BULLS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
The USF Alumni Association supports the mission of our school by actively advocating for the protection and preservation of our University. Your voice can make a difference. We hope you'll use this site to learn about legislative issues that matter to you.
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May 23, 2013
Summary of Major Funding Items for the USF System for 2013-2014
The USF System had a remarkably successful 2013 Legislative Session thanks to the work of our local Tampa Bay Legislative Delegation and supporters such as you. Following approval of the budget earlier this week by Governor Scott, the USF System will receive in 2013-2014 a recurring restoration of $45 million to our base budget which was cut last year and an additional influx of new state spending totaling nearly $50 million.
Below is a listing of some of the specific projects funded for the USF System by the 2013 Florida Legislature that were approved by Governor Scott this week:
• Complete restoration of the $45 million base budget reduction taken in 2012 (the USF System’s full share of the $300 million State University System cut).
• $12.5 million towards construction of the USF Health Heart Institute.
• $5 million towards construction of the new facility to house the USF St. Petersburg College of Business.
• $3.5 million to continue the build-out of the new Interdisciplinary Sciences Building on the Tampa Campus.
• $10.3 million for construction and renovation projects for various student life facilities across all USF System institutions.
• Approximately $7 million to fund critical maintenance of existing USF System facilities.
• $2.5 million to enter into a partnership with All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg to develop some state-owned land near the hospital into a medical research facility.
• $2 million for USF Sarasota-Manatee to add new science courses and programs in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory.
• $1.25 million to support the work of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.
• $1 million increase in state support for the Morsani College of Medicine M.D. education program.
• $355,000 increase in funding to support the USF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
• $190,000 to fund USF’s research currently ongoing at the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
• $131,000 to support the USF St. Petersburg Family Study Center.
Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF
In addition to the new funding items listed above, the Legislature and Governor also approved some language within the budget that requires the Board of Governors of the State University System to submit a report detailing a plan for the creation of a "Florida Center for Cybersecurity" to be principally located at, and under the leadership of, the University of South Florida.
The report, which is due by December 1st, will include--for the Legislature's consideration during the 2014 Legislative Session--any proposed startup costs as well as a budget to support the ongoing operations of the proposed Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF.
Dec. 5, 2012
On December 5, 2012, all of the State University System (SUS) presidents and student body presidents traveled to Tallahassee to host a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda to introduce their “Aim Higher” initiative. Aim Higher, initially conceived by student leaders, essentially asks the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott to make a $118 million investment in state universities this year on top of the restoration of the $300 million “one-time” nonrecurring reduction to university budgets taken by the 2012 Legislature. The funding would assist universities in their ability to continue to provide a quality education to students without increasing the financial burden on those students or their families.
The university presidents have all committed to forgo a tuition increase this year if the state makes this $118 million additional investment. The $118 million figure is equivalent to the amount generated by a maximum allowable 15% tuition increase across the SUS. Further, the proposed $118 million investment is tied directly to institution-specific and SUS-wide performance goals, such as increased graduation, retention and job placement rates for students.
Speaking on behalf of all of the university presidents at the December press conference, University of West Florida President Judy Bense said, "What we're asking for this year is a significant investment from the state, tied to specific goals for universities. With an investment provided for our students, we promise not to seek one penny of a tuition increase this year.
“We encourage all Floridians to stand with us and our 330,000 students. Let’s invest in future doctors and scientists who someday could save our lives, future engineers who will build safe roads and bridges, and future teachers who will provide our children with first-class educations. Let’s invest in the future of our great state.”
The Aim Higher campaign also hopes to advocate for a greater prioritization of higher education funding in Florida going forward. Increasing the investment in higher education in Florida will see improvements in the state’s workforce, job creation, overall economic climate and quality of life for years to come.
Legislative leaders are taking note of the initiative. Senator Joe Negron of Stuart, the Chairman of the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee told the Tampa Bay Times, "I have believed for a long time that the state spends too much money in health and human services and not enough in higher education. And I believe that we should budget additional resources for our universities, which I believe don't get the credit that they deserve for economic development and the well-being of our state."
Locally, major newspaper editorial boards have endorsed to the Aim Higher campaign too with perhaps the strongest endorsement coming from the Orlando Sentinel who called the proposed Aim Higher plan “too good a deal to pass up.”
Across the nation others are taking note too. Since the campaign was formally announced in early December, other states, their universities and political leaders have launched similar initiatives. The Governor of Nebraska has adopted a similar tuition freeze in exchange for additional state funds deal with the University of Nebraska System and the presidents of public universities in Washington, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and other states have proposed similar deals to their legislatures.
To find out more about the Aim Higher initiative, please visit the links below. And to voice your support for the plan, please use the Alumni Advocacy link at top of this newsletter (even if you are not an alumnus of USF) to contact your elected officials and request their support for the $118 million Aim Higher plan.
Aim Higher Official Website
Florida Board of Governors Aim Higher Press Release