Tuition hike likely as Rendell cuts Pitt’s funding

By Lindsay Carroll

Pitt will not receive help from stimulus funds and could see its state funding decrease by as… Pitt will not receive help from stimulus funds and could see its state funding decrease by as much as 13 percent this year

– a continuation of a trend that will likely result in another tuition increase for students.

Gov. Ed Rendell announced $500 million worth of budget cuts yesterday, and

they come at a price to state-related universities, such as Pitt. Rendell will not seek compensation for the cuts with federal stimulus


Robert Hill, Pitt’s vice chancellor for public affairs, said today that

because of this announcement, $20 million of funding could be lost this

year. That figure is in addition to $11 million that was cut by the state

during the last fiscal year, Hill said.

“We’re very dismayed that the governor has chosen to punish the

state-related universities in his budget proposal,” Hill said.

He said there will “certainly” be an impact on tuition.

“After 15 years of enormous progress under this leadership chain, we don’t

want to compensate momentum,” Hill said.

Although the University has already frozen the salaries of administration and

other employees, Hill said that Pitt doesn’t plan to cut the “high-quality

programs” expected by students and parents.

In a news release posted on the governor’s Web site yesterday, funding for

state schools, community colleges and the Thaddeus Stevens College of

Technology will be preserved, but the four state-related universities – Penn

State, Pitt, Temple University, and Lincoln University – will likely see a


Rendell also announced that the state submitted its federal stimulus

fund application. The four state-related schools are absent from the list of

institutions that will receive relief from state budget cuts if the federal

government approves money for them through the stimulus package.

Instead, the state is requesting $77 million to relieve state schools and

community colleges of budget cuts, as well as funding for school districts

to close their budget shortfalls and keep local property taxes down,

according to the statement.

Hill said he thought the governor’s decisions to leave state-related schools

out of the stimulus package application were “at odds” with the provisions

of the package.

“We realize that tough decisions have to be made in this economic meltdown

that the whole nation is experiencing,” he said. “We’re willing to do our

part, but this is an unfair burden.”

Rendell’s press release said his office has “trimmed” state spending for

next year by $2 billion because of the economy. The budget awaits the

governor’s final signature after being reviewed by the legislature and other


Hill said that Pitt will not be passive in receiving future cuts.

“We’re looking forward to working with the governor and the legislature to

come up with a fairer approach to the budget-making process,” he said.