year. All the construction and maintenance comes from the state capital budget. It is money that is already spent on the projects.
For example, all the shops along the Liacouras Walk have already been paid for in full through the state capital budget.
If there are future cuts for the budget, one question remains. Will tuition go up?
It is too early to say how much or whether or not the state aid cut will affect tuition.
“We try to increase tuition in modesty. We always try to increase it parallel to the living expenses around us,” Dorph said.
Pooja Shah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org