University funding up–for now

As an employee of a state-assisted university system which receives appropriations from the state, it is heartening to see that a new study shows the next financial year will post funding increases of around 7.5% nationally. This is the largest such increase in a decade (good news for parents and students as it will take the pressure off student fee increases).

Those who know the system or are employed in it can put this news in the context of woeful underfunding for much of that decade, and according to the report, is anyway unlikely to be sustained much longer (unless the next president can reverse the economic damage in the housing sector and the drain on resources from Iraq).

My own employer, Georgia State University, will fall slightly short of the national average actually, at about 7.2% increase (state by state numbers here). Our budget is only about $203m and this for a university with 28,000 students. That’s $7,250 per student.

Comparatively, the main Georgia Tech campus receives $226m (18,500 students) or $12,216 per student, and the University of Georgia about $375m (~32,000 students) or $11,718 per student.

Oh well. These are operating expenses not capital, and we are getting some nice new science buildings (mostly but not entirely funded from private donations and bonds, not the state). My building however is due for the wrecker’s ball.


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