A well-founded request

Pennsylvania state government should gear its priorities toward university funding.

The university formally requested a five percent rise in Temple funding today that, if passed as is, would roughly bring in an additional $7 million in state funding for the university.

Getting this funding appears to be an uphill fight, however, as state funding for Temple has been in an overall decline since the economic recession in 2008, despite which political party was in power. Since then, Temple has lost $33 million in state funding, nearly a fifth of its 2007- 2008 commonwealth appropriation level.

Moreover, the state has a bad record.

“Pennsylvania doesn’t really do a good job of funding public education,” Ken Kaiser, Temple’s chief financial officer and treasurer, told The Temple News last week.

According to a College Board funded report of state higher education funding, Pennsylvania was ranked No. 46 among all states in dollars provided to its public institutions two years ago. Even in 2008, when Temple received its highest appropriation in recent years, the commonwealth only ranked No. 43 in that report.

As a result of this weak support from the state and the steady decline in appropriations value due to inflation, the university has had to cut programs and raise tuition for years.

Temple is not the only state-related institution in this situation.

Penn State raised its in-state tuition to be the second highest among public institutions in the country, according to the US News & World Report. Penn State announced Sept. 19 that it has requested a 6 percent rise in funding, which is higher than Temple’s request.

Moreover,  the University of Pittsburgh’s in-state tuition was ranked highest in the country for this academic year. Pitt had not announced its appropriation request as of Monday night.

Temple, along with the other state-related schools, is correct to ask for a rise in state funds. A change in priorities from the state government is long overdue.

Therefore, The Temple News supports Temple’s request for an increase in commonwealth appropriations and urges the state government to adopt the proposal.

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