University of Pittsburgh
September 26, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 27 -- The University of Pittsburgh has submitted a proposal for its 2001-02 state appropriation to the Pennsylvania Education Department, which reaffirms the importance of Commonwealth support to Pitt's ability to maintain current levels of excellence and to remain competitive with other major research universities in the United States.

"For more than three decades, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh have been engaged in a partnership that has yielded extraordinary benefits for Pennsylvania and its citizens. Now that the Commonwealth and the nation are in the midst of one of the most profound economic transformations in our history, we know that even more will be expected of our partnership in the years ahead," Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said. "Knowledge, information, and discovery are the raw materials of this new economy, and these resources are the unique province of research universities. These are the institutions that are already driving and shaping the characteristics of the new economy, and they will only become more important in the months and years to come."

Nordenberg noted that, as a public research university, Pitt has a responsibility to ensure that its graduates are ready to become leaders in the technology workforce, to remain at the cutting edge of the new economy through research, and to make the benefits and breakthroughs that emanate from new discoveries available to as many Pennsylvanians as possible.

For the upcoming fiscal year, Pitt is requesting a total increase to its Commonwealth appropriation of 5.8 percent, including an $8.8 million increase in its base appropriation.

"This increase is below the six percent level recently identified in a national study as the annual increment state funding for higher education will have to rise in the upcoming years for public universities just to maintain current services," Nordenberg said. "We believe, however, that this level of funding, when coupled with our other substantial creative efforts to increase revenue and control costs, will permit us to continue to address our priorities while maintaining the excellence of our programs."

In addition to the increase in its core operating budget, Pitt is requesting funding for three special initiatives, which Nordenberg said will "better position the University and the Commonwealth to be leaders in the new economy." The initiatives are:

• Information Technology Investment Fund ($3.5 million) – to fund the implementation of the second year of the University's three-year plan to upgrade its technology infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art instructional facilities, and expand central file storage capability.

• Laboratory Investment Fund ($3 million) – to continue laboratory renovation and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment in those disciplines that have the greatest potential to contribute new knowledge, new products, and innovations for the 21st century economy.

• Biotechnology Investment Fund ($4 million) – to supplement the institution's already substantial investment in this area and to enhance existing strengths in what is proving to be one of the most explosive growth sectors of the new economy.

"We are deeply grateful for the Commonwealth's past investments, which have supported important programs of education, research and public service, and we look to the Commonwealth for continuing levels of investment that will enable us to provide even greater opportunities for learning and for growth," he said. "In return, we pledge to be good and careful stewards of the resources that the Commonwealth makes available to advance our important missions."

Pitt's budget submission also indicates that receipt of the requested increase in appropriations would allow the University to hold increases in undergraduate tuition for in-state students to no more than 5 percent, and provide an approximately 5 percent increase in the compensation pool. The latter is needed to help the University remain competitive in its efforts to recruit and retain high quality faculty.